Do you notice that your baby is looking pale of late? Are his tiny limbs cold too? If you can relate your little one to the above situations, it is time to give anemia a thought!
Anemia is a common concern during pregnancy. But do you know if you were anemic during pregnancy chances are your baby too may suffer from the same? Want to know more about the causes, symptoms, and ways to prevent anemia in babies? Read on!
Red blood cells or the erythrocytes are a type of blood cells that act as the principal means to deliver oxygen to body tissues.
Hemoglobin is a primary part of the RBCs that binds oxygen.
What Is Anemia?
Anemia is a health condition that occurs when your blood lacks sufficient healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. (1)
Is Anemia Dangerous For Babies?
If a baby has less hemoglobin in his blood, then the cells in his body will not get the sufficient amount of oxygen. Poor oxygenation of the tissues and organs can take a toll on his growth and development.
Are There Different Types Of Anemia?
There are three different types of anemia:
- Anemia due to blood loss
- Anemia due to a decrease in the production of the RBCs
- Anemia due to destruction of RBCs
What Is The Common Cause Of Anemia In Babies?
Newborns commonly tend to suffer from anemia due to iron deficiency. The human body needs iron so that it can produce hemoglobin.Iron deficiency in babies happens due to a variety of reasons.Some prenatal and perinatal factors that can lead to anemia in infants include:
- Anemia during pregnancy
- Uncontrolled gestational diabetes
- Low birth weight
- Preterm birth
[ Read: Common Infant And Newborn Problems ]
What Are The Common Symptoms Of Anemia?
Here is a list of the common signs of anemia in babies:
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen or sore tongue
- Cold hands and feet
What Are The Side Effects Of Anemia In Babies?
Anemia due to iron deficiency can cause long-lasting diminished mental, motor, and behavioral functioning. (2)
How To Prevent Anemia In Babies?
Breastfeeding is one way to prevent anemia in infants under one year of age. Alternatively, babies can also consume a baby formula that contains iron. Breastfeeding babies should also start consuming iron-fortified food as soon as they turn six months old. You must try and include iron-rich foods in your baby’s diet. If you have weaned your baby you can add the following rich sources of iron in his meal plans:
- Dried beans, soybeans, and lentils
- Chicken, turkey, fish, and other meats
- Prune juice
- Peanut butter
- Raisins and prunes
- Kale, spinach, and other greens
You can add sources of Vitamin C in your baby’s diet to increase the absorption of iron in his body. You can also decrease his intake of dairy products as foods rich in calcium interfere and adversely affect the iron absorption in the body. It is advisable to avoid giving your baby cow’s milk until his first birthday.(3)
[ Read: Oatmeal For Babies ]
Do Babies Need Iron Supplements?
If a healthy iron-rich diet does not treat the baby’s iron deficiency and anemia, then the doctor will most likely recommend iron supplements for him. Make sure to strictly follow the doctor’s prescription for dosage. Remember, an overdose of the mineral too can prove toxic and dangerous for the baby.
The doctor may prescribe 11 mg of iron every day for your baby if he is between seven and twelve months of age. (4)
Remember not to experiment with your baby’s health by following conventional unscientific methods to treat his mineral deficiencies.
Now you know all about anemia in babies. Why wait? Go ahead and enlighten other moms!
Did your baby suffer from anemia? What treatment did the doctor suggest? Please share your experience with other moms here.
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