Does a breastfed baby need iron supplements? Your baby most likely does not need to take extra iron drops– a minimum of not for the first 4 months. Then it depends upon whether she’s formula fed or breastfed and whether she’s eating solid food.
It’s important for infants to get enough iron, since a deficiency can cause serious hold-ups in growth and development and have long-lasting impacts. In basic, though, healthy, full-term infants get enough iron from their mom in the last trimester of pregnancy to last them for the first four months of life.
The response is various if your baby was born early. Premature babies have less of an iron reserve– and need supplements– because they do not get adequate iron shops from Mom in the last trimester. The earlier a premature baby is born and the faster that baby is growing, the sooner she’ll require iron supplements.
When does baby need iron supplement?
As soon as your baby starts eating solids (usually at 4 to 6 months, as iron reserves start to go out), you can help her satisfy the requirement by feeding her iron-fortified cereals, puréed beef, and other iron-rich foods.
If your baby is breastfed and not eating solid food at 4 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests an iron supplement of 11 milligrams (mgs) per day. That’s since unlike formula, breast milk contains little iron, and your baby’s own dwindling iron stores will not suffice to make up the difference. Once she starts eating iron-rich foods, she most likely will not need the supplement.
It’s crucial not to give your baby cow’s milk up until after her first birthday, too, because it hinders the body’s absorption of iron. Cow’s milk is low in iron and can change foods with high-iron content. It can likewise aggravate your baby’s intestines, triggering a slow loss of blood– and for that reason iron– in the stool.
The doctor will inspect your baby’s iron level with a blood test at the 12-month checkup. (Premature infants are examined previously, generally at 6 months.) If the results show a lack, the doctor might suggest improving your baby’s iron with food or with a supplement. Another blood test will be done a month or 2 later to make sure iron levels are where they need to be.
Don’t give your baby an iron supplement “simply to be sure.” Studies have revealed that too-high levels of iron are possibly damaging. If you’re worried about iron levels, talk with your baby’s healthcare provider. He can easily check her hemoglobin and suggest the appropriate quantity of supplementation, if required.
Safety note: Iron supplements can cause serious liver damage if a child takes too much. So if your child or anybody in your family needs iron supplements at any time, be sure to store them safely out of reach and follow dose guidelines thoroughly.