Q&A: Does My Baby Need an Iron Supplement?

Does my six-month-old baby need an iron supplement? I heard babies that aren't on formula need extra iron starting at six months
profile picture of Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA
ByNancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA
Lactation Specialist
Updated
Feb 2017
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Unless your baby is anemic (this can be checked by a doctor with a quick heel prick), there’s no real need for a supplement. It is true that baby’s existing iron stores will start to be depleted between six and nine months, but baby can easily get extra iron from his diet, assuming you’ve begun introducing solids. Many baby cereals are iron-fortified, but babies absorb naturally occurring iron — for example, in your breast milk and in red meats — much better than the iron found in fortified foods or supplements. (Plus, added iron is known to lead to constipation so you shouldn’t overdo it.)

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