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Thread: Iron needs while breastfeeding at 6M+

  1. #1

    Default Iron needs while breastfeeding at 6M+

    Hi all,
    I am new to the forum
    my baby has just turned 6 mths and I have recently started him on semi-solids, and am still breastfeeding him.

    Just a question about iron. Many articles I read talk about the need for iron-fortification...
    Well the cereal and puree I am feeding him do not have fortified iron added, which got me worried that the baby is not receiving enough iron from breastfeeding? We have to find foods with "added iron"?

    Should I be concerned and go stock up iron-fortified baby food from the mart?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Re: Iron needs while breastfeeding at 6M

    Hi, and welcome! I've had a lot of questions about this myself. I can attest that there is a lot of conflicting information out there, but most bf-friendly information seems to indicate that you really don't have to worry about iron supplementation if you gave birth at full 40-week term and have been exclusively bf for 6 mos. The baby receives significant iron transfers from the mother in the last month of gestation, so that's critical apparently. Though low in iron, all of the iron in bm is easily absorbed, so it actually does more work than supplements. As long as you continue to bf on demand, you shouldn't need to worry about what your baby is eating for the time being -- my LC said to just make sure babies are getting some iron-rich foods by 9 mos. My pediatrician (an aging hippy) actually told me to ebf for the whole first year! Yeah, no. Anyhow, i think the short answer is that you dont have to worry about this -- unless you have some special circumstances. And there are lots of good foods with iron that your baby might like (avocado, for instance).

    Mother to a sweet boy, born at 34 weeks on 2/11/11.
    Proud that I grew 26 lbs of baby before solids, and still counting...

    We received banked milk in the NICU. Thank you, donors!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Re: Iron needs while breastfeeding at 6M

    with PP.

    At my doctor's practice they test all babies for anemia at 9 months (I think that's pretty usual, but you might want to ask your pedi). That's the surest way to know if your baby needs more iron or not. I think that, unless your baby has any symptoms, you don't need to test before 9 months.

    FWIW, my baby (9 months) is a little anemic (just under the threshold). She started on solids at 6 months and eats mostly vegetables, fruits, and chicken. I only gave her iron-fortified cereal at the beginning, for a few weeks, but she got so constipated I stopped. So now I need to give her an iron supplement for a few weeks and get her re-tested, plus up the foods that are naturally rich in iron (red meat, dark leafy greens, beans etc). I was already giving her spinach regularly, but clearly it wasn't enough. Iron from vegetables is not as readily absorbed as that from meat.
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Iron needs while breastfeeding at 6M

    Don't freak out! Using some iron-rich foods when you introduce solids is a good idea, but it's not necessarily necessary. Most babies do fine even without iron supplementation because, as the PP said, breastmilk generally contains sufficient iron and the iron in breastmilk is in a form that is very easily absorbed by baby's body.

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