Iron deficiency - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-21-2006, 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post

My case is only one example, there are others. But to just give iron supplements without finding out why, is not always the best choice.
I did not see anyone stating otherwise. In fact, what has been written is how important it is to have tests done before you supplement.

And, as jamie wrote, your story does seem to be changing.......
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Old 10-21-2006, 02:38 AM
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
That is scary. I would think on an NFL site the pushing of drugs would not be likely here.
None of my doctors know why my mother and I are anemic, either, but we changed our diet so we did not need the supplements. That is all I am saying.

If you want to take supplements, go for it. It's not the healthiest choice, but it's still a choice.
I see a naturopath as my main medical doctor. My whole family sees her. I am on my third in 13 years and they have all been licensed in our state and trained at the esteemed Bastyr University (near Seattle). A key component of turning my health around and achieving and keeping good health has been changing my diet, lifestyle, and using supplements. My husband now sees her and takes supplements. My child sees her and takes a multivitamin daily. As a person for whom natural family living and good health are very, very important, supplements are a key component of my health plan. I do not see my body, unfortunately, as being able to take care of itself without help. I do not eat red meat and need iron, so I take iron supplements. Taking supplements is not for everyone, but it is in keeping with a natural lifestyle for many of us to take vitamins, herbs, and other supplements to stay healthy, keep the immune system strong, and help keep the body healthy.

As Dr. Weil says, "Vitamins, minerals and other supplements won't compensate for a poor diet, but they can help fill nutritional gaps in a good one."

And, please, what is so scary about taking supplements or advising others that they may find them helpful? You make it sound like we are pushing hardcore, addictive drugs. And, besides, your life is not 100% natural if you are using a computer as much as you are. NFL would be writing a letter. Snail mail.
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Old 10-21-2006, 06:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
There is no way to measure actual iron, only to measure hemoglobin.
What about serum ferritin levels? Kellymom's page on iron seems to indicate that it measures iron stores.
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Old 10-21-2006, 10:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rebelbets
From kellymom:
Quote:
Additional iron intake by the mother will not increase iron levels in breastmilk, even if the mother is anemic. Iron supplements taken by mom may produce constipation in baby. Anemia in the nursing mother has been associated with poor milk supply, however.
And from LLL:
Quote:
:
The iron levels in a mother's milk are not affected by the amount of iron in her diet or by iron supplements she may take.
As you can see, the info above is contradictory. Taking iron will not increase the iron in her milk, but can still constipate her baby?

I had a 37 week baby. I was borderline anemic during pregnancy but ferrous sulfate (usually prescribed by drs) did not agree with me. It made me incredibly constipated and I did not pursue other kinds of iron supplementation. Hint: if you have an uncontrollable urge to chew ice, you are probably anemic. This is pica. Also, anemia can cause restless leg syndrome in kids and adults. If you have a very poor twitchy sleeper next to you at night, this might be why.

My baby was probably born early b/c of my untreated anemia. Her placenta was breaking down. When she was 9 mo, and still fully bfed, we were both tested and were both found to be anemic. Giving her ordinary iron drops made her scream in agony 4 hours later. So I had to stop. I took ferrous sulfate myself, and 4 hours later, she screamed with the same extreme pain, from getting it in my milk.

Then I tried Floradix. She still screamed in the same way. It was very frustrating. I had no other options but to increase the iron and vit C rich whole foods in our diet. This worked over the course of the next few months and we both normalized.

I have a tendency to be anemic. Most women world-wide of childbearing age are anemic, just from menstruating, pregnancy (when blood supply goes to the baby), and during bfing (when the mother's blood stores of iron go into her milk). Most women do not get enough iron rich or vit C foods. Premature or multiple babies are more prone to anemia b/c they do not get as much iron from the placenta. Any time your child has a growth spurt and their blood volume suddenly increases, it can get low in iron (hemoglobin).

Many mothers and their children do well with Floradix. Another natural option is liquid chlorophyll (Nature's Sunshine makes one, it is pleasant tasting). Children can take it in water (and a nice side effect is that it reduces your susceptibility to sunburn). If you want to take iron in pill form, I have since found that ferrous fumurate (as opposed to sulfate), is easier on the intestines, if taken with 1000 mg of vit C, daily.
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Old 10-22-2006, 01:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
As we know, Vit C is needed and so is calcium, for the body to take in iron.
I just wanted to point out that calcium BLOCKS the absorption of iron. Vitamin C though is needed to loosen the bonds and make iron more readily usable in the body.

Also ferrus gluconate is also generally more absorbable to the body than ferrus sulfate as well.

