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Vitamins and Iron past 6mo?

(23 Posts)
AyeWhySWIM Fri 16-Sep-11 19:03:58

I've heard it said that past 6 months, bf babies need additional iron and vitamin supplements - is this right?

belledechocchipcookie Fri 16-Sep-11 19:06:03

If they have a balanced diet then why would they need iron or vitamin supplements?

AyeWhySWIM Fri 16-Sep-11 19:16:41

Well at 6 months we'll only just be starting weaning (if then) so he'll not be getting much 'balance' and I thought I'd read that iron reserves deplete from then..just wondering what others do?

belledechocchipcookie Fri 16-Sep-11 19:26:11

BF and formula has iron and vitamins in them, as does the first foods. BF changes with a baby's nutritional needs change. Maybe you should have a chat with your HV?

AyeWhySWIM Fri 16-Sep-11 19:38:16

Will do but sadly don't have much confidence in her since duff bf advice. Tbh I feel confident about vitamin and other nutritional content of bm. It was really the iron issue I thought I'd read something about. Thanks.

belledechocchipcookie Fri 16-Sep-11 19:41:49

I'll bet you a box of chocolate the iron 'advice' was written by one of the formula companies. wink Veg has a lot of iron in it, if you're weaning then this is the way to go. smile

AyeWhySWIM Fri 16-Sep-11 19:43:47

Hmm maybe....hate these sneaky formula company tactics grrrr. Thanks again!

belledechocchipcookie Fri 16-Sep-11 19:45:28

Not a problem. Someone will turn up at some point and contradict everything I've said so don't forget about your thread. grin

JarethTheGoblinKing Fri 16-Sep-11 19:50:44

Don't forget to take iron in cereals into consideration, something like ready brek has a significant amount.

Seona1973 Fri 16-Sep-11 19:59:47

it is advised by the Food standards Agency that bf babies and babies taking less than 500mls of formula should take vitamin supplements. It is a catch all situation so may not be necessary for all babies.

Do I need to give my toddler a vitamin supplement?

twinklegreen Fri 16-Sep-11 20:29:12

Iron levels in breastmilk don't just suddenly drop, they decrease very gradually. The studies that were done, took data from lactating women with babies of all ages and the very earliest they started to reduce was around six months, the iron content in most breastmilk was found to be fine until around 12 months.

Even assuming that the iron levels in your milk start to decrease at 6 months, your baby should be fine as long as you give them a balanced diet including iron rich foods such as leafy green veg etc

There is no need to give iron supplements at this age, too much iron can make your baby constipated.

Again, there is also no need to give vitamin supplements as long as you are offering a balenced diet of weaning foods alongside breastmilk (which should should be the main source of nutrition for your baby until 1 year old)

Hope this helps

twinklegreen Fri 16-Sep-11 20:35:10

excuse my bad grammar! very gradually smile

twinklegreen Fri 16-Sep-11 20:37:21

and my poor spelling! balenced balanced smile

organiccarrotcake Fri 16-Sep-11 20:46:41

Term babies are born with all the iron they need for around the first 12 months. Ideally the cord should be left to stop pulsating before it is cut because this allows the baby's blood to transfer back into his body properly, ensuring that those iron stores are tip top. Premature babies - usually those born 4 weeks or more early - may need more vitamin/iron support earlier because the mother transfers a lot of the stores to her baby in the last 3-4 weeks of the pregnancy. In this case parents should be given additional support and advice by a paediatrician.

Breast milk doesn't contain all the iron and zinc that a baby needs to thrive because the baby's stores are there to cover this - but what is there is in a form which is highly bio-available. Formula has far more, but it's less easily absorbed and because there's so much iron it can even trigger micro-bleeding in the bowel which can lead to anaemia in extreme (rare) cases, ironically.

Between 6 and 12 months the baby's iron store starts to run down, and while he's being supported by all that lovely bio-available iron in BM, he will START to need a little more. As he learns to eat he'll be getting plenty of iron from food if he's given the right things. Meat is the easiest source. A baby-led weaned baby will suck and gum on a piece of meat and suck out all the juices which will give him everything he needs. Given this about 3 times a week he doesn't NEED anything else really if he's given full access to the breast - although of course you will be introducing other foods too, teaching him about flavours, textures, colours and social skills at the family table (or at least how much fun it is to throw food at the wall/his brother/the dog - or is that just my house?).

Iron is also in most breakfast cereals - added in with vitamins as well - so if you're giving cornflakes or rice crispies, say, he'll be getting vits and minerals here. As long as you're introducing lots of foods and he's getting either formula or breastmilk, all will be well.

One final one to consider is Vit D. Some people are a bit low - easpecially if they don't get outdoors much, or cover for cultural reasons, or just because they live somewhere pretty north. Vit D drops can be offered for your baby if you feel you're at risk of low Vit D.

I highly recommend Gabrielle Palmer's Complentary Feeding book for the latest research into all this!

organiccarrotcake Fri 16-Sep-11 20:49:13

twinkle unless you know about something I don't (quite possible grin) it's not that the iron in BM reduces, it's that the iron stores that the baby is born with start to run lower. How much and how quickly depends on how much they were born with, with depends on whether they were born at term, and whether they were allowed to take on their own blood from the cord.

twinklegreen Fri 16-Sep-11 21:07:09

yes sorry I stand corrected, I've had a very busy day ;)

twinklegreen Fri 16-Sep-11 21:08:22

can't even get that right wink!

twinklegreen Fri 16-Sep-11 21:14:53

<twinkle goes to bed>

organiccarrotcake Fri 16-Sep-11 21:16:18

LOL!! I wasn't trying to correct you, you understand wink.

twinklegreen Fri 16-Sep-11 21:17:31

I do smile My brain is not in gear tonight!

Beveridge Fri 16-Sep-11 22:56:39

Here's a link for Gabrielle Palmer.

AyeWhySWIM Sat 17-Sep-11 07:24:00

Wow - came back this morning to loads of info/advice - thanks! You can always count on mn to come up with the goods! Thanks - that all makes sense and fits with what I already thought I knew about iron. I feel more confident now that I can supplement for vits and iron with good choice of foods to introduce. Def need to look into vit D now as we live in the deep, dark North!

TheRealMBJ Sat 17-Sep-11 08:56:57

AyeWhy once again Vit D supplementation depends on how much sun exposure you allow your DC to have. Babies born in winter are more susceptible to Vit D deficiency as are those with dark skin or who are live where there truly is very little sunlight.

Personally (we live in the North too) I don't supplement with Vit D as I make sure DS gets out and exposed to the sun as soon as it comes put for as long as possible and unless the height of summer, and very bright, I don't apply sun screen. Vit D is fat soluble and gets stored during the summer. But it is a decision you need to make for yourself.

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