Breastfeeding and Iron Deficiency

iron-deficiencyWhile there has historically been a slight association between breastfeeding and iron deficiency, and this study found an “association”, it failed to meet statistical significance. I have seen some of the most iron deficient babies over the years in the exclusively breast fed babies who were not getting any iron rich foods introduced by 4-6 months. Since iron deficiency puts babies at significant risk for anemia, developmental delays, and vulnerability to other toxins, this article should be a good reminder to supplement with iron or iron rich foods when breast feeding.

For iron from the diet, meats and fish are the traditional source with the greatest iron.  For vegetarian sources, look for green vegetables like spinach and beans.  The link below gives you an idea of some good vegetarian sources:

Good Iron Sources for Vegetarians

A bigger issue should be made of all the negative consequences of giving cow’s milk which is for calves, to human babies.  While formula is improved, a look at the list of ingredients with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and corn syrups for sweeteners, should be enough to prompt all mom’s who are able to do so to breastfeed at least the first year of life. 

Read the Study Here


Dr. Paul


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