It's lonely being the only XX in a house of XYs.
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Old 10-22-2006, 12:24 PM
 
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As further proof that breastfed babies can become anemic, my son was diagnosed anemic at 12 months. He had a month of bad colds that he could not shake, was losing weight and was on his second round of antibiotics. When they did bloodwork, he was anemic. After a month of iron supplementation, he was doing great. I also added domperidone to increase my milk supply, nursed more and forgot the horrible pediatrician's advice to practically forcefeed him a ridiculous amount of food every day. Problem solved, thanks to an email to the wonderful Dr. Jack Newman.

What would I do differently next time? Include an iron-fortified cereal as a staple in the baby's diet. Last time I did not and I am so sorry my son had to suffer as a result. I was interested in feeding my own healthy, organic baby food (he started solids very gradually when he showed signs of readiness at 5 months) so he began with fruits and veggies, not cereals. I would still make my own foods, but also include an organic, fortified cereal. This is not a prescription for everyone, but it is what I will do with my next babe to prevent unnecessary medical problems.

overwhelmed, BF, co-sleeping, whole foods eating, near-vegetarian SAHM to DS (5/04), DD (3/07) and DS (10/09)
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Old 10-22-2006, 12:45 PM
 
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Babies can become anemic temporarily after a virus (as per Dr Greene's site).

Giving artificial iron (drops, in cereal or artificial baby milk) to a breastfed baby can block their ability to absorb the iron in your milk, and is not recommended. In the huge majority of cases, fully bfed, full term singleton babies will not become anemic. Studies have shown that babies receiving solids before 7 mos are more likely to become anemic than those starting solids later. It is not a good idea to give a bfed healthy (full term singleton) baby artifical iron "pre-emptively."

http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/iron.html

Quote:
The iron in breastmilk is bound to proteins which make it available to the baby only, thus preventing potentially harmful bacteria... from using it. These two specialized proteins in breastmilk (lactoferrin and transferrin) pick up and bind iron from baby's intestinal tract...

The introduction of iron supplements and iron-fortified foods, particularly during the first six months, reduces the efficiency of baby's iron absorption. As long as your baby is exclusively breastfed (and receiving no iron supplements or iron-fortified foods), the specialized proteins in breastmilk ensure that baby gets the available iron... Iron supplements and iron in other foods is available on a first come, first served basis, and there is a regular "free-for-all" in the baby's gut over it. The "bad" bacteria thrive on the free iron in the gut. In addition, iron supplements can overwhelm the iron-binding abilities of the proteins in breastmilk, thus making some of the iron from breastmilk (which was previously available to baby only) available to bacteria, also. The result: baby tends to get a lower percentage of the available iron.

Supplemental iron...can interfere with zinc absorption...

A recent study (Dewey 2002) found that routine iron supplementation of breastfed babies with normal hemoglobin levels may present risks to the infant, including slower growth (length and head circumference) and increased risk of diarrhea.
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Old 10-22-2006, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by boongirl View Post
I do not eat red meat and need iron, so I take iron supplements.
You might want to check out the Vegetarian/Vegan forum, they have figured out how to get the necessary iron and protein without meat.



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Originally Posted by boongirl View Post
And, besides, your life is not 100% natural if you are using a computer as much as you are. NFL would be writing a letter. Snail mail.
No, that would be wasting trees. Computers, when used for mass communication, saves trees, paper, etc. The little bit of toxicity makes up for the millions of pollutants spewed into the air from manufacturing paper, pens, ink, etc.
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Old 10-22-2006, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by JustJamie View Post
MITB, I'm wondering - your story seems to have changed in the posts in this thread. First, you and your kids were always just fine...then you're anemic, and so are they, but really it's lead poisoning and an allergy to fruit. Or did I miss something? :
You missed a lot. None of my children are anemic. All have had lead poisoning/exposure.

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Originally Posted by JustJamie View Post
No one is suggesting that ALL breastfed toddlers need iron supplements. The discussion is what to give IF they DO need it.
And I am saying that breastmilk will provide the necessary iron. If you are not breastfeeding, then supplement. If you are breastfeeding and the baby is anemic, something else is going on.
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Old 10-22-2006, 02:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
In the past, when I believed the lies about breastfeeding and low iron, but they were always fine.

I just make sure that I am eating well and getting enough iron, myself.

Umm, I am still breastfeeding my soon to be 18-month old son and he is severely anemic. He is on an iron supplement now. I eat plenty of meat and include lots of protein and iron in my diet. There are lies about breastfeeding, but low iron occuring in breastfeeding children is not one of them, not always.
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Old 10-22-2006, 02:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
You missed a lot. None of my children are anemic. All have had lead poisoning/exposure.


And I am saying that breastmilk will provide the necessary iron. If you are not breastfeeding, then supplement. If you are breastfeeding and the baby is anemic, something else is going on.

Not necessarily. Can you provide links to prove these "facts?"

