Anemia No More

How one mother successfully battled anemia in her baby…

without using iron supplements

Sierra was diagnosed with anemia when she was seven months, one week old – her level was 9.1. I was told to give her iron supplements three times a day, but after doing a lot of research I decided not to. The side effects of the iron seemed too severe since her iron levels were not very low, and she has a very delicate tummy!

Instead I decided to give her a combination of iron-rich and vitamin C-rich foods. She does not eat a lot, but she does like to feed herself little bits here and there whenever I eat, so I just made sure all of the little bits had iron or vitamin C. She insists on feeding herself – even things you need a spoon for!

Sierra had just started eating solid foods the week she turned 6 months, just over a month before this happened. She was barely eating at the time we were going through all of this. She was eating about 1 tablespoon of food per day total when we started, and by the time we finished she was up to almost 2 tablespoons per day.

Her diet consists of cheerios, avocado, all kinds of fresh veggie chunks & fresh fruit chunks, fried potatoes, fried tofu chunks, iron-fortified oatmeal (now with molasses), homemade rice cereal cookies, and soy yogurt. But it is still mostly breastmilk since she still nurses every two hours.

Well, we got her re-tested after 5 weeks (aged 8 months, 2 weeks). She is no longer anemic – I just found out. I am so happy!! Ironically, I almost caved and went and bought iron drops Saturday because she took a one hour nap two days in a row (she normally takes no more than a 10 or 15 minute nap) and I was convinced it was the anemia! Anyway, her levels are now normal. Her new level is 10.4 (10.2 is normal). I am amazed that we could get it up that much in such a short time with diet alone, considering how little she eats. I am going to continue giving her foods high in iron and vitamin C since I would like her numbers to be higher and she likes what she eats. Besides, I think a healthy diet in the first few years is exceptionally important and she has one healthy diet – I wish I ate so well!

I am so happy that it worked out without the iron drops! And I know Sierra would be too, if she had known about them!

Story used with the permission of Lori & Sierra (12/24/97)