Copper For Babies – Sources and Benefits

7 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.

copper for babies

Copper is a necessary mineral in your baby’s body that is not required in larger quantities. Smaller quantities of copper would be just enough to ensure the maintenance of good health. Copper for babies is helpful in the formation of red blood cells, bones, connective tissues, and some other important enzymes in the body. Not just this, copper is also needed for the proper functioning of the immune system and proper growth and development in babies. Copper also aids in the processing of cholesterol in the body and ensures good health.

For a breastfeeding baby, mother’s milk is an excellent source of copper. But as the weaning process starts, the baby needs to be given foods rich in copper so that no deficiency occurs. Your baby cannot produce copper on their own and that is why they need to obtain it from their diet as this is one of the essential minerals required by the body. The recommended quantity of copper required by the body per day is around 900 mcg.

In This Article

What is Copper?

As we have discussed above, copper is a micronutrient necessary mineral that is required by the body for the necessity for healthy survival. Copper is found in all body tissues and plays an essential role in building a stronger immune system and maintenance of nerve cells in the body of babies. Furthermore, with the help of copper, your baby can easily absorb iron and form collagen which plays a vital role in the production of energy in your baby’s body.

As per some experts, copper is mostly found in the brain, heart, liver, kidney, or skeletal muscle in the body. Copper must be present in the body in the apt amount. Too little or too much copper present in the body can harm the proper functioning of the brain. However, based on a study, it is quite rare that your baby would suffer a deficiency of copper in their body but if they did, it can lead to cardiovascular diseases and other related problems.

Why Do Babies Need Copper?

Copper plays different roles in the human body and the same goes for your baby’s body. Copper is important in your baby’s body as it helps in the healthy formation of hemoglobin and ensures smooth absorption of iron in the intestines of your baby. Additionally, copper also plays a significant role in the formation of red blood cells in your baby’s body.

Copper is an ingredient of some components of mitochondria, which is the powerhouse of the cell and hence is required for the formation of energy in your baby’s body (ATP). Moreover, copper is needed for the creation of skin pigments and gives strength to collagen, and also improves the strength of soft tissues in a baby’s body.

Top Sources of Copper For Babies

Sources of Copper For Babies

Multiple sources of copper can be attained by the human body. Below are some of the important sources of copper for babies.

1. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are extremely healthy for the human body, especially for a growing baby. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, cauliflower, kale, and swiss chard possess a healthy side for babies as they are copper-rich eatable and hence it also contains other types of nutrients like magnesium, folate, calcium, fiber, vitamin K, etc. which are required by the baby’s body in the growing age. These greens contain sizable amounts of copper.

2. Nuts And Seeds

Nuts and seeds are the tiny powerhouses of nutrition and hence they are high in fiber content. It also contains protein and fats in a normal quantity. Although nuts and seeds contain ample nutrients, many of them contain a substantial amount of copper which is required by the baby’s body. Walnuts, cashew nuts, and sesame seeds are some excellent sources of copper for babies.

3. Other Important Sources

Other important sources of copper for babies include

  • Beef
  • Mushrooms
  • Beans such as kidney beans
  • Lentils such as masoor, chick peas, urad dal
  • Oysters and shellfish
  • Liver

List of Top 10 Best Copper Rich Foods For Babies

Copper Rich Foods For Babies

There are ample sources that are the best copper-rich foods for babies. We’ve mentioned some of them below:

  1. Coconut Milk
  2. Quinoa
  3. Medjool Dates
  4. Avocados
  5. Chickpeas
  6. Salmon
  7. Cashews
  8. Sesame Seeds
  9. Sweet potatoes
  10. Firm tofu

[Read : Salmon For Babies]

How Much Copper Do Babies Need?

The table below indicates the requirement of copper for babies and children of different age groups.
Age Group RDA*
Infants 6 to 12 Months 220 mcg
Toddler 1 to 3 Years 340 mcg
Children 4 to 8 Years 440 mcg
Children 9 to 13 Years 700 mcg
Adolescents 14 to 18 Years 890 mcg

*RDA – Recommended Dietary Allowances

Effects of Copper Deficiency in Babies

There’s something more with copper than just being used to cover pipes. Copper is present in the human body in smaller amounts and is required by the body for smooth functioning of the brain, blood, and more. Furthermore, the human body is also dependent upon copper to break down iron.

Copper deficiency in the blood is termed “hypocupremia” by doctors and as per the experts, this is often an underdiagnosed condition. This deficiency can also cause bone lesions in infants.

