Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Would you like some iron with your breastmilk?

Today, Callum had his 4 month check up at 3.5 months. Since we are moving next week, I wanted to get Callum's well visit in now so I wouldn't have to find a pediatrician right away - I'd prefer to have time to find a pediatrician that fits our parenting style.

Anywho, we had to see a different doctor (ended up to be a pediatric nurse practitioner), since ours was on maternity leave :( She was very pleased with Callum's growth and development. He is now weighing in at a whopping 12lbs (10%) and 22'' long. It's hard to believe he has DOUBLED his weight since coming home from the NICU. For being 3.5 months and being 4 weeks early and having such a rough start, he is developing normally - smiling, cooing, starting to laugh, starting to grasp at things, etc. It was like music to my ears. Of course, I still worry about what is in store for Callum down the road, but for now, we will rejoice in the things he is doing normally and only hope things continue this way!

We talked about his demeanor and his home-life, etc, and then I got the big question....

"So, have you thought about starting solid foods?" 

The question caught me off guard because our regular pediatrician knows I don't feed our children solids at such a young age and has always been 100% on board with this. I told her with the girls we did not start solids regularly until about seven months. She then started to tell me about the research done and how infants should be given food at an earlier age, particularly breastfed babies, because of iron stores. I was cringing because there was no way in hell that I would be giving my infant - who can barely hold his head up, or grab at a toy, or know what solid food is - something other than breastmilk. She then said, well you can give him an iron supplement (hmmmm, a possibility, I thought), and then......the kicker!

"Well, a side effect of iron could be hard poops for the baby to pass. So, you may want to give him some juice, or water. 

Great, thanks. So, tonight, I'll just puree some fish or chicken or beef, and give it to him by spoon, then I'll follow his big meal with a bottle of apple juice. Yep.

I also tend to follow the lead of Dr. Sears, and this is what he has to say about babies and iron. Now, maybe there is some other, more cutting edge research than what he says, but to me, if our bodies were meant to make breastmilk, and meant for our babies to receive breastmilk, then there should be plenty of iron in our milk to support our babies and need for sufficient iron. Don't get me wrong, there are reasons some babies should receive supplemental iron, but I don't think our children qualify for any of those reasons.

None of our girls have ever had food any earlier than 6 months. I tend to follow the baby led approach with our children. Meaning, they don't get pureed foods, other than yogurt, and start pretty much with table food. I was a bit peeved at the appointment and thankful we have had such an awesome pediatrician for our family, who has been 100% supportive of our parenting decisions thus far. Our girls are happy, healthy and normally developed children, and I won't change anything for Callum - unless of course, something different presents itself.

I tend to think about first time mothers who don't have the education on breastfeeding and think about why they may choose not to breastfeed, or wean early, or give their young babies solid foods (which puts your milk supply at risk, too!) or other things. Giving my young infant juice or water or anything other than breastmilk at this stage is just not needed - no way, no how. Yeah, maybe an iron supplement may benefit, but for now, we will not be giving my 12lb infant chicken or beef. That will come, but for now, he will continue to receive breastmilk and breastmilk only. Obviously, he is having no problems growing and thriving on just that, and I intend to keep it that way until he is developmentally ready for something else.


  1. Amen and Amen!!!!!!!!! Iron? Solids? Yowza! My head has not stopped shaking.

  2. Yeah. Mine, too. Kevin said he was waiting for me to run my mouth, but I just shook my head and inside said "full of shit" :)

  3. I've never had a pediatrician tell me to give my child solid food before 6 months! How crazy! And it sounds like she's not a mother - just someone who has read some studies and decided they're the be all, end all.


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