Need the least nasty/most natural iron supplement possible. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 51 Old 07-26-2010, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need recommendations. My daughter, 10 months old, is anemic (8.9 hemo) and not into solids at all. We are still breastfeeding but any type of solid food is a battle, purees included.

I have the drug store stuff but I know it's so nasty and I was hoping there were other options.
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#2 of 51 Old 07-26-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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I had the same issue with my ds, and I think actually the anemia made eating more of a battle. Will she self-feed at all? If so you could try high iron finger foods including red meat like either ground lamb or pre-chewed lamb chop. Will she drink from a cup (try a straw cup if she still spills regular cups)? If so you could try smoothies - blackstrap molasses and dulse are two fairly well absorbed vegetarian iron sources that could be hidden in smoothies.
I gave ds Floradix, and he actually really seemed to like it fine. I think I got the gluten free version, Floravital. His iron went up to normal within a month.

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#3 of 51 Old 07-26-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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I don't really know about iron supps, but I do recommend that you try and get some sea vegetables into you and your DD diet. The seaweed called Dulse is especially high in iron. You can buy it at whole foods or similar stores and can get it as "leaves" or as "flakes" (just the leaves crushed up)--it'll be in the asian food area most likely. You might try the flakes and ad it to foods. . .soups and smoothies might be a good way to hide it if you aren't into the taste. You can also add it to your DDs pureed foods.

A really good cookbook is "Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for babies, young children, and their parents". She talks about cooking with sea veg.

Hope you also get some feedback about decent supps. . .I know there was one everyone was raving about, but I can't remember what it was called. *oh, the previous poster just mentioned it--the Floradix. Supposed to be good stuff! and I second the blackstrap molassas, I love that stuff! Cooking with iron pans is a good idea too.

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#4 of 51 Old 07-26-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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I am having the same exact problem. I'm trying to get DS to eat more solids, but a little piece of food here and there isn't going to get his iron up. I can't even find the yucky iron in the stores. I was going to look into Floravitals. Although I couldn't stand the taste myself!

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I gave ds Floradix, and he actually really seemed to like it fine. I think I got the gluten free version, Floravital. His iron went up to normal within a month.
Pookietooth, how did you figure out the dosage to give? I can't find that info anywhere.

Proud mom of Dylan born 10/10/09
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#5 of 51 Old 07-26-2010, 05:43 PM
 
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i don't know anything about supplements for baby. i'm still on pre-natals with iron though.

just wanted to say that if you cook with cast-iron cookware, the food will absorb significant amts of iron. at your daughter's age, if she DOES tolerate homemade applesauce, rice (pureed or just blended) and egg yolks, you have really good options there. cast iron donates a ton of iron to acidic foods like applesauce, and also to eggs, although not sure how much goes to the whites (which you probably shouldn't feed her yet) vs. the "safe" yolks.

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#6 of 51 Old 07-26-2010, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I got the Floravital. I called the company and they said infant dose was 5 ml.

She does NOT self feed. She is plenty interested in playing with food and plenty grabby but she does not put it in her mouth. She doesn't even like putting toys in her mouth, just her fingers and of course, nursing. She has never had a bottle either so sippies/smoothies, while they might be good for a taste or two, are not going to raise her iron to where it needs to be. I absolutely accept she needs supplementation. She is impossible when it comes to solids and I know we have no choice.

I will, however, add dulse to purees. I have never been anemic, not even when pregnant, but I don't mind adding some seaweed to my diet and her purees. Is blackstrap molasses OK from a botulism point of view? I am unclear about whether or not it is related to honey.
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Is blackstrap molasses OK from a botulism point of view? I am unclear about whether or not it is related to honey.
botulism spores can indeed be in molasses. however, the incidences of botulinum toxicity by honey are very rare, and by molasses and maple syrup very very very rare. google it, and measure your comfort level about it. in general, the guidelines are no honey before 6 months -- i think some peds extend that now, just because some moms like to go "whole foods" as soon as they introduce solids, and end up giving honey in amounts much more than in the past few decades.

