Are iron supplements safe for an anemic baby?

Q: My 10-month-old baby has anemia. Are iron supplements safe?

A: Iron-deficiency anemia is pretty common in babies, and getting enough of this mineral is crucial for your child's growth and development. Left untreated, iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, irritability, slowed growth, and even learning and behavioral problems down the road. Rest assured that any iron supplement drops your doctor prescribed are totally safe, although sometimes they can cause constipation. If this happens, don't stop giving your baby supplements, just treat the constipation. You can give a sippy cup of water with each solid meal, or offer a small amount of prune juice (diluted with 50 percent water). Cut up plenty of fruits like pears and plums, which are natural stool softeners. And if things get really bad, ask your pediatrician if you can use an over-the-counter remedy like Metamucil or Miralax. Iron-deficiency anemia tends to subside as babies grow and begin eating a more varied diet (sometimes only after only a few months on the supplements). You can also offer your baby lots of iron-rich foods, like green vegetables, red meat, and egg yolks in addition to the supplements. 

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.

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