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At my DSs 7 mos WBV last week pedi-nurse said I should start the rice gunk because he needs the extra iron now, because my iron stores are depleted after 6 mos of nursing... (really??? This sounded wack to me) Now I know the cereal is crap, but do I need to make a more conscious effort to feed him other iron rich foods like spinach or something? Cause really, we *just* started solids - He gets to play with a mushy banana or cooked sweet potato maybe every other day or so - That's about the extent of solids so far... I'm not counting on it for nutrition at the moment - I figured mom-milk would take care of that- yes?<br><br>
She also told me that at my next WBV they will be taking a blood sample from DS to make sure his iron levels are adequate. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: Really??? Is that necessary?
 

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The iron in that rice gunk is very difficult for the body to absorb and blocks the absorption of the more bioavailable iron that's in breastmilk. It's rare that exclusively breastfed babies will become anemic.<br><br>
I've also been told that the iron in spinach is not very bioavailable, but don't quote me on that.
 

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Oh, and if you do choose to have his blood tested, be aware that normal iron is a range, not a number. Sometimes MDs go with the "average" and freak out over low-normal numbers.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sparklefairy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7919517"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It's rare that exclusively breastfed babies will become anemic.<br></div>
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It can happen, though. Happened to my dd. And her number wasn't simply on the "low" side, she was very close to needing a transfusion. She did have another factor predisposing her to anemia, though. Just something to keep in mind so you don't summarily dismiss the ped without a second thought.<br><br>
I do agree that it is rare for any baby- including BF babies- to become anemic if they are exclusively BF or even exclusively FF. It seems to be more a problem when other dairy products are introduced.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sparklefairy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7919517"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The iron in that rice gunk is very difficult for the body to absorb and blocks the absorption of the more bioavailable iron that's in breastmilk. It's rare that exclusively breastfed babies will become anemic.</div>
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Yes, the absorption info is quite true.<br><br>
I too have had an exclusively bf baby who was anemic. But as a non-bf 7 year old, he is *still* anemic and his levels are much worse now than they were when he was breastfeeding. At least when he was bf, he could go a while without supplements but now he's been on them for over 3 years straight and we can barely keep his hemoglobin and ferritin levels in the very low end of the normal range (and he takes 70 mg of elemental iron a day). So obviously there is some larger issue at work here in his body that the medical community refuses to acknowledge (which is a rant for another forum on another day).<br><br>
I have two others that have never been anemic. All my kids were slow to start solids as well. I have a friend who's dr wanted her to give her 18 mth old iron supplements b/c she wasn't eating solids yet and the dr didn't believe that she could be anything but severely anemic. So the mom asked for a test first and lo and behold, the toddler's levels were just fine - without any solid food!<br><br>
So the test to me, is no big deal and worth the info it provides. Most often it backs up our gut feeling with numbers to get dr's off our backs. But it really is a personal choice. Remember, just as in pregnancy and birth, you have the right to refuse the test.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sunflowers</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7919551"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It can happen, though. Happened to my dd. And her number wasn't simply on the "low" side, she was very close to needing a transfusion. She did have another factor predisposing her to anemia, though. Just something to keep in mind so you don't summarily dismiss the ped without a second thought.<br><br>
I do agree that it is rare for any baby- including BF babies- to become anemic if they are exclusively BF or even exclusively FF. It seems to be more a problem when other dairy products are introduced.</div>
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That's really scary! What was her other factor (just out of curiousity)? Was it hereditary?<br><br>
I was just reading something at kellymom about dairy and anemia! <a href="http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids/toddler-foods.html#cowmilk" target="_blank">http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/so...s.html#cowmilk</a> It mentions that cow's milk can interfere with the absorption of iron; I believe it does so by irritating the intestines and causing small bleeds but there may be something else involved also.<br><br>
It should also be noted that taking extra iron when it's unneeded is not without risk. I would personally do a blood test first. These tests were never a bit deal for my kids.
 

