Help! BF caused my baby to be anemic??!

Alissa - posted on 09/15/2009 ( 14 moms have responded )

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Please help! I recently discovered my baby has microcytic hypochromic anemia caused by an iron deficiency. She is 12 months and never had formula, only BF. She does eat table foods, including cereals. It has been suggested to me that she's iron deficient due to the fact that she doesn't receive formula, but I am wondering if there could be some other underlying cause.

Has anyone else had a bf baby become anemic??

Thanks, Alissa

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Amy - posted on 09/16/2009

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It is true that babies iron stores due drop around 6 months, and breastmilk does not have added iron that formula has. My son had low iron around 9 months of age. My doctor told me that was perfectly normal in breastfed babies and to give him a multivitamin with iron. Make sure to get the multivitamin because the vitamin C helps the baby to absorb the iron. My son was fine at 12 mos when his iron was rechecked. Don't worry, breastfeeding is definitely the right choice.

Leveda - posted on 09/21/2009

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oh yeah....just wanted to add that breast milk does have iron in it...just not a lot. but it is very easily absorbed.

Marnae - posted on 09/20/2009

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my son is nearly 14 months old and has an iron-deficiency. We're working with the dr on this. He's currently taking iron supplement drops (ferrous sulfate for infants - ask your pharmacist/md) but the thing that struck me here is that i was in the process of weaning my son when this was all discovered and my dr told me that the breast feeding would HELP his iron levels go up. Looks like there are a lot of people on here that know more about this than I do, but just wanted to share my experience. I'm still breast feeding my son once a day to help him out with his iron. Sounds like someone had it backwards to me... good luck!

Minnie - posted on 09/15/2009

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Yep...I'm sure that breastfeeding caused the anemia. NOT.



I hardly think that something that all of mammalia depends upon for the lifesource of its young would not be sufficient for its young.



Cereal- the nutrients in it are very low in bioavailability. How does she do on meat? Eggs? Spinach? Beans? All of those food types provide iron that is easy for her to absorb and utilize.



Concerning her iron levels- research is currently being done and it has been surmised that infants actually naturally have lower hemoglobin levels than what is currently expected. That what appears to be 'anemic' for an infant/toddler, is actually not.

Jessica - posted on 09/15/2009

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BULL CRAP. Get her some chewy vitamins and she'll be fine. Most BF little ones have lower iron numbers than formula kids but iron in breast milk is more bio-available thus more easilly uptaken by babys system. If you are still worried grind up some meat or fish and feed her that. Also I would quit the cereals- I think she is too old for that now.

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Shirley - posted on 10/01/2012

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I just got the call from my doctor telling me that my baby is anemic she is also 12 months and was BF the whole time +solid foods... She also told me that my baby has low white blood cell count... :(

I'm looking for foods that help boost both!

Leveda - posted on 09/21/2009

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my daughter is breastfed and was also anemic....key term being *was.* don't be upset with yourself, you did nothing wrong. i'm my daughter's case she was just not that interested in solids. when babies are born the have iron stores that last for about 6 months and then around 6 months they usually start eating vegetables and other foods rich in iron. in my daughter's case she wasn't really interested in solids and was VERY iron deficient and anemic at her 15 month appointment. she started taking an iron supplement and i started offering iron rich foods (spinach, beans, lentils, meat.) i fed the poor kid bean soup almost everyday for lunch.
after about 6 months she no longer needs the iron supplement. you don't even need the poly-vi-sol....you can get a generic ferrous sulfate supplement for like $10 at the pharmacy. of course talk to your daughter's pediatrician first.

and don't stop nursing because of this! odds are, your child won't be anemic forever.

[deleted account]

As far as I know, the mother's body's priority is nourishing the baby, just like when we're pregnant - baby gets fed first with what is available. I find it hard to believe that baby would be anaemic without mother suffering first. So if you're not anaemic it probably isn't a defficiency in your milk supply.

Clara - posted on 09/18/2009

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I love how a formula company makes multivitamin drops that all breastfed babies supposedly need.... Anyway, have you looked up this disorder? It's not that bad. As long as you're feeding your little one good sources of iron--try greens!, and vitamin C--will she eat kiwi yet?--she should improve without stopping nursing (not necessary) AND without drops. They can constipate her, if you're lucky enough to even get her to take these nasty tasting/smelling/staining things!! Even giving my daughter 1/2 doses in juice, she wouldn't do it. If, in 3 months, the numbers are still lower, see if the doctor can test to find the cause. Like another mom said, it's not likely that mamma's milk, which sustains all mammals, is the cause of her problem. Try her on Kix or King Vitamin, both of which have a decent amount of iron.



Good luck and try not to worry! That kind of anemia is actually a generic term and one of the most common in childhood.



Clara

Annette - posted on 09/15/2009

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Quoting Lisa:

Yep...I'm sure that breastfeeding caused the anemia. NOT.

I hardly think that something that all of mammalia depends upon for the lifesource of its young would not be sufficient for its young.

Cereal- the nutrients in it are very low in bioavailability. How does she do on meat? Eggs? Spinach? Beans? All of those food types provide iron that is easy for her to absorb and utilize.

Concerning her iron levels- research is currently being done and it has been surmised that infants actually naturally have lower hemoglobin levels than what is currently expected. That what appears to be 'anemic' for an infant/toddler, is actually not.



that thing about iron levels, wow that's really interesting! thanks for the input, I'm a firm believer in drs do not always know what is best when it comes to bfing and it's good to get some explanitory information backing up the importance of bfing

Annette - posted on 09/15/2009

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if u are exclusively BF a baby's stored up iron supply runs out at around 6 months. that's why it's important they get about 6 tbs of iron fortified cereal a day starting at 6 months. however, since u were giving ur baby cereal, the more likely the case is that some people have a harder time absorbing the iron they are getting. I know I do, even an iron supplement is hard for me to absorb and I can remain anemic while taking it. I have heard that vitamin C in food form like juice or oranges can help u to absorb iron, but I heard that from a nutritionist, not my dr. In my case, it worked and I was able to stay on top of my anemia.

Jessica - posted on 09/15/2009

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Oh and the polyv sol vitamins taste HORRIBLE! Yes I tasted them myself. My son would spit it out- and it stains clothes.

Sara - posted on 09/15/2009

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I have not heard of this before, but I do know when I was nursing both of my babies, the doctor had them on poly-vi-sol w/ iron, which is multi vitamin drops w/ added iron. My son was on it until he was 1. Formula is NOT better than breast milk by any stretch of the imagination, how ever, sometimes they do get more iron and vitamin d, which is something breastfed babies don't always get. That can be remedied w/ multivitamin drops. Don't let this make you stop breastfeeding! It's still best for your baby! I've found Enfamil's brand poly-vi-sol w/ iron is the best, but the extra iron can make ur baby constipated sometimes.



Good luck!!



Sara

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