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Exclusively BF'd 7 mo-old. How do I safely supplement iron?

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Not sure where best to post this, so move if appropriate. DD is 7 months old and is exclusively BFd. I imagine we'll start solids sometime in the near future as her appetite seems to be growing, but I don't plan on including cereal in her diet. I currently supplement her with vitamins A&D (CLO) and vit C (Sodium ascorbate). My only remaining concern is iron. I can't seem to find a supplement safe for children that isn't all chemically. Plus I worry about iron supplements for wee ones.

Should I be worried about her iron? How might I supplement safely? How would I know if she was iron deficient? What impacts (short and long term) might a lack of iron have?

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I never supplemented either of my two kids and one of them wouldn't eat solids until 22 months. Her doc wasn't worried. I was worried about why she wouldn't eat solids and was losing weight and had blood work done. Her iron levels were fine. My other dd didn't start eating solids until 12 months and I don't think iron was ever an issue.

I personally don't think it's necessary, but that's jmo.
i'm looking for the article on kellymom, but IIRC, exclusively breastfed babies for at least 7 months have higher iron stores than ABM fed babies, or bf-ed babies who started solids before 7 months.

you can oversupplement, so if you are thinking of going that route, i would get your DD tested for her iron levels at your next ped visit. we did (as Aidan hadn't started solids until 8 months) and his iron was GREAT!!

here you go:

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I have to supplement due to breast reduction and my dd takes about 8 ounces of formula a day. I have been using iron fortified formula because she doesn't want any solids (she's almost 11 months) but I really hate formula in general and would rather supp with rice milk now. I thought I had to keep doing the formula for the iron. Could I switch to the rice milk and would she be fine?

Sorry for taking over the thread!
Mamatoto2, I think I'd supplement myself and hope it got into the breastmilk...I never supplemented my kids though until they hit two years, since then they've just taken the multi-vitamin of their choosing (within reason of course).

Heavenly, again, I never supplemented...that iron stuff tastes awful! :LOL
i also agree that iron supplementing is probably unnecessary. my ped routinely asks at about 9 mo if we want to test for anemia. it's a quick blood draw. we did with dd 'cause i was nervous, but hers was fine. we never did cereal, either. she didn't care for the mushed up baby food at all and went straight to finger foods after about 2 weeks of me trying to entice her with homemade organic baby mush.

don't know about your question, heavenly, but you could ask your ped to check her iron levels and go from there. if they're excellent you might try the rice milk and then recheck in a few months.

my personal feeling is that if you are healthy and eat a healthy diet, and you are BFing, there is no need to supplement iron. i find it very hard to believe that 4 million years of evolution resulted in anemic babies.

heavenly, i might stick with the iron fortified stuff, depending on how much you supplement. i know it's yucky, but if baby is not getting alot of breastmilk, there is no other way to get them iron, unless they are eating enough solids like lentils and other iron rich foods to make it up that way. but you know, you could always have your child tested.
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Bfed babies do not need vit supplements. Your human milk is a complete food for your human baby. It is perfect. In fact, feeding your child the milk of its own species will allow it to develop normally.

If a mom is partially bfing, as in Heavenly's case, let us consider that separately. If baby is only getting 8 oz of ABM/day, that would be, let's say, only 1/4 of the baby's diet. Why would her milk not be able to still supply adequate nutrients including iron in those quantities, ie: 3/4 of the baby's diet?

Keep in mind, giving artificial iron to a bfed baby will make it harder for her to absorb the naturally occuring iron in the breastmilk.

Never give artificial iron (in food or as a vit drop) to a bfed baby, unless she has been tested and is anemic. Giving excess iron is dangerous.
DD is 26 months old and didn't start to eat any quantity of solids until 18 months. I didn't like the idea of testing her for iron, didn't see the need as long as I knew the signs of anemia. I make sure to give her iron-rich foods and compliment them with Vitamin C to enhance absorption (tomatoes and orange juice for Vitamin C).

My philosophy was similar to Piglet's. Many mothers of my mom's generation didn't even know to worry about iron absorption and their kids weren't anemic. I think that the blood test is a great option for moms who are particularly worried or for moms who don't want to pay attention to their child's diet in regards to iron. As far as your baby right now at 7 months, DaryLLL summed it up pretty well. You certainly don't want to reduce the ability to reap the benefits of the easily-absorbed iron in bm by adding something that isn't naturally occurring.

Why are you giving the other supplements? Vit A is one of the ones that can be toxic if you get too much of it. Since baby gets enough of that from nursing, giving it in a supplement (while probably not dangerous) is overdoing it. I can see giving the Vit D if you guys don't get outside much.
There are some good articles on this which talk against supplementing with iron. I'll look for the links and post them later.

edited: In my opinion I would focus on taking good care of yourself. In my experience, I eat well and so may not even need the supplement my naturopath recommended which has some iron in it for me (not even the 18 mg that the USRDA recommends for women). From what I understand, the iron in your bm is far more absorbable than supplements which can constipate. Furthermore supplements may hinder the absorption of iron. (So I ask, hmmmm do I really need them?)

My sister's baby went through extensive surgery and many blood tests when he was a few months old resulting in low iron stores. She did not supplement and baby's iron returned to good levels exclusively breastfed.

Good Luck
My 11 month old is still pretty much exclusively breast feed and I was also concerned about supplementing. I ended up getting us both tested for enemia, no big thing and we both had great levels. I was just tired from being up all night with him and he is just a laid back kid. I really wouldn't worry about it unless you think there may be some anemia and in that case I would recommend getting a test, it took about 5 minutes.

As I cautioned against supping iron to be bfed baby who is not anemic, I also want to point out, moms who are not anemic (esp if you are not even cycling yet!), do not need iron supplements either!

Cook in a cast iron pan.

eat these foods:

dried beans (lima, lentils, kidney)
winter squash
sweet potatoes
sea vegetables (arame), algaes (spirulina), kelp, dulse
meat & poultry (beef, beef & chicken liver, pork, turkey, chicken)
greens (spinach, chard, dandelion, beet, nettle, parsley, watercress, chickweed, comfrey)
yellow dock or nettles tincture
egg yolks
dried fruit (figs, apricots, prunes, raisins)
prune juice
chili con carne with beans
grains (cooked cracked wheat, cornmeal, millet, brown rice, farina, bran, amaranth, quinoa, breads)
blackstrap molasses (try adding a little to cereal or rice)
brewer's yeast
shellfish (clams, oysters, shrimp)
tuna, sardines
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I see other people referencing which is a great site.

Breastmilk has vitamin C, so supplementing for that is not necessary for a breastfed baby or toddler. (References at Kellymom site.) As for the iron, my dd did not eat solids until 9 months without defiency. You can do a blood test for your child's iron levels which will probably rule out the need for iron.

Vitamin D supplements for breastfed babies are only recommended for dark skinned babies whose skin is always covered for religious/cultural reasons. While the AAP recommends vitamin D across the board, many doctors and lactation experts strongly disagree; there are references in articles here at Mothering, (search at the home page) and also at
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