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Thread: starting solids because of low iron?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default starting solids because of low iron?

    hi ladies. happy women's and mothers' day! (8th of march in my country)

    anyways. my daughter is almost 5 months old and is exclusively breastfed. her weight gain has always been great, she is above average on the charts. i was planning to wait until AT LEAST 6 months and then do baby led solids whenever she seems ready. im don't mind waiting longer if necessary as BF is going great for us.

    however, im having a hard time with my ped. they mentioned solids already at 4 months, i said no thanks, id like to wait. same thing today at her 5 month check up. they said ok, since her weight gain is good, but next month we HAVE TO start for sure because otherwise she will get an iron deficiency because at that age she's not getting enough from breast milk?? she said they do a mandatory blood test at 6 months to check her iron. all of this sounds iffy to me because everything i've read says they don't NEED solids until 1 year! and i've never heard about this iron thing?? also i should mention (didn't mention to ped though) that i don't eat meat and dairy - could this possibly worsen the iron situation?
    Baby girl born 10-15-2010

    with tongue tie - hardest thing i've ever done, and the most rewarding. Also , and

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: starting solids because of low iron?

    There are differing opinions on when solids should be introduced. The American Academy of Pediatrics section on breastfeeding recommends that "Complementary foods rich in iron should be introduced gradually beginning around 6 months of age," acknowledging that "Preterm and low birth weight infants and infants with hematologic disorders or infants who had inadequate iron stores at birth generally require iron supplementation before 6 months of age." They go on to say that "Iron may be administered while continuing exclusive breastfeeding," i.e. that it is possible to supplement an exclusively breastfed baby with vitamin drops instead of introducing solids. But this advice differs from what the AAP's committee on nutrition recommends: "introduction of complementary foods between 4 and 6 months of age when safe and nutritious complementary foods are available."

    So, what should you do? In general, breastmilk contains sufficient iron to meet a baby's needs. It doesn't have superabundant iron, like formula does, but the iron it does have is more easily utilized by the body. So if your baby was full term, seems happy and healthy, and is gaining adequate weight, then that indicates to me that her iron stores are probably fine and there's no reason to bow to your pediatrician's pressure to start solids before you feel your baby is ready. In addition, if you opted for delayed cord clamping (>30 seconds) when your baby was born, your baby should have plenty of iron in her. (Delayed clamping has been shown to improve a baby's iron stores for approximately 6 months after birth.)

    That being said, if YOUR iron is low, then there's probably more reason to offer a daily dropper of multivitamin. Either way, a blood test for iron levels at 6 months is not a bad idea. It's a heel stick or finger prick, and then you KNOW whether or not you really need to work on offering iron-rich solids and/or vitamins. The blood test for anemia is often done in concert with a test for lead levels, which is another thing you may want to know.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Northern CA

    Default Re: starting solids because of low iron?

    Our ped. never tested either of my children, and I have not had any pressure to push solids. In fact, at DD's 6mos check up I prepared myself for the expected solids discussion. Instead she said, "wait until she's ready, if she pushes the food out with her tongue, wait." DD is now 7.5mos and is barely starting solids. She did make sure I was still taking a daily prenatal so my iron levels were kept up.

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