Anemia in 10 month old - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-29-2005, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 10 month old was tested for anemia at his 9 month appointment. His blood count came back and he was very anemic. The doc told me to supplement with iron drops and increase high iron foods. Both were difficult at first, but now I am giving him the supplement and he is eating more greens (eating more of everything actually, just started to really get the hang of table food).

Anyway, I have had him retested twice, the first time his hemoglobin levels were similar to the first test and the second time (this past monday) they were very close to normal, 10.6 (11 is the low end of normal). Well, the doctor ordered more tests. He wanted to do a more complete blood count and an iron level test. I did not get either done. Both required him to have blood drawn from a vein rather than a toe prick and my son has layers and layers of baby fat, so I thought this would be quite painful for him (i'm sure painful even if he wasn't extremely chubby). The doc said he wanted to check for any other underlying cause for the anemia. I thought this was ridiculous b/c he is barely anemic at this point.

Do any of you have similar issues? I'm unsure whether the iron supplements are necessary or not, or whether it was bad for me not to have had the other tests done.
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Old 07-29-2005, 03:00 PM
 
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It's tough, if he persisted at being anemic, I personally would definitely do the testing because anemia can be an indicator of something more serious being wrong. However, considering he was okay at his last appointment, I could see going either way. BTW, I found that when my daughter was low at her 9 mo appointment, I was also almost anemic - I don't know if this is a common correlation, but you might consider getting yourself tested as well. I chaulked it up to if I was low on iron then I probably didn't give her a big store of it at birth and didn't have much in my milk (though breastmilk doesn't contain much normally - my understanding is the baby has a stockpile at birth which basically lasts until they start solids) I'm often just over the line and when I'm more anemic, I'm more tired and forgetful, etc. Also, if you found you were low in your iron levels it might better explain why the baby would also be low and you could feel better about forgoing the further testing. My blood count was so low when I had DS I passed out, so I won't be surprised in the least if he is low at his 9mo appointment.

If I did feel it was necessary to get the further blood testing done, I would talk to the doctor about how to minimize the trauma to your son. They do make topical numbing agents that I've seen recommended for vax shots - perhaps one of those would make it an easier experience? Find someone very familiar with taking blood from the veins of a infant, maybe even go into a local children's hospital to get the blood drawn if you don't feel the nurses at your ped's office are experience enough.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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Old 07-29-2005, 04:53 PM
 
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My DS (now 3 1/2) was very anemic at his 12 month appt - I believe his initial number came back at 7 or 8. In fact, it was so low that the doc intitally thought the lab had goofed on the initial test, so he ordered another sample taken and the test rerun. However, it came to the same result. So, we were advised to do the iron drops, which we did do, and the dr also wanted to do the huge blood draw. (I want to say it was 6 cc? But I've obviously slept since then, so don't quote me on that!! That does seem kinda high, doesn't it? Oh well, it was a few years ago, so I'm probably wrong.) The doctor also asked DH and me about our heritage, as sickle cell anemia is common in certain areas of the world in certain populations. As a PP said, anemia can be an early indicator of more severe conditions, so that's what they're trying to rule out with the big test.

I'm not going to lie - that huge blood draw was HORRIBLE. I had to leave the room it upset me so badly! (DH stayed with DS, so he wasn't alone.) But, everything came back normal, meaning there was no underlying cause of the anemia, other than low iron stores/intake.

DS took the iron drops (Fer-in-sol) for a couple of months. He had another blood test (just the little finger one this time) and the iron came back in the normal range.

However, since your baby's iron has already improved, I completely understand your hesitance to do the big test. I'd feel the exact same hesitation if they wanted to do the big test after DS's numbers had improved.

But, I will tell you this - since DS wasn't tested for anemia until his 12 month appt, and he came back so anemic, I'm scared that dd (now 5 months) will also be anemic. Once bitten, twice shy, I guess. I'm going to insist she be tested at 9 months old so if she is anemic, it can be taken care of before it gets as bad as DS's did.
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Old 07-30-2005, 04:28 AM
 
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This is a tough one for me. Knowing that an infants iron stores from inutero depleat at this point and that they get less (but more absorable) iron from breast milk than from formula A LOT of pediatricians put babies on iron supplements. I would take a look at your diet as well. See how you can increase your own iron intake. One simple way is to cook some of your meals in a cast iron skillet. Also taking liquid Chlorophyll is a great way to boost your iron.