It can be difficult for doctors to diagnose the symptoms of copper deficiency in babies. This is because the deficiency can be confused with other conditions. For instance, the deficiency of copper can be mixed with that of vitamin B-12 deficiency. However, if a baby is suffering from copper deficiency, it can directly impact their immune system and also lower their energy levels.

Some symptoms of copper deficiency include:

  • Skin sores
  • Muscle soreness
  • Frequently falling sick
  • Easy bone breakage
  • Frequent feelings of cold
  • Pale skin
  • Poor growth
  • Fatigue
  • Easy bruising

How Can You Help Your Baby Get Enough Copper?

It is not tough to get copper and you can easily help your child is getting enough copper in their body. Copper is present in a well-balanced diet that includes a lot of healthy veggies. Copper is found in plant foods which include leafy vegetables. As discussed above, it is also present in nuts, oysters, liver, and mushrooms.

If you can introduce your baby to a variety of food groups as they grow and ensure a balanced diet, your baby will get the required copper intake.

[Read : Introducing Solids to Your Baby?]

Nutritional Content of Copper in Various Foods

As per the NIH(National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements), here is the list of copper content in various foods.
Food Value in Micrograms(mcg) Per
Percentage of Daily Intake Value
Beef, Liver, Pan Fried (3 Ounces) 12,400 1,378
Oysters, Eastern, Wild, Cooked, 3 Ounces 4,850 539
Baking Chocolate, Unsweetened, 1 Ounce 938 104
Potatoes, Cooked, Flesh and Skin, 1 Medium Potato 675 75
Mushrooms, Shiitake, Cooked, Cut Pieces, ½ Cup 650 72
Cashew Nuts, Dry Roasted, 1 Ounce 629 70
Crab, Dungeness, Cooked, 3 Ounces 624 69
Sunflower Seed Kernels, Toasted, ¼ Cup 615 68
Turkey, Giblets, Simmered, 3 Ounces 588 65
Chocolate, Dark, 70%-85% Cacao Solids, 1 Ounce 501 56
Tofu, Raw, Firm, ½ Cup 476 53
Chickpeas, Mature Sees, ½ Cup 289 32
Millet, Cooked, 1 Cup 280 31
Salmon, Atlantic, Wild, Cooked, 3 Ounces 273 30
Pasta, Whole Wheat, Cooked, 1 Cup (Not Packed) 263 29
Avocado, Raw, ½ Cup 219 24
Figs, Dried, ½ Cup 214 24
Spinach, Boiled, Drained, ½ Cup 157 17
Asparagus, Cooked, Drained, ½ Cup 149 17
Seseame Seeds, ¼ Cup 147 16
Turkey, Ground, Cooked, 3 Ounce 128 14
Cereals, Cream of Wheat, Cooked with Water, Stove-Top, 1 Cup 104 12
Tomatoes, Raw, Chopped, ½ cup 53 6
Yogurt, Greek, Plain, Lowfat, 7-Ounce Container 42 5
Milk, Nonfat, 1 Cup 27 3
Apples, Raw, with Skin, ½ Cup Slices 17 2

Top 3 Copper Rich Food Recipes to Try For Your Baby

Copper Rich Food Recipes for babies

There is so much which can be done with different ingredients to be able to produce a copper-rich diet. We’ve mentioned it below. You can try to make it for your baby.

1. Mashed Rajma

Rajma of kidney beans are an excellent source of copper for babies. Soak a few kidney beans overnight, wash them well the next morning and pressure cook them till well-cooked. Once they cool down, you can mash them with the back of your spoon or grind them and feed to your baby.

2. Khichdi

Since lentils are an excellent source of copper, including khichdi in your baby’s diet regularly will help meet the copper requirement. It is easy to cook and also one of the most preferred first foods for weaning a baby.

[Read : Khichdi For Babies]

3. Til Laddoos

Once your baby can bite in and is well-ready for solids, giving them dry fruit or til laddoos is an excellent way to ensure that they get the needed copper.


1. What Foods Are Rich in Copper to Give For Babies?

Leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, organ meats, shellfish and whole grains are all excellent sources of copper for babies.

2. Is Copper Good For Babies?

The micronutrient copper plays a vital role in the formation of blood and the absorption of iron into the body. For this reason, the right intake of copper is vital for the proper growth and development of babies.

Read Also: Manganese For Babies – Sources and Benefits

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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