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#8 of 51 Old 07-26-2010, 10:56 PM
 
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Just a post to say we're in the same boat, with low iron and practically no solids...and she turns one next week. I've had a yucky supplement around for months, but every time I'd start with it, she'd catch something from daycare that ended up requiring antibiotics, which would trash her stomach, and I'd cut the iron, since it's hard on the belly. Ack!

We're back on it now, but she *really* hates it. Does anyone know if Floradix is more palatable?

OP - I wish you luck getting iron into your LO...I'll be commiserating with you!

Lea, mama to DD Rowan, 8/6/09
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#9 of 51 Old 07-26-2010, 11:28 PM
 
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Just to throw out there, --maybe won't help you b/c baby isn't taking many solids-- but, my midwife told me I could stick an iron nail into an apple, let it sit a day, and then the apple would be a source of iron! But otherwise, another vote for Floradix!

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#10 of 51 Old 07-27-2010, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's so frustrating....some great ideas here but she really barely gets anything more than a taste or two and that from me shoving it in her mouth.

We've done 2 doses of Floravital so far and it's been not great but she hasn't spit it out either.

I'm going to get the dulse, blackstrap molasses and prune juice too. I figure every taste she gets is going to be iron rich. I feel so cheated though. According to everything I've read here and kellymom, she should be just fine starting solids when she's ready. However, she's clearly not. I was never anemic. I still take my New Chapter prenatals every day and I am addicted to lentils, dark leafy greens. I even eat a Luna or an Odwalla bar every day. I even got compliments on my iron from my midwives when it was tested.

Clementine nurses and she's growing well. She's not big at all....only now coming up on 17 pounds but her height has consistently been 50th percentile and her head size actually jumped a bit (following the same pattern as her huge-headed daddy and brother). I just feel ripped off and am blaming myself. But I can't figure out what I did wrong. Why won't she eat?
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#11 of 51 Old 07-27-2010, 12:38 PM
 
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I just feel ripped off and am blaming myself. But I can't figure out what I did wrong. Why won't she eat?
Oh! Don't blame yourself! I know how super frustrating it is. I think I tried about every food with Dylan yesterday to get some kind of iron in him. He didn't have anything!

I read in the Sears baby book to wait 20 minutes between nursing and feeding solids. Not that Clementine is eating anything, but I just wanted to share that info in case. It gives time for what little iron there is in our breastmilk to absorb in the body, not in to the food.

Has she been tested for lead? In my readings, that seemed to come up a lot. Just throwing that out there.

Just remember that it is what it is now. You probably had nothing to do with it and you can't force her to eat (that will just make it worse). All you can do is encourage food and get iron in her somehow. I'm starting to face the fact that if I can't get Dylan to eat, he'll need some kind of supplement. Anemia in children is more serious than anemia in adults, so I can't just skip it.

Stop beating yourself up, you are a great mom!

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#12 of 51 Old 07-27-2010, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She hasn't been tested for lead but I came across that too. We do not have an old house (year 2000) and I know the whole of it is painted in latex paint so it wouldn't be that. Plus, the child never puts much of anything in her mouth (another thing I find frustrating because how are you supposed to have a chid finger feed if they don't do this? My son didn't put toys in his mouth much either). I'm wondering where any potential lead issues would come from.
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#13 of 51 Old 07-27-2010, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She's coughing now....it sounds like she has gunk in her throat. YUck. I never noticed this before she had these two iron supplements. I hope she isn't getting ill on top of everything else. Sigh.
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#14 of 51 Old 07-27-2010, 12:59 PM
 
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pandme, i wouldn't worry about it, seriously. do your best to get the small amounts of supplements in, and the little amount of food she is eating be high iron, and then just relax...

i have always had low iron (i'm a vegan now, but have had lowish iron levels at all points in my life) and i'm a very healthy person and have never had a problem stemming from my low iron. obviously, being anemic isn't exactly a good thing, but the most the doctor could tell me when i described my eating habits was that there are just some people who don't keep high iron stores.

