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Iron deficiency in bf toddler - too much milk?

(11 Posts)
Booboostoo Wed 24-Oct-12 18:03:56

Has anyone come across something similar?

DD is 17 months old and bfs on demand. I don't know how much milk she gets but she also consumes solids. Her overall food intake varies, she goes through days when she is ravenous for both bf and solids and days when she is not very interested in either. She eats red meat once a day, however this varies from a few spoon fulls to three whole portions (also eats other sources of iron like oats).

She is severely anemic. The docs are trying to diagnose by exclusion, i.e. if it's not a host of other problems then it must be nutritional. At the moment we are in the middle of exams for thalassemia, metabolic problems with iron and calcium absorption, lead poisoning, etc. However, the exams will take a long while to come through completely.

Is the nutritional iron deficiency quite common in toddlers or am I clutching at straws? If it is the bf that's causing the problems I feel terribly guilty for doing it! Everyone in my family thinks I am a bit odd for bfing for so long anyway, so this will be vindication for them. On the other hand the other possible illnesses are not very pleasant either, so perhaps stopping bf would be the best of a bad lot.

mawbroon Wed 24-Oct-12 19:13:33

DS1 was anaemic for a while, but he was slightly older, about 3 i think, but still breastfeeding loads.

He was having digestive problems because of his tongue tie and his poo was full of undigested food, so he wasn't able to absorb the iron properly.


more info here

Booboostoo Thu 25-Oct-12 17:17:37

Thanks mawbroon. They had a look at her tongue no evidence of tongue-tie (from the other thread you kindly commented on), in fact the problem seems to be that she likes milk too much and is not eating enough solids for her very rapid gain. Today we had some exam results that excluded various problems but she is a carrier for Alpha Thalassemia which makes many of her blood results lower than normal luckily with no other side-effects.

She has an iron supplement now which hopefully will help.

mawbroon Fri 26-Oct-12 09:27:25

What was the other thread? Just wondering what else also made me think tongue tie.

Who checked her for it? this thread shows how often it is missed

Elizabeth22 Fri 26-Oct-12 15:40:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Booboostoo Fri 26-Oct-12 17:37:50

mawbroon the other thread was on milk blisters. I had one after the earlier stay in hospital when she got very stressed and fed constantly. Luckily it's healed now and it's the only one I've had in 17 months. The paeds doc at the hospital checked but to be fair she does not have other signs of tongue tie.

Elizabeth22 she had bloods taken when we went to hospital the first time and they revealed the anemia. From there she had more specialized bloods which showed she is a carrier for Alpha Thalassemia which will always depress a bit some results in her blood exams but also lacking in iron. Further specialist blood tests showed that she does not have metabolic problems so we have concluded by exclusion that the anemia is nutritional. The iron supplement is prescribed the doc and you really need a blood test to check your DS is deficient before giving an iron supplement as far as I understand it, but perhaps your GP could advise?

Mama1980 Fri 26-Oct-12 17:44:11

I don't have much experience sorry but I breast fed my ds now 4 until he was 3.5 and he loved his milk. He has never had any issues with iron deficiency, so in my experience it wouldn't be that common. Ds does eat well. I am anaemic and I was told orange juice, the fresh kind aids iron absorbsion. Sorry if None of that's useful, I hope the drs sort it quickly. X

Booboostoo Sat 27-Oct-12 18:16:46

Thanks Mama1980. That is a great tip, I am now learning that vitamin D helps with iron absorption so loads of orange juice for DD!

Finallygotaroundtoit Sat 27-Oct-12 18:30:52

Vit D is made from sun exposure - don't think orange juice has much in.

Booboo, bm has very easily absorbed iron so bfeeding, giving iron rich foods plus iron supps and and a multivitamin should sort out the problem.

What do they mean by severe anaemia? Lower end of normal or half?

As you say, if your DC does have a health problem continued bf may turn out to be a blessing

Elizabeth22 Sat 27-Oct-12 21:19:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Booboostoo Sun 28-Oct-12 15:23:19

Finally sorry that was a very confusing typo, I meant vitamin C not D! Her vit D levels are fine, I was advised to feed vit C along with the iron supplement to help iron absorption. The doc also thought that she should not have any milk of any kind one hour before and one hour after the iron supplement as it affects iron absorption. Her values are:

Hemoglobin 8.6, normal 11-15
Hematocrite 28.4, normal 34-45
VGM 57, normal 80-95

so she is quite low, but she will be re-tested after 3 months of the supplement and she should be better. I am just a bit bitter really that I did everything I thought was best, bf, home cooked food, no salt, no sugar...and the result is a problem! Ironic, I should have just fed her chocolate!

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