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How do I know if my baby has an iron deficiency?

5 doctors weighed in
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Lab work

Babies at high risk for iron deficiency include those born prematurely and babies who aren't eating any solids (like rice cereal) after 6 months old.
For toddlers, those who drink more than 24 oz of cow's milk a day or follow a vegetarian diet are at highest risk. Because children can have iron deficiency without symptoms a lab test is needed for diagnosis (screening is usually done at 12 mo).

In brief: Lab work

Babies at high risk for iron deficiency include those born prematurely and babies who aren't eating any solids (like rice cereal) after 6 months old.
For toddlers, those who drink more than 24 oz of cow's milk a day or follow a vegetarian diet are at highest risk. Because children can have iron deficiency without symptoms a lab test is needed for diagnosis (screening is usually done at 12 mo).
Dr. Kathleen Forcier
Dr. Kathleen Forcier
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Dr. Julia Sundel
Pediatrics
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Blood test

Your baby can look pale, feel tired, sleep more than usual and/or have a decreased appetite.
Often times, a baby won't have any symptoms and the deficiency will be picked up via screening labs.

In brief: Blood test

Your baby can look pale, feel tired, sleep more than usual and/or have a decreased appetite.
Often times, a baby won't have any symptoms and the deficiency will be picked up via screening labs.
Dr. Julia Sundel
Dr. Julia Sundel
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Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics

In brief: A blood test

It is hard to tell whether or not a 6 month old baby has iron deficiency without doing a blood test.
Babies often are a bit deficient in iron because they grow so fast, and new growth (new muscle cells, new blood cells, etc. . .) requires iron. Breast milk, iron-fortified formula, and iron-fortified baby cereal all supply needed iron for a baby's growth.

In brief: A blood test

It is hard to tell whether or not a 6 month old baby has iron deficiency without doing a blood test.
Babies often are a bit deficient in iron because they grow so fast, and new growth (new muscle cells, new blood cells, etc. . .) requires iron. Breast milk, iron-fortified formula, and iron-fortified baby cereal all supply needed iron for a baby's growth.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Dr. Robert Kwok
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