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Thread: Anemia in my 15 month old

  1. #1
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    Mar 2012
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    Default Anemia in my 15 month old

    I'm not sure if this is a good place to post but I am concerned about my 15 month old.

    On Monday, at his well baby check, I had talked to the pedi about his iron. His iron was fine at 9 months but since then his eating is terrible. That's another post, but he is not at all interested in eating and I actually have an eval with early intervention coming up for it. Anyway, so I asked i I should be worried about his iron. He said, he thought he was fine but we did a CBC to be sure. Glad I did because he is low. His # is 9.9

    The Dr. has rec'd giving 60mg supplement. A script that I am picking up today. First, doesn't that seem like a lot?

    I am worried about a few things:
    1. Getting more iron into his diet seems impossible. I have always fed on demand and I was just going with the theory, he would be ready later and that's normal. But my pedi said I need to wean him to get him to eat. Do you think cutting down the milk might make him eat more? I don't want to take away the only nutrition he has.
    2. How do you feel about the iron supplements that pedis give out? Should I look into something more natural? Should I try it and if he has side effects, then look?
    3. Has anyone else dealt with this? Maybe you ca give me some words of wisdom? I am feeling very guilty that I am not giving him what he needs (be it food or milk). I'm struggling to decide what's right - follow his lead on solids and just supplement a vitamin for the time being or i I should lead the situation more to try and encourage more foods. I honestly feel sort of betrayed that I have been doing all I can to make my son as healthy as possible and this is my reward.

    Anyway, if anyone has dealt with anemia - I would love to hear from you.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Anemia in my 15 month old

    Sorry about the anemia, mama! One thing you might try is getting more iron in your diet. Breastmilk generally contains enough iron for a baby's needs, but sometimes that isn't true when mom herself is anemic or borderline low in iron.

    You do not need to wean in order to get your child to eat more iron-rich solids. That's absolutely ridiculous advice. Why would you remove the perfect nutrition from your baby's diet in order to focus on one nutrient? Time is going to take care of your child's diet- eventually all babies decide that they like solids and decide to eat them, but that transition often doesn't take place until well into the second year. Until then, just offer lots of iron-rich solids (beans, meats, leafy greens) and give the iron supplement. Whether you use the commercial stuff or something more natural is up to you- I personally don't think there's a big difference, but I know some moms prefer to use something call Floradix, which is marketed as the more natural iron supplement.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Anemia in my 15 month old

    Why does your baby need early intervention for not eating? I'm not sure if I'm missing something, but I know that neither of my children were big eaters at 15 months of age - they preferred to nurse and they both eat solids now.

    What is the iron level supposed to be? One thing I have read on here before is that anemic children usually start eating more after they get the iron they need. So maybe the addition of the supplement will stimulate your baby's appetite. I don't have any experience with iron supplements.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  4. #4
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    Mar 2011
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    Default Re: Anemia in my 15 month old

    can you tell us some of the foods he will eat and we might be able to give you some tips as far as beefing up the iron content without him knowing. along with the foods mommal mentioned, watermelon has a lot of iron as well as blackstrap molasses (add it to oatmeal or top waffles, etc with it).
    if you want to try working on his diet first you can always have his iron tested again in another month and reevaluate using a supplement at that point. I don't have any experience yet with iron supplements so I don't have anything helpful to add as far as they go.
    I'm a dreadlock wearing lucky SAHM to Sabeen Hunter (1/08/11) and wife to my sweet husband Amin.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Anemia in my 15 month old

    I agree with mommal about continuing to offer iron-rich foods while giving the supplement.

    Your milk is one of the best sources of iron for him because the iron in it is very easily absorbed. Iron supplements, on the other hand, are not easily absorbed (I discovered that myself after being diagnosed with anemia, taking iron supplements for a year, and then finding out my iron was still low. At least I wasn't anemic anymore though). But if your baby isn't interested in eating solids, a supplement is definitely better than nothing. Taking iron supplements yourself will NOT increase the iron levels in your milk, unfortunately.

    Foods you could try: Eggs, meat, fish, chicken, turkey, soybeans, dried beans, peas, lentils, black-strap molasses, sweet potatoes, tuna, oatmeal, apricots, raisins, spinach, kale, greens, prunes, prune juice.

    I highly recommend prune juice. One of the side effects of iron supplements is constipation and the prune juice can help prevent it. I used to mix a little prune juice with apricot nectar or apple juice and my toddlers really liked it (although apple juice can also be constipating for some babies).

    Vitamin C helps iron absorption, so it might help to offer lots of foods high in vitamin C as well. Cow's milk can interfere with iron absorption -- another reason to keep nursing!

    So, I would suggest encouraging him to eat more solids, but without making it into a battle. You can't force a child to eat. And you are giving him an easily absorbed source of iron by continuing to nurse. The supplement will just fill in the gaps until he's more interested in eating.

