Advanced search

Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

correcting anaemia in children who can't take supplements

(26 Posts)
ipsogenix Tue 02-Aug-16 13:50:46


A pediatrician has told me that my son is probably a bit anaemic, and I think she's probably right. However, I'm in a quandary about how to address it as he is intolerant to almost all vitamin supplements and fortified foods.

He can eat ready brek, which has 3mg iron per 30g portion, so that's great. He can have a beefburger, which gets him another 3mg. But I gather that I'm aiming for about 10mg a day.

We have tried black pudding, which he loves but he's become very crabby and started regressing, and I wonder if maybe the black pudding is a bit too much for his system.

I wondered if anyone might know how much iron a day I should be aiming for even?

I gather potato skins have a lot of iron and wondered if maybe that would be a thing to try. (1mg iron per 100 cal of potato roughly, so much more if we just eat the skins)


HallowedMimic Tue 02-Aug-16 13:53:14

We use a sachet of Spatone in a glass of juice. It's just water with an unusually high iron content.

It's fine for children.

Pestilence13610 Tue 02-Aug-16 13:57:35

Beans, sardines, dark green veg.
Pediatrician should be able to advise on supplements.
Cook food in a cast iron balti pan wink, like making your own supplement.

Balletgirlmum Tue 02-Aug-16 14:02:20

Dried apricots?

SoftSheen Tue 02-Aug-16 14:05:52

Red meat, lentils, eggs, black treacle (surprisingly high iron content, could put it in cake or gingerbread), dried apricots, raisins, dark chocolate.

ipsogenix Tue 02-Aug-16 16:13:46

Thanks, I do know the iron levels in all those foods, but I wondered if anyone knows whether I should really be aiming for 10mg a day? It seems a lot.

TheFirie Tue 02-Aug-16 21:27:31

Who told you to ai at 10 mg per day? People tend to forget that the highest iron content is found in shell fish. So mussels, clams, oysters.... When I was pregnant, I used to drink a glass of clams broth for the iron. It was quite tasty actually!

Allalonenow Tue 02-Aug-16 21:31:49

You can get a clam and tomato juice which a child might like, and spinach can be stirred into almost everything.

BlackSwan Tue 02-Aug-16 21:33:57

Hallowed mimic that's what we do with our son... spa tone in OJ. Consultant said it's fine for kids.

Sofabitch Tue 02-Aug-16 21:36:34

Have you considered other reasons for anemia other than iron deficiency? Have they checked b12 and foliate levels?

Iron that is in vegetables isn't absorbed quite as efficiently as in meat. But including high dose vitamin C helps.

aspidistraah Tue 02-Aug-16 21:37:40

Place marking to come back; I found a really useful document detailing all the foods with iron in for children, but shall have to search for it.

Sofabitch Tue 02-Aug-16 21:40:15

10mg per day is the recommend amount for men and non menstruating woman

ipsogenix Wed 03-Aug-16 06:12:46

LOL! I see what you mean about clams. Also caviar! Well that's a thought...

lozzylizzy Wed 03-Aug-16 06:15:32

Don't forget the vitamin c with the iron. When I was pregnant I was anaemic and the pills only really worked if I had them with vitamin c so try and serve something with the iron rich foods.

pearlylum Wed 03-Aug-16 06:33:47

12-15 mg a day is a healthy intake for children.
Iron may also be prescribed at a higher dose for therapeutic purposes for a short time to correct anemia.

I would ask for a more accurate diagnosis, he needs a blood test.

ipsogenix Wed 03-Aug-16 08:56:37

All the sources online say 11mg a day. Where do you get 12-15mg? He's in the queue for a blood test but is having play support first so it's not too scary. The ped said there was no rush.

The problem really is that most kids get their iron from processed foods and wheat, so for kids like mine who don't get on with wheat and processed stuff, it's actually really hard to pack in 11mg a day just from good honest iron-rich food.

Footle Wed 03-Aug-16 08:59:40

I don't understand why black pudding might be affecting his mood.

therootoftheroot Wed 03-Aug-16 09:02:59

in what way is he intolerant to all fortified foods? that suggests a very wide spread of intolerances? howdo these intolerances manifest?

is there an ingredient in supplements that he is intolerant to? which ingredient? perhaps we can help you find one without that ingredient?

why would black pudding make him regress?

ipsogenix Wed 03-Aug-16 11:11:52


I'd really be glad of help on the fortified food thing actually. It's quite odd. He gets abdominal pain whenever I give him fortified things. Baby vitamin drops (various types) were bad, cornflakes were bad, special K was bad. I haven't tried a huge number of other things because the pain was very very bad and I didn't like to do it to him again, but last try was cornflakes and it was a milder pain which made me feel that we could consider trying things.

The next thing we tried was readybrek which has been fine. It has ferritin diphospate in it as an iron supplement, which he is apparently fine with.

He has trouble with with wheat - it used to make his nose swell shut internally and he had to have his adenoids out twice at the age of 14 months and 2.5 years. The last two weeks we've tried a couple of wheat biscuits though and he said he couldn't feel any effect so that was really hugely encouraging.

I did wonder if the fortified food thing was partly the Xanthan gum in the vitamin drops and the barley malt in the cereal. It's not absolutely clear that is the fortification that is the problem. Often the reactions he has take weeks and weeks of trouble before I figure them out though so I have to be very careful about what I introduce and about not introducing too many things at once. He was on calpol 4 times a day for 10 weeks before I figured out that vitamin drops were a problem, poor lad.

I've no idea why black pudding would put him off his game, except that it had a very intense flavour and tbh seemed a bit strong for breakfast every for a 6 year old. We had a day off today and he is right back to normal.

quencher Wed 03-Aug-16 11:33:06

Op, from my understanding, it might be best to have the iron before having milk or diary products. Having them at different times of the day to see if it will make a difference. I remember reading that milk reduces the absorption of iron. Vegetable helps it's absorption, though. I don't know how proven they all are.

Why have they taken so long to give your son proper help? This is not good if he was already having problems four, five years go. Poor child.

ipsogenix Wed 03-Aug-16 13:12:16

Quencher that's right about the milk.

I'm not sure why I'm having such trouble getting help. It took 9 months of visiting medics over and over again to get someone to recognise enlarged adenoids. Surely that should be something a medic has heard of?

I have a neighbour who has the same kind of problems with her son and she is a consultant at the hospital and still finds that she can get no help for her son. It's very frustrating.

ipsogenix Wed 03-Aug-16 13:15:06

I did finally get a pediatrician referral because the school backed me up after ds had such a lot of illness that we were flagged to low attendance. However, the pediatrician said there was not really much help she could give and that she'd have to write a letter that would really only make things even harder for us. She says she thinks that I am doing the right thing, but that I would have to advocate hard for him even to get him the leeway to be at home to recover when he does get ill. I find the system in this country very frustrating indeed.

lordsteatime Fri 05-Aug-16 17:49:32

I take it you have ruled out coeliac ?

baked beans, green leafy veg are all good sources. there is even iron in chocolate.
Plan all meals through out the day to contain decent iron sources as it all adds up.
Ask for a referral to a dietitian who may be able to help.

what medical help have you had so far? is your child underweight?

AppleAndBlackberry Fri 05-Aug-16 17:54:59

Red meat, eggs, dried apricots, green veg, using a cast iron saucepan if you can get one. Do you know why he's iron deficient though?

aspidistraah Sat 06-Aug-16 11:04:28

Had he had any knobs of blood tests? It doesn't sound like anyone has actually investigated this?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now