there are lots of babies who are eating very little solids at 8 months and for what ever reason, your baby just isn't absorbing iron that well. i'm sure in a couple of months she'll really get into solid foods and you won't have a problem.
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#15 of 51 Old 07-27-2010, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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pandme, i wouldn't worry about it, seriously. do your best to get the small amounts of supplements in, and the little amount of food she is eating be high iron, and then just relax...

i have always had low iron (i'm a vegan now, but have had lowish iron levels at all points in my life) and i'm a very healthy person and have never had a problem stemming from my low iron. obviously, being anemic isn't exactly a good thing, but the most the doctor could tell me when i described my eating habits was that there are just some people who don't keep high iron stores.

there are lots of babies who are eating very little solids at 8 months and for what ever reason, your baby just isn't absorbing iron that well. i'm sure in a couple of months she'll really get into solid foods and you won't have a problem.
She's 10 months, FWIW. I think she was probably OK at 8 months, maybe a bit on the low side but if she started eating solids the way her brother did, she may have been OK. He was a 10.5 hemo at 9 months, but had been eating well for a month (even getting constipated twice). He then discovered the Morning O as a snack. At his 12 month retest he was like a 13.

Her poo has only even changed consistency SLIGHTLY in the last two or so days. That's how little she takes in. I think if she ate something she'd be at least in the low normal range.
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#16 of 51 Old 07-27-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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Can I ask...what made you feel she needed her iron checked? I mean, are there symptoms, or is it just the number that's concerning?
Also, I wonder if you could look into probiotics; maybe there is some gut healing that could be done to help iron absorption?

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#17 of 51 Old 07-27-2010, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can I ask...what made you feel she needed her iron checked? I mean, are there symptoms, or is it just the number that's concerning?
Also, I wonder if you could look into probiotics; maybe there is some gut healing that could be done to help iron absorption?
I skipped the 9 month hemo check because I felt confident she'd eat solids. When it became apparent she wasn't about to start, I panicked and scheduled a hemo check. See, She is a small kid weight-wise and even though she's just like my first, she's even smaller so you just get paranoid. Of course her output was always awesome but you worry anyway.

I knew the ped did iron checks at 9 months. I also knew she wasn't eating solids at all like my son was. So I did a "to be safe" check. I didn't notice symptoms. I argued with the ped a lot about iron drops (he wanted them all along because she is BF) and iron was on my mind a lot from 8-9 months on.

I have a probiotic (Gala?) but I haven't been giving it.
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#18 of 51 Old 07-27-2010, 05:52 PM
 
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Maybe you'll just have to do the supplements for a little while as your work toward more solids. I'm sure that you've tried everything to get her to eat. It will happen in time. Is there anything she likes to eat at all?

I know you said that she doesn't like cups/bottles, but have you tried a straw? Dylan never had bottles, so he doesn't understand to tip a sippy cup, but we have one of those Nuby straw cups and he loves it. We just put water in it, but I'm going to get some prune juice to try.

Just keep it up. Keep trying different things...textures, sizes, etc. Every day is different over here. What he'll eat a couple bites of one day he'll refuse the next. You never know.

I hope that you find something that will work for you guys. I know it's hard.

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#19 of 51 Old 07-27-2010, 06:04 PM
 
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I used two herbal iron supplements with my dd. I found Floradix to be superior to the other. I also gave her liquid chlorophyll, I think. Since she was still largely breast-fed, I switched the solids I gave her to almost exclusively iron-rich foods. I put molasses or tahini in her oatmeal or homemade brown rice cereal. Gave her eggs and meat and beans and iron-rich fruits and vegetables.

It does not feel good to be anemic, and I don't see how herbal iron and iron-rich foods can hurt.
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#20 of 51 Old 07-27-2010, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe you'll just have to do the supplements for a little while as your work toward more solids. I'm sure that you've tried everything to get her to eat. It will happen in time. Is there anything she likes to eat at all?
Nope. I've tried avocado, banana, applesauce, pears, sweet potatoes & apricot, spinach & potato, lentils, prunes, yobaby yogurt (plain, vanilla and banana), that baby oatmeal stuff mixed in with pears or applesauce. Nothing.

