Some babies can become iron deficient. It is important that if this baby is still being breastfed that mom take whole food supplements and foods necessary to increase iron content in her breastmilk.
If baby is eating solids some great foods to help increase iron are, baked sweet potato, fortified with Brewer’s Yeast and/or blackstrap molasses. This is a great combination, just don’t use too much Brewer’s Yeast.
Also slightly steamed spinach WITH oranges, or another vitamin C source is great too!
Other options for children around or under 12 months of age, raisins, prunes, apricots, figs, peaches, pears, tomatoes, turnip greens, collard greens, and winter squash. Some of these foods will require more supervision on the parent’s part than others.
If you are giving meats, options available are liver, beef, chicken, and turkey. Please keep in mind it is most beneficial for all animal products to come from an organic, free-range, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, vaccine-free animal sources.
If your child is 28 months, or close to that age, and you have begun giving grains, legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds, then you have even more options like, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, Lima beans, peas, and lentils.
Soaked and sprouted is the best way to eat any grain, legume, bean, nut, or seed, at any age. This activiates the enzymes in them and aids in digestion and absorption.
It is very important to couple your iron sources with a good source of vitamin C to help the body absorb and utilize the iron.
Great vitamin C sources are, oranges, orange juice (fresh squeezed), grapefruit, grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed), cantaloupe, mango, papaya, strawberries, guava, cabbage, green chilies, red chilies, green pepper, tomato, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower.
If baby is breastfeeding still, Mom needs to utilize these things in her diet too, to help increase the iron in her breastmilk.
There are iron supplements available on the market, but that should really only be used as a last resort, and truly in a health crisis situation.
Regarding iron content in breastmilk!
According to Kellymom.com and MANY other resources and trained lactation consultants, etc., what I presented here regarding the ability to increase iron in breastmilk is not true.
While I am not a lactation consultant yet, I am a Certified Breastfeeding Educator with my BS in Anatomy and Physiology from Parker College or Chiropractic. I was at one point in my life studying to become a chiropractor. Nutrition is heavily emphasize in chiropractic school and is a great passion of mine. Thus, I am currently working on my Master of Science Degree in Human Nutrition with specialization in maternal and pediatric nutrition.
Here is my response to this, rather unfounded claim, in my opinion, of iron not being able to be replenished in breastmilk:
I have heard this a lot during my breastfeeding training over the past 3 years, and it has always been curious to me as to why they say this. There is never an explanation, just a statement, and I have not yet found any research that specifically says that iron content in mother’s milk cannot be raised. I am not saying there is not research done on this, just that I still have not found it, and I am a research junkie!! Chiropractic school will do that to you!
The reason I believe that it can be raised is because of my training in human biochemistry and physiology.
How did iron get in the breastmilk to begin with, that supposedly only lasts for 6 months. Yet, research has shown that if a breastfeeding mother takes iron supplements it can cause constipation in baby, which is a side effect of taking iron supplements to mom even. That, to me, shows that it must be getting into the breastmilk.
If what mother eats is what determines the nutrient and mineral content of mothers milk then why is it that iron, and a few other minerals are claimed to not be able to be replenished?
I simply don’t understand why they say it cannot, and I have not seen any research that shows that it cannot, and my education in biochemistry and physiology says that it should be completely possible for iron or any other nutrient, vitamin, or mineral to be increased in breastmilk.
Lactoferrin is present, and other iron containing enzymes, it just doesn’t make much sense to me at all.
That is why I believe as I do and promote as I do.
Also, I promote a whole food method of achieving nutritional needs, not artificial supplementation and so it would be beneficial to mom and baby regardless, even if for some reason, unknown to me, that iron does not increase in the breastmilk.
It would also make sense to me that what research is out there, that I have not found yet, that shows that iron levels cannot be increased in a mother’s milk would be based on artificial supplementation with synthetic iron, and not from whole food sources in the diet. Most nutrition research studies are based on synthetic vitamin and mineral use.
It is very well known that our bodies absorb and utilize nutrients, vitamins, and minerals more readily from natural whole food sources, than from processed, synthetic pills!
Thus, holistic practitioners promote nutrition FIRST, and then whole food supplementation! Never, or hardly ever, is a synthetic supplement recommended by a holistic practitioner.
Just my holistic and personal perspective on the iron issue with breastmilk.
Each person is welcome to take it all as they wish. I just question things, and don’t like blanket statements with no explanation to them. I always encourage others to question and do their own research and come to their own decisions on issues. Never take things for granted!
Leigh Anne DuChene