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Thread: Iron deficiency in my BF toddler

  1. #1

    Default Iron deficiency in my BF toddler

    My 19mo son had a blood test the other day (unrelated illness, nothing wrong thankfully) but it turns out that he has low iron. Now, I BF on-demand, as I did with his 4y.o. sister, and I have read that breast milk is the highest and most easily absorbed form of iron that a baby can get, so I thought I was doing right by him. I also take supplemental iron for myself, which is supposed to pass into my milk too, giving it an extra iron boost. I am lucky also that my son eats a well-balanced healthy diet, so how can his iron levels be low? Is it true, as my doctor said, that breast milk hinders the absorption of iron in toddlers? He is generally in favor of BF and in other circumstances wouldn't encourage weaning, but in this case he said I should think about stopping soon. He also prescribed iron supplements for a couple of months to see if that helps. Has any one else encountered this problem?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Iron deficiency in my BF toddler

    Breastmilk does not hinder the absorption of iron in toddlers. I have never heard this.

    Personally, *I* would not stop breastfeeding. Iron issues aside, there are so many health BENEFITS to extended nursing. I would add extra iron rich foods in his diet, as natural sources are more readily absorbed than a supplement would be.
    ~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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Iron deficiency in my BF toddler

    I have read that breast milk is the highest and most easily absorbed form of iron that a baby can get, so I thought I was doing right by him. I also take supplemental iron for myself, which is supposed to pass into my milk too, giving it an extra iron boost. I am lucky also that my son eats a well-balanced healthy diet, so how can his iron levels be low?
    It's usually true that breast milk provides enough iron, and that the iron in breastmilk is more "bioavailable" than that from other sources. However, sometimes it's just not quite enough.

    When your son was born, was his umbilical cord immediately clamped and cut? That's standard procedure in many practices. Leaving the umbilical cord alone until it stops pulsing, or at least delaying clamping and cutting for several minutes (I think 3?) is often enough to give the baby a significant iron boost lasting for at least 6 months.

    Is it true, as my doctor said, that breast milk hinders the absorption of iron in toddlers?
    Uh... What? I've never heard that before. Precisely the opposite, in fact.

    He is generally in favor of BF and in other circumstances wouldn't encourage weaning, but in this case he said I should think about stopping soon.
    I don't see how that would help. Give the iron supplements, concentrate on iron-rich foods (meats, leafy greens, lentils, dried apricots), and all should be fine without any need to wean.
    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!"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Iron deficiency in my BF toddler

    I would also get his stool tested for hidden blood to see if that may be contributing to the low iron. He may have issues with dairy. Does he drink a lot of cow's milk?

    And how low is low?

    I would also say to continue nursing, and bump up his dietary intake of iron. Sometimes that would be enough without supplementation. Iron supplements tend to be hard on the tummy.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Iron deficiency in my BF toddler

    oh yeah my dd was very low at that point.
    We gave her floridax, its a more natural iron product.
    And quickly her iron levels were beter.

    http://www.florahealth.com/flora/hom...cts/r64771.asp

  6. #6

    Default Re: Iron deficiency in my BF toddler

    thanks for your comments. His diet IS high in iron-rich foods, he doesn't drink much cow's milk, and he nurses about 5 times a day, 4 or 5 at night too, so it's all a bit of a puzzle to me. I'm starting the iron supplements today (his first reaction was "Yucky!" so we'll see how it goes) and hopefully that will help. Any other ideas would be great!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Iron deficiency in my BF toddler

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*andreafromohio View Post
    oh yeah my dd was very low at that point.
    We gave her floridax, its a more natural iron product.
    And quickly her iron levels were beter.

    http://www.florahealth.com/flora/hom...cts/r64771.asp
    I heard good things about floradix!

    Not as bad on their stomachs.
    Lisa

    Mommy to
    Logan 5-23-07
    Colby 12-14-09

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Iron deficiency in my BF toddler

    And my dd would drink the stuff..
    she would spit the other drops across the room
    and then doctor was no and I mean no help, she just said make her take them.
    WE had to figure out something that would work for her to get her iron levels up, we did lots of iron rich foods and combos with vitiaman c to help it get absorbed.

    low iron can be fixed!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Iron deficiency in my BF toddler

    We had the same problem at 9mo. I was shocked as you are and I felt terrible. My Ds2's iron was very very low. And he's EBF. I guess it's just not enough for some kids. He doesn't drink any cow milk either. He doesn't like it.

    I did start giving him the iron drops in juice everyday and making sure he drank it all. I also fed him plenty of black beans and ground turkey and also lots of vitamin C containing foods to help with absorption.

    His iron came right up in a few months. I was scarred by it though so now he gets a cup of juice everyday with a good liquid multi in it to be sure. And our liquid multi tastes good so it mixes with the juice nicely. It's this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Schiff-Product.../dp/B00014D35Y

    ETA we still bf day and night now at 22 months.
    Jen - mom to 3
    DD who I FF
    I survived 10 painful mastitis infections and managed to nurse DS1 till he was 3 years and 7 months
    and now DS2 4 years now working on gentle weaning and


    "Pride is one of the seven deadly sins; but it can not be the pride of a mother in her children, for that is a compound of two cardinal virtues - faith and hope." Charles Dickens

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