I've given her Morning O's to play with which she happily does but she never makes a move to put them in her mouth.

She would take a cup and just play with it/throw it on the floor. She's never had a bottle of breastmilk. She's never sucked a paci. She used to suck my finger when she was very little but now she only puts her own fingers in her mouth.

I called EI to discuss ways to help encourage to crawl (she won't crawl around either, she just rolls) and the woman says they can help with the food issues too. A food specialist. That's fine by me, I'll take any help I can get. I hope the Floravital and whatever we cram in there is enough to help raise the number but I really wish she would just eat more solids.
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#21 of 51 Old 07-27-2010, 08:39 PM
 
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I hope EI helps. I second the recommendation of the straw -- they sell 12 mo+ straw cups that I started with ds when he was around 8 months I think. But not sure if a smoothie would fit through the valve of them. You might try a regular straw, too, in a cup with a small hole in the lid (they give them to you at certain restaurants for kids' juice). Have you tried berries, such as blueberries? My dd loves those (raw, just rinsed). Also, what about whole beans other than, like black beans? Just thinking in terms of ease of eating. But then she doesn't self-feed much, right?

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#22 of 51 Old 07-27-2010, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She doesn't self-feed at all. Never has a bite of food made it anywhere near her mouth. Ever. Unless I've put it there.
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#23 of 51 Old 07-28-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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If you can only get a little bite in, liver is probably the best "bang for your buck"

I put raw liver in my son's smoothies (only from grass-fed cattle/truly free range hens that I get from farmers I am able to personally speak with). Freeze the liver for 2 weeks before using.

From The Weston A Price Foundation:

A wise supplement for all babies—whether breast fed or bottle fed—is an egg yolk per day, beginning at four months. Egg yolk supplies cholesterol needed for mental development as well as important sulphur-containing amino acids. Egg yolks from pasture-fed hens or hens raised on flax meal, fish meal or insects are also rich in the omega-3 long-chain fatty acids found in mother's milk but which may be lacking in cow's milk. These fatty acids are essential for the development of the brain. Parents who institute the practice of feeding egg yolk to baby will be rewarded with children who speak and take directions at an early age. The white, which contains difficult-to-digest proteins, should not be given before the age of one year. Small amounts of grated, raw organic liver may be added occasionally to the egg yolk after six months. This imitates the practice of African mothers who chew liver before giving it to their infants as their first food. Liver is rich in iron, the one mineral that tends to be low in mother's milk possibly because iron competes with zinc for absorption.

My son had low iron around 1 year, and I bought chelated iron capsules from the HFS, and mixed a bit into his applesauce.

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#24 of 51 Old 07-28-2010, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all....you guys are my natural parenting gurus. It's pathetic that a ped can't help with this the way you all can.
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#25 of 51 Old 07-29-2010, 03:31 AM
 
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The highest quality supplement that I have found is Floradix and it's sweet tasting liquid. I would highly recommend it.

That said, you might want to check out the information on Kelly Mom regarding iron one thing that I think is interesting to note, if your LO is anemic the best way to treat it is for you to take the supplement and keep breastfeeding. Although iron content is lower in breastmilk than infant cereal (for example) more iron is absorbed through breastmilk than any other source.

Also, be aware that if you are using red meat as a way to increase your iron levels (or your LOs) be mindful about iron poisoning. Getting iron from plant sources (like the Floradix) your body takes what it needs and pees the rest.

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#26 of 51 Old 07-29-2010, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The highest quality supplement that I have found is Floradix and it's sweet tasting liquid. I would highly recommend it.

That said, you might want to check out the information on Kelly Mom regarding iron one thing that I think is interesting to note, if your LO is anemic the best way to treat it is for you to take the supplement and keep breastfeeding. Although iron content is lower in breastmilk than infant cereal (for example) more iron is absorbed through breastmilk than any other source.