Additionally, MITB, I noticed now on two threads that you state that this is a "NFL" site so therefore drugs should not be pushed or even promoted. Although that is a great and wonderful ideal, it is not always feasible. Additionally, this is MOTHERING. Mothering comes before NFL. Mothering therefore sometiems requires that we give our children drugs to keep them healthy. I give my son iron drops so that he is no longer severely anemic.
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Old 10-22-2006, 02:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sharon71 View Post
Actually it isn't just her opinion. here is some info
http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/iron.html
http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/vitamin.html

So most fullterm healthy babies and toddler shouldn't need any other suppliments or vitamins.
Too many Peds just automactially suggest or try to push the iron vitamins telling BFing moms that their milk is no longer producing enough iron.
These articles are primarily discussing infants, not toddlers.
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Old 10-25-2006, 04:11 PM
 
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I've been looking for toddler info on iron, too. My son is 18mos and via a finger stick in the doc's office last week, they want his iron levels brought up. Hematocrit (sp?) was 9.7 and they want it up at 10.5 or higher.

Here's what I just found on the kellymom site at: http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/so...ler-foods.html

"Some children take a little longer to begin taking solids well. Some of them have food sensitivities and this may be their body's way of protecting them until their digestive system can handle more. Others are late teethers or have a lot of difficulty with teething pain. At this point there is NOTHING that your milk lacks that your child needs, with the possible exception of enough iron. As long as his iron levels are within acceptable levels and when he does eat you are offering him foods naturally rich in iron, then you have plenty of time before you need to worry about the amount of solids he's getting."

This was a page specifically for toddlers.

So, yes, it's possible he's not getting enough iron from me. Yes, it's also possible that he has enough iron but something else is lowering the hemoglobin levels and a serum ferritin test would be the real "tell". For now, we'll try the iron levels b/c the doc ofc visit is steep in $ b/c I'm going out of "network" on our insurance. *sigh*

Anyway, I'm bumping up his diet of foods rich in iron. And I've been looking for what are the recommended levels of daily intake of iron for a child of his age. Anyone have a site for this?

(Yes, I saw an article on vegfamily from a vegan dietician. One of the numbers didn't make sense to me so I'm looking for confirmation elsewhere before I proceed with a course of action.)

Thanks!!
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Old 10-26-2006, 03:08 AM
 
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Iron is a vital component of hemoglobin, the carrier of oxygen in the blood. As a young child grows, blood volume increases, and so does the need for iron. Preschoolers and toddlers typically eat less iron-rich foods than they did in infancy. In addition, the iron that children get is usually non-heme iron (from plant sources), which has a lower availability than heme iron (from animal sources). As a result, children up to three years of age are at high risk for iron-deficiency anemia. The RDA for iron for both toddlers and preschoolers is ten milligrams (mg) per day.
Found this, will keep looking.
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Old 10-26-2006, 12:56 PM
 
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I just did some more research and found this article dated 2002 on the American Academy of Family Physicians site at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20021001/1217.html

"To prevent iron deficiency, another option is a daily oral iron supplement, using ferrous sulfate drops26 or infant vitamin drops with iron. Vitamin drops contain 10 mg of elemental iron per dropper, which is the RDA for children six months to six years of age.26,27 "

and at the end of the article it states this:

"A therapeutic trial of iron is the preferred approach to diagnosing iron deficiency because it is more reliable and less expensive than obtaining an iron panel.41,42 In children, it is important to remember that a recent infection can transiently depress the hemoglobin.43,44 Therefore, it is recommended to delay testing in an infant or toddler who had an infection within the previous two weeks.26 If the therapeutic trial of iron is negative, a work-up for the etiology of the anemia is indicated.

Other hematopoietic markers are being evaluated for their potential to simultaneously screen for and diagnose iron deficiency in infants and toddlers. The serum circulating transferrin receptor assay is a relatively new test, and the most recent test of iron status to be suggested is reticulocyte hemoglobin content.45 Neither modality is widely available, and both need more clinical study.

TREATMENT
After a positive screening test for iron deficiency and a diagnosis confirmed by a therapeutic trial of iron, the infant or toddler should complete a course of iron therapy. Elemental iron, at a dosage of 3 mg per kg, is given orally (usually as ferrous sulfate syrup, which is 20 percent elemental iron) once daily before breakfast.21,26 Absorption is improved if it is ingested with a source of vitamin C, such as orange juice. Total length of treatment is three months, including the one-month therapeutic trial of iron.26"

Hmmm... "per kg" ... this wasn't clear to me. I'm assuming they are talking about per kg of body weight, yes?

Also, they discussed the fact that an infection within two weeks of testing would skewed the tests as the infection had an impact on the hemoglobin levels.

Hmmm... perhaps we should retest before I proceed b/c DS2 and I both had been sick in the previous 1-2 weeks prior to that test. A simple cold but still... I'm assuming that even a simple cold will give an incorrect reading. I'm going to call the office and ask them about it.
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