Does your DC eat solids at all yet? If so, look for foods high in iron such as mashed sweet potatoes. Which by the way most babies love.

Here is a great link that addresses this issue:
http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/iron.html

Also did your doc do a lead level test? High lead levels can be a cause of anemia. If you live in an older house, have been near old paint or other sources of lead and do not have a lead test yet, that is one test I would do for sure as it can cause much more serious illnesses than anemia!

In the end take in as much info as you can and go with your gut. Don't underestimate your own ability to judge the situation.


N~
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Old 07-30-2005, 08:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaFae
I would take a look at your diet as well. See how you can increase your own iron intake. One simple way is to cook some of your meals in a cast iron skillet. Also taking liquid Chlorophyll is a great way to boost your iron.
This is a fabulous idea, as low iron isn't a good idea for anybody, including Mommy. However, keep in mind that you could eat the entire iron skillet itself, and it still wouldn't boost the iron in your breastmilk. There's no way to boost the iron level in your milk. Believe me, when my son came up so anemic, this was the first thing I looked at. I researched and researched, and everything said the same thing. Bummer, too, as my son had an oral aversion so giving me iron-rich foods to up the iron in my milk would have been infinitely easier than giving my son the drops.


Here's a bit about it from from http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/iron.html
Quote:
Note: 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.
I totally agree with MamaFae though, when she said to trust your own ability to judge the situation.

Good luck!
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Old 07-30-2005, 03:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahogny
This is a fabulous idea, as low iron isn't a good idea for anybody, including Mommy. However, keep in mind that you could eat the entire iron skillet itself, and it still wouldn't boost the iron in your breastmilk. There's no way to boost the iron level in your milk. Believe me, when my son came up so anemic, this was the first thing I looked at. I researched and researched, and everything said the same thing. Bummer, too, as my son had an oral aversion so giving me iron-rich foods to up the iron in my milk would have been infinitely easier than giving my son the drops.

You are right! But, I had a midwife tell me that if I am anemic my milk iron levels could be lower than normal and by being unhealthy myself could cause lower levels of iron in my milk so eating an iron rich diet would benefit us both.

Not sure how medically sound that is, but it can't hurt!
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Old 07-30-2005, 04:42 PM
 
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Did you have newborn screenings done?

I ask because my son has a genetic disorder called G-6-PD deficiency which can cause anemia if he is exposed to certain chemicals (mothballs, sulfa drugs, several others) or if his body is stressed out (he gets sick, lack of sleep, etc). It was discovered as a result of his newborn screening, and it's fairly common in boys; it's a sex-linked trait which shows up in some populations as often as 1/100.

It's difficult to keep his iron levels up at all. We eat lots of dark green veggies, and I've been taking an herbal iron supplement which I can sometimes get into the kids (it's great because it doesn't make me constipated and miserable the way the pills do). Even so, I think that BeanBean may have one of the more severe forms of G-6-PD deficiency (there are three or four common variants and a very rare one) because he seems to have a very difficult time recovering from anemia.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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Old 07-31-2005, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the stories and advice! I'm still supplementing with iron and trying to get iron rich foods into me and my boy. The cast iron skillet is a great idea. I will definitely pick one up today. I'm still trying to decide on the other blood tests. I made an appointment with another doctor who is an M.D., but is also into alternative medicine to get her opinion on the tests and my baby's anemia. Never hurts to get another pair of eyes on the situation.

elionwy,
We had new born screenings done, but I will double check with the doctor that that specific test was performed.

Thank you again for all of your stories and advice!
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Old 08-10-2005, 08:53 PM
 
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I am so glad to see this thread. My now 12 month old was diagnosed as being anemic and I just didn't understand that until I did some research and saw that this is fairly common when they go through huge growth spurts and aren't eating well. I think that this is what has happened to him since he hasn't gotten in any more back teeth and he just doesn't want any mashy foods, but loves "big boy food" although I have to really make it soft for him and with meats, that is so hard. I go back to the dr. this Fri. and he will probably recheck him with a cvc. His last count was 7.9, so hopefully it will be up.
Lou
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