Should I Switch to Low-Iron Formula?
3. I'm thinking of switching to a low-iron formula because my baby is constipated. Is that a good idea?
No. Iron deficiency is the number one nutritional deficiency in the country and the most frequent cause of anemia, a serious health condition for a child, so it's important that a baby get enough of this mineral. Pediatricians will prescribe low-iron formulas in rare circumstances; because of this, the FDA has permitted their marketing. But these products have led to suspicions -- all of which are false -- that the iron in iron-fortified infant formulas cause diarrhea, constipation, and colic. Parents then start reaching for the low-iron formulas without first consulting their pediatrician.
"There is absolutely no reason for any parent to purchase a low-iron formula unless their child's doctor calls for it," says Dr. Klish. "They are simply not nutritionally adequate." In fact, studies have shown that school-age children who were fed low-iron formula as infants tend not to do as well on standardized developmental tests as children who received iron-fortified formula.