Dani + 1 wrote:
I agree that BM is enough iron for the first six months, but once a baby hits six months their iron stores begin to deplete faster than they can be replaced by BM and their iron needs increase ten fold. While iron in BM is easily digested its in small amounts compared to foods where it is harder digested but in much higher amounts. Biologically - why do you think babies have those stores from birth?
But BLW or feeding purees seems kind of like a moot argument to me. Not quite on the scale of some that we are presented with as parents. You consider the facts and make your decision based on the needs of YOUR baby.
What I think is most important in terms of iron absorption (and the biggest trouble people seem to have) is waiting until the right time to start solids... Babies who start too early will not get what they need from solids because their digestive systems are physically incapable. And because they are having solids they may be having less BM or formula so in turn aren't getting what they need from that either. A baby who starts solids at 4 months (regardless of the method) has actually less iron stores at six months than a baby who remained exclusively BFed.
It depends on your babies iron stores as to when
they rapidly start depleting. It has been shown that babies stores start depleting from between
6-12 months. Thats why the catch cry is milk is their main source of food until 1. Solids are not their main source of nutrition, they are complimentary. Blanketly giving every baby extra iron in case they are low without actually knowing, can be detrimental. With the common practice of early labours, early cord clamping and ff, then iron stores are not going to be as good as they should be then if babies were left to term, no no early cord clamping and bf.
I agree there is much less iron in bm. However so much more of it is absorbed then iron fortified cereals. Around 70% of iron in bm and 4% of iron in cereal. If a kid is ff with iron enriched formula, then given iron enriched foods, then you end up with an awful lot of iron in the diet. It is quite a debate as to whether iron enriched foods are necessary for a healthy, term, delayed cord clamped bf baby between 6-12 months. But I would agree with the babies that are already at risk of anaemia needing iron enriched foods.
I am not sure what you mean about biologically why they would need these stores from birth..... iron is in every cell, you need it to grow, digest etc. I would assume that they use a lot of it in that vital growth and development period. (especially for their brain) There is a theory floating around that it is low in bm to help prevent illness as bacteria need iron to survive and grow too. So it could actually be a protective safeguard while babies are so vulnerable. Who knows!
Totally agree with you though in terms of starting solids early and iron!