    Here's some more information on iron for babies at Kellymom.com: Iron Supplementation
    Karen
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  6. #6
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    Mar 2012
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    Default Re: Anemia in my 15 month old

    Thank you ladies.

    My son is being evaluated by EI because he doesn't eat anything that doesn't have a bread texture. So, he will eat waffles, cereal bars, pancakes, and any bread I make. Maybe he's just picky but I need to know that there is not a sensory issue or chewing issues going on that is preventing his eating.

    I did see that low iron was a reason for poor appetite so I'm hoping it will help.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Anemia in my 15 month old

    I'm not sure what the 9.9 is referencing (hemoglobin maybe?) because there are many components to a CBC. If it's hemoglobin, then that's low but not terrible. Did your pediatrician do additional blood work to make sure that it is iron causing the anemia and not something else? There are other reasons for anemia that should be ruled out before treating for iron deficiency.

    My son had significant iron deficiency anemia at 12 months, and supplementation has brought about significant improvement. However, you are correct that 60mg is a lot. My son's anemia is relatively severe and he takes in 30mg a day (15mg 2x a day). Maybe talk to your doctor about the dose or get a second opinion - that is a really high dose, but it may be warranted if the anemia is very severe so don't dismiss it out of hand.

    1. Weaning won't get more food into him. That's ridiculous. Plus, cow's milk is known to inhibit iron absorption and irritate the intestinal lining which can lead to or exacerbate anemia. I agree that boosting your own iron might help some. If the anemia is mild, then getting more iron into yourself along with offering iron rich foods may be enough to improve the anemia. However, if the anemia is severe enough, then supplementation is necessary.

    2. The supplements are fine. I don't think there is a more "natural" product to treat significant anemia (although dietary changes can be enough for mild anemia). Potential constipation is the only side effect of iron supplementation that I am aware of. I give a small amount of diluted juice and some pears, peaches, or prunes every day to avoid this. You can try just the fruits and no juice, but my son is prone to constipation anyway so the juice is necessary for him.

    3. My advice it to take a deep breath an relax. Prolonged anemia is serious, but you've caught it and are going to treat it. As such, there shouldn't be any reason to worry. Don't feel guilty. You are doing everything right. Nursing is far better than cow's milk. Trying to force solids usually causes more problems than it solves. Give the supplement (but check on the dose, even talking to your pharmacist might help). Cook in a cast iron pan, offer iron rich foods (red meat, dark meat from poultry, lentils, beans, leafy greens), but don't worry if your son doesn't eat much - that's normal for a 15 month old.

    I felt horrible too after finding out about my son's anemia, but now - 9 months later - everything is going great. The supplements are bringing blood counts up and my son is developing very well. Don't be too hard on yourself. You've done nothing wrong, and anemia is easily treated.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Anemia in my 15 month old

    Thank you so much phi and Karen. Your replies make me feel much better.

    I'm not sure if his 9.9 is hemoglobin or iron but they said they wanted it at 11 or above and that under the microscope my son's red blood celss showed signs of iron deficiency anemia. So, I assumed they looked at them to see if there was another cause.

    I will talk with the pharmacist about the dose. I was planning at starting half the dose at first anyway to see his gastrointestinal reaction. Just planning to go slow.

    I appreciate the advice on food. I bought and am planning to roast some chickpeas today and I have cut up watermelon ready for after nap so I'm keeping up the offering. It's just frustrating when he just rejects, rejects rejects. Right now he's snacking on some earth's best waffle that is iron fortified. Better than nothing.

    I really appreciate the advice because I am really struggling with how to handle this whole eating/nursing situation

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Anemia in my 15 month old

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kelm711 View Post
    It's just frustrating when he just rejects, rejects rejects.
    No kidding. Mine would reject, reject, reject then toss everything on the floor. I personally think it's best to go ahead with the supplement (but starting with only 30mg may be wise) while allowing your son to make his own decisions about food. Obviously, you want to offer healthy, iron rich foods, but don't sweat it if he doesn't choose to eat. My son liked pasta and rice, so I was able to make stews and mix them with noodles or rice so that he would choose to eat a little something with some iron in it. But the supplement helped me not stress out about the lack of solids.

    I have continued to nurse on demand (my son is 21 months), and my son's blood work shows consistent improvement since starting the supplement. He has also really picked up on solids on his own, and eats more than I do frequently. Don't feel that you need to make any changes to your nursing patterns.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  10. #10

    Default Re: Anemia in my 15 month old

    Thanks for starting this thread. My son also had low iron at 15 mo (I think 10.5 where normal is an 11--not sure what the numbers refer to) and the dr recommended Polyvisol with iron drops. I haven't given them to him because they can cause constipation & he has enough trouble with that already. I've given him some Floradix but honestly I'm not very consistent with it. I would also rather address it with his diet, so I've really been focusing on green leafies, dark meat, etc. He was hardly eating any solid food at 15 mo but is doing better at 18 mo. Our check up is next week so I'm anxious to find out what the doctor says & get the results from his blood test.

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