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Maybe try including floradix (liguid food source fruit and herb iron supplement) or try drinking iron rich teas like nettles,oatstraw and dandelion). It won't hurt and those things have other minerals in them that give you energy and make a mama feel good. those nutrients are passed through your breastmilk.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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We learned the hard way. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> Turns out that ANY solids at all will interfere with baby absorbing iron from your breastmilk, so while most of the iron-fortified cereals don't have a lot of nutrition (certainly not as much as breastmilk) I would add some to your child's diet if you're giving her ANY solids at all.<br><br>
We went in for our one year WBV and let them test her blood. We were stunned to discover our child was anemic, despite us still BFing on demand. She gets some solids and we never bothered with cereal as it seemed to be empty so to speak. Turns out we should have been giving her some iron-rich foods at the least, and the cereal is pretty easy, though not the ideal source of iron. But it's better than no iron at all which is what we were doing. We're now using Earths Best enriched grain oatmeal atm, but any supplemental iron requires vitamin C to be processed, so we mix it with organic apple juice that has vit c added instead of water.<br><br>
Our baby's levels were so low we had to start her on a liquid iron supplement which is NASTY. I also started taking a whole foods iron supplement, because it can help the iron levels in my milk, despite popular belief. Some of it will get through. (I wasn't anemic btw.)<br><br>
We had taken the attitude that if still getting mostly (70%+) breastmilk, any solids were just for experimentation. It's what I'd read all over the place, but turns out that it's not true. <i>Anything</i> you're giving your child other than breastmilk is in essence replacing the nutrition of breastmilk. So I would encourage you to add some iron rich foods (or iron-fortified) to your child's diet if you're giving her any solids at all. And be sure she's also getting something with vitamin C along with it.<br><br>
I wish I'd known all this earlier, as we would have delayed solids much longer. We started after 7 months and I wish we'd waited, because now we're having to deal with an unhealthy baby and the iron stuff is a massive pain. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
It's my understanding that it's not so much that the iron levels in breastmilk drop so much as the iron STORES the baby has built up from gestation begin to deplete. Iron in breastmilk is MUCH easier to absorb than iron-fortified foods, which is why many babies who aren't on any solids are still okay, because it's enough to keep their levels up. But eating any solids will interefere with absorbing iron from BM, so I think it's prudent to include some iron rich solids because of that.<br><br>
Hope that makes sense. I don't mean to be an alarmist, but I really really really wish I'd known all this when we first started solids.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sunflowers</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7919551"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It can happen, though. Happened to my dd. And her number wasn't simply on the "low" side, she was very close to needing a transfusion.</div>
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This happened with my son to, but he was already eating solids...for some reason he gets anemic quite often, but so do I... My dd however didn't ever have rice cereal (or any other commercial baby cereal or any solid food really) in her first year and she never had an issue with anemia.<br><br>
I would let them do the blood test though, we had no clue DS was anemic till we did the blood test and he ended up being very anemic.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Cinder</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7921132"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I would let them do the blood test though, we had no clue DS was anemic till we did the blood test and he ended up being very anemic.</div>
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Yup. I had no clue either until they did the test. Funny thing, her doctors didn't notice until the test was done, too. And then it was suddenly "I knew she was pale, listless, ect, blah, blah." OK, docotor- why didn't we do the test sooner then <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: Made it seem like it was my fault for "missing" the signs- even though I am no doctor and they are... I was peeved they had that attitude. Then I got accused of giving her large amounts of cow's milk! Me! Who never would give my dd anything other than mama milk at such a young age! The nerve. And to this day I know some of those docs still think I was lying about her milk. She actually ended up in the hospital for a short stay so they could do a full workup checking for internal bleeds, stomach ulcers, and some metabolic disorders (I think celiac was one.). She was on an iron supplement for 4 mos. 3mos on Ferrous sulfate- very large doses- and then another month on a large dose of Floradix. I still give her Floradix a few times per week and take it myself. She still nurses at night. I also started her on an iron rich diet. Lots of dark green veggies, chicken thighs (pureed at that time), and sweet pots. I still didn't do much cereal except as a thickener when my purees ended up too runny <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
To the poster who asked about her predisposition- she was a very early preemie so she didn't have the 3rd trimester to build up her iron, calcium, phosphorus, or potassium stores in utero. Plus I tend toward the anemic side so my BM "may" not have had enough Fe to sustain what little stores she had. I did not test anemic but it was one of their theories.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Turns out that ANY solids at all will interfere with baby absorbing iron from your breastmilk, so while most of the iron-fortified cereals don't have a lot of nutrition (certainly not as much as breastmilk) I would add some to your child's diet if you're giving her ANY solids at all.</td>
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Is this true? What an awful predicament. I didn't plan on giving any rice cereal at all.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>stacyann21</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7921381"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Is this true? What an awful predicament. I didn't plan on giving any rice cereal at all.</div>
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There are plenty of other cereals that are not "rice cereal". I think the idea behind no cereals, at least for us, was because we wanted to delay grains, especially processed infant ones, and we wanted to delay the introduction of fortified iron. However, at around 8/9 months we introduced oatmeal, and from time to time I will cheat and use Earths Best whole grain oatmeal cereal.<br><br>
As an older baby who is nearing the end of their first year, I really don't see it as a "bad" thing per se. Not as bad as a 4 or 6 month old recieving it when they are still exclusively breastfed, as it would deffinitly mess with the iron absorption from breastmilk. However, the PP is right, many solid foods will mess with the absorption of iron from your breastmilk.<br><br>
It has to do with heme iron versus non-heme iron. Heme iron is what's in breastmilk, red meat, that sort of thing. This is easily absorbed. Non-heme iron is in things like spinach, nuts, etc.<br><br>
Even though red meat and breastmilk contain <i>less</i> heme iron, it is more bio available, which means the body uses more of it. When you add a lot of plants and nuts into the diet that are high in non-heme iron there is more of it, but it's not as bio available, and so the body doesn't get as much of it. This is where non-heme iron can basically nullify the heme iron. The body basically puts all the iron together and processes it the same way, which means the more bio available iron doesn't get absorbed as well as it should. Does that make sense? (Kinda hard to explain.)<br><br>
I would certainly aim for natural heme iron rich foods, but if this is not possible (like if you're a vegan, etc) then an iron fortified cereal with lots of vitamin c, which aids in the absorption of iron, isn't necessarily a bad idea (toward the end of the first year once you have introduced grains, that is).
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamachandi</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7920362"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Maybe try including floradix (liguid food source fruit and herb iron supplement) or try drinking iron rich teas like nettles,oatstraw and dandelion). It won't hurt and those things have other minerals in them that give you energy and make a mama feel good. those nutrients are passed through your breastmilk.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"></div>
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Actually, they're not. Both LLL and kellymom say that iron supps in mom won't affect the iron levels in her milk. But you're right - those things are good for moms, and it certainly can't hurt to take them.<br><br>
Just wanted to add that I'm another mom who had a severely anemic baby at his 9-month checkup, despite exclusive breastfeeding. Well, I say that, but I guess he was getting a bit of solid food here and there. Nothing to write home about, though. We never did rice cereal because he hated the stuff. With the next kid, I will definitely make an effort to offer more iron-rich foods when we start offering solids.<br><br>
The test for anemia should be just a simple finger- or heel-prick. My son barely even flinched when they did it. I sang to him, and he laughed the whole time they squeezed the blood out.
 

