I started to introduce foods rich in iron to my daughter at 4months, first just a teaspoon or two at a time and mostly as a base for tasting other foods, in the form of fortified cereals and rice porridge.
Iron is extremely important for growing bubs from 6 months of age, it is recommended that rice cereal/porridge, fortified with iron, be given to your infant as a first introduction to solids.
Iron deficiencies are extremely common in adults with 50% of pregnant women suffering from iron deficiencies, as well as 20% of non pregnant women. Iron rich foods are one way to help to prevent and manage deficiencies, but there are a multitude of reasons outside of not eating iron rich foods that cause the deficiencies too. For testing and diagnosis see your GP.
Now, meat products contain higher levels of the most easily absorbed form of iron, known as heme iron (derived from blood aka hemoglobin) but there are plenty of plant based nonheme forms of iron that are also available. Adding Vitamin C and other organic acids to the non heme iron source also assists with absorption.
Blackbeans and Berries
1/4 cup Blackbeans
1/4 cup Blueberries or Mixed Berries (frozen is fine)
1/4 purified Water (plus more for boiling legumes)
Boil beans in water for 15min on low heat, then strain. If using frozen berries then there is no need to cool, if fresh berries are used then cool beans for 15min.
Add berries and water and blend. Serve. Freeze, or keep mixture in fridge for 2 days max.
Red beans, Banana, Spinach and Cinnamon
1/4 cup Red beans
1/4 cup Spinach leaves
1/4 cup purified water (plus more for boiling legumes)
Boil red kidney beans for 15min in water, drain and cool.
Blend all ingredients together into a purée.
Serve and freeze/refrigerate remaining mixture.
Avocado and Lentils:
1/4 cup of Lentils
1 clove of garlic
Splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup of purified water (more for boiling legumes)
Cook Lentils in water with clove of garlic for 15min. Remove garlic, drain and cool.
Blend with Avocado, water and splash if EVOO.
For more info on what to feed your child and when: http://www.islhd.health.nsw.gov.au/Cookbook_160x160mm_LR.PDF