Also, be aware that if you are using red meat as a way to increase your iron levels (or your LOs) be mindful about iron poisoning. Getting iron from plant sources (like the Floradix) your body takes what it needs and pees the rest.
Thanks. I have no problem taking the Floravital, but I thought I read on Kellymom that mom raising her iron levels doesn't affect the iron content of breastmilk?

eta: From Kellymom: "Note: Additional iron intake by the mother will not increase iron levels in breastmilk, even if the mother is anemic."
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#27 of 51 Old 07-29-2010, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I should also note that I am feeling terrible about the way things are going....I mean, the supplement is getting in, but the feeding is terrible. She does NOT want to be spoonfed and there isn't much short of holding her face and forcing the spoon in I can do. And even that doesn't work because she just lets it fall out in the post-force fussing.

I feel like I am making her feeding issues worse. Will the Floravital be enough to get her into a normal range? Because I don't feel remotely optimistic about the rest of my efforts. If she would only self-feed SOMETHING. I don't have the luxury of waiting till she is ready. I feel like 10 months isn't horribly late to be uninterested in food, but when anemia is a problem it is much more of an issue. I just feel like I'm screwing up really badly.
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#28 of 51 Old 07-29-2010, 11:31 AM
 
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I should also note that I am feeling terrible about the way things are going....I mean, the supplement is getting in, but the feeding is terrible. She does NOT want to be spoonfed and there isn't much short of holding her face and forcing the spoon in I can do. And even that doesn't work because she just lets it fall out in the post-force fussing.

I feel like I am making her feeding issues worse. Will the Floravital be enough to get her into a normal range? Because I don't feel remotely optimistic about the rest of my efforts. If she would only self-feed SOMETHING. I don't have the luxury of waiting till she is ready. I feel like 10 months isn't horribly late to be uninterested in food, but when anemia is a problem it is much more of an issue. I just feel like I'm screwing up really badly.
Can you put the Floradix in a dropper and just give it fast at the back of her throat, totally away from the feeding area, so maybe she doesn't associate medicine-taking with eating? Or maybe mix the Floradix into a bottle with a little bit of expressed breastmilk? Liquid iron supplements ARE good stuff, if you can just get 'em in!

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#29 of 51 Old 07-29-2010, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by aramat View Post
Can you put the Floradix in a dropper and just give it fast at the back of her throat, totally away from the feeding area, so maybe she doesn't associate medicine-taking with eating? Or maybe mix the Floradix into a bottle with a little bit of expressed breastmilk? Liquid iron supplements ARE good stuff, if you can just get 'em in!
Oh, I am totally doing it (via syringe) away from the feeding area. It's getting in great. It's just the rest of it....the trying to get her to eat solids via spoon that is going horribly. So I was hoping the supplement will be enough to get her in a normal range because very little iron-rich solids are actually getting in her mouth. And I feel like the unpleasant associations with food are stemming from my Purees Or Else attitude. Because I know there are babies who don't eat until later than 10 months but I feel like anemia changed the luxury of waiting till she's ready.
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#30 of 51 Old 07-29-2010, 11:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Pandme View Post
Oh, I am totally doing it (via syringe) away from the feeding area. It's getting in great. It's just the rest of it....the trying to get her to eat solids via spoon that is going horribly. So I was hoping the supplement will be enough to get her in a normal range because very little iron-rich solids are actually getting in her mouth. And I feel like the unpleasant associations with food are stemming from my Purees Or Else attitude. Because I know there are babies who don't eat until later than 10 months but I feel like anemia changed the luxury of waiting till she's ready.
Oh, I see! Well, if you're getting the Floradix down, I'd consider waiting on the solids a bit longer, because once her iron levels start to go up, she'll probably feel more interested. My 1st daughter didn't begin solids until 10 months, and then it was only a few things--yogurt, bread, maybe Cheerios. Her first birthday cake was made of mashed potatoes!

Tamara: Aspiring doula, partner to Brazilian musician, mom to THREE GIRLIES!
(4/01, 6/07, & 12/09)
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