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The iron that's added to the rice cereal, formula, and in the most commonly available vitamin drops is basically industrial waste product. If you do decide that your child needs more iron, I would either go with a real food source or with a more natural vitamin drops (I think someone mentioned a brand farther up thread).<br><br>
We had a horrendous torturous experience with the iron/lead test at 9 mo. It may be easy on some babies but not all. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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This is one thing I've seen enough evidence to the contrary that I question both kellymom and LLL on, and that is the effects of mother taking iron on her breastmilk. I've spoken to several medical professionals about this and done a good bit of research and there is enough, IMO, to support that some of the iron can indeed help increase the levels in BM. Not much, but when you're dealing with an anemic child, even the tiniest bit helps. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br><b>paquerette</b>, they did a fingerprick on our one year old and it was AWFUL. She was startled but okay at first, then when the nurse squeezed her little finger, she was terrified and it obviously hurt. She screamed. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
DH was holding her, I was right in front up close, talking to her and rubbing her back, etc., and the second the nurse finished I took the baby to let her breastfeed. She was too distraught to latch on even and cried for several minutes. It was very traumatic for her (and us). I'm not sure what we'll do about it next time but I'm certainly not looking forward to it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>stacyann21</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7921381"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Is this true? What an awful predicament. I didn't plan on giving any rice cereal at all.</div>
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You do not have to feed your child cereal to get iron into them. Meat is a perfectly acceptable first food and meats like lamb have lots of iron and much more available than the supplemental iron they put in cereals.<br><br>
My daughter was also on the low end at her 9 month iron test. I did not give her cereal (it's gross and she wouldn't eat it anyway) but I did up her intake of meat and she was fine almost right away.<br><br><a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9646449/" target="_blank">http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9646449/</a>
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">You do not have to feed your child cereal to get iron into them. Meat is a perfectly acceptable first food and meats like lamb have lots of iron and much more available than the supplemental iron they put in cereals.</td>
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We're vegetarians...
 

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Then check out the veggies listed - spirulina has tons of iron.<br><br><a href="http://www.askdrsears.com/html/4/t043100.asp#T043107" target="_blank">http://www.askdrsears.com/html/4/t043100.asp#T043107</a><br><br>
I would do the iron test and then go from there. It's a quick test done in most doc's offices so you know right away.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>rebelbets</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7922021"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Actually, they're not. Both LLL and kellymom say that iron supps in mom won't affect the iron levels in her milk. But you're right - those things are good for moms, and it certainly can't hurt to take them.<br><br><br>
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I tend not to agree with them then. wheres the evidence to that? they are not "supplements" in the traditional sense but food sources. does it talk about food sources not going through your breastmilk? Ive always drank herbal teas for my and babies nutrition, this is the first Ive heard it does not go through your milk. Just don't believe that ...
 

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Cow's milk prevents the absorbtion of iron because of it's high calcium content (not because of the intestine). Calcium blocks iron absorbtion and should be avoided for 2 hours before and after taking an iron supplement or iron rich food.<br><br>
I find Floradix (or floravit) the best. They are made from vegetables and herbs high in iron. I was on double the recommended adult dose while pregnant and it has helped me alot. There are recommended doses for children too.<br><br>
They don't do blood test for anemia where I live. I don't find it a bad idea if the child is presenting symptoms of iron deficiency.<br><br><br><br>
If you left the placenta attached after birth (meaning the cord was not clamped and cute immediately after birth, but left to stop pulsating on it's own) the chances that you EBF child is anemic are very low.<br><br>
Letting the placenta attached until it stops pulsating on it's own gives the baby a large amount of iron rich blood, enough to last the first year.<br><br><br>
About iron fortified rice cereal and formula are fortified with iron, and have a higher iron level than BM, but the body absorbs very little of it. There is less iron in BM, but it is ALL absorbed.
 
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