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Thread: iron-fortified cereal vs. iron rich food

  1. #1

    Default iron-fortified cereal vs. iron rich food

    Hello! Longtime lurker, first time poster.

    My son was born at 34w4d, 5lb 6oz, 18.5” long. His NICU stay was 10 days, he had a feeding tube, IV and oxygen. He has been exclusively breastfed except for 3 days. The hospital staff wanted to take him off of the IV so he needed more fluids until my milk came. Other than what was given to him in the NICU, the hospital staff and his pedi had not recommended any supplements, vitamins, etc.

    He is now 4 mos old actual, 12lb 15oz, 24.5” long, and our pedi just talked to me about starting him on iron-fortified cereal. I’m hesitant. It seems I’d be better going with squash, or even meat. However, LO doesn’t seem interested in solids yet. I’ve read that only a small percentage of the iron in the cereal is actually absorbed. And that iron-fortified foods and supplements may mess with his gut and “bad” bacteria will get the iron instead of LO (from kellymom). I think I’d rather give him food rich in iron than something fortified with iron. I think I would like to have his iron tested first to see if he even needs it. Does anyone have any experience with this? Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: iron-fortified cereal vs. iron rich

    the great thing about breastmilk is that is completely nutritious and breastmilk has all the iron a healthy baby needs. there is no nutritional reason to introduce cereals to a fully breastfed baby.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: iron-fortified cereal vs. iron rich

    I think BF babies start cereal at 6 months and only FF babies start it at 4 months. Maybe wait until 6 months to start unless he needs the iron now?
    July 27 2011

  4. #4
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    Default Re: iron-fortified cereal vs. iron rich

    Actually the new recommendations is that all babies (formula fed or breastfed) wait until 6 months to start any solids (including cereal). There are developmental signs to look for in addition to the baby being 6 months old:

    - Baby can sit up well without support.
    - Baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex and does not automatically push solids out of his mouth with his tongue.
    - Baby is ready and willing to chew.
    - Baby is developing a “pincer” grasp, where he picks up food or other objects between thumb and forefinger. Using the fingers and scraping the food into the palm of the hand (palmar grasp) does not substitute for pincer grasp development.
    - Baby is eager to participate in mealtime and may try to grab food and put it in his mouth.
    This info was taken from Kellymom (When to start solids)

    Also, you are absolutely right about iron rich foods being better than iron fortified foods. The iron in fortified foods isn't as easily absorbed by our bodies as the iron naturally found in iron rich foods. When you are ready to start solids, sweet potato is a great first food. As are avocados.
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  5. #5

    Default Re: iron-fortified cereal vs. iron rich

    the great thing about breastmilk is that is completely nutritious and breastmilk has all the iron a healthy baby needs. there is no nutritional reason to introduce cereals to a fully breastfed baby.
    I'm a little confused...so there's really no concern with premature babies and low iron as long as they're exclusively breastfed?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: iron-fortified cereal vs. iron rich

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*tee.ell.kay View Post
    I'm a little confused...so there's really no concern with premature babies and low iron as long as they're exclusively breastfed?
    Yes, it is more likely that a premature baby will have low iron, because typically a full term baby will give mom enough iron stores in her breastmilk for 6 months. Even though it is more likely though, doesn't mean that your baby has low iron. It's still not common. I would suggest an iron test if you or your doctor are concerned. It's not a blood test, put rather a finger prick test in the doctors office - that will tell you the iron levels so that you know exactly what you're dealing with.
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  7. #7
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    Default Re: iron-fortified cereal vs. iron rich

    Also, you can buy iron drops to give to baby instead of offering solid foods at this age
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: iron-fortified cereal vs. iron rich

    Iron test followed by iron drops (if necessary) would be my preferred route for dealing with this issue. Premature babies can certainly have issues with low iron, but there's no guarantee that your baby has an iron deficiency and even if he does early solids probably aren't the best way to fix it.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  9. #9

    Default Re: iron-fortified cereal vs. iron rich

    Thank you, all, for your advice! I feel more informed and better able to make a decision!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: iron-fortified cereal vs. iron rich

    prems are often iron deficient. we did a natural elemental iron for a while, then introduced meat. i wouldn't introduce any grains to a baby that young (whether prem or term) personally. if introducing meat be sure to give a little vit C (like orange or other citrus) to help the body absorb it.
    Breast is not best ~ it's the only first baby food

    If breastfeeding offends, you are staring too hard

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