May 082011

When to Give an Iron Supplement to Your Baby

A full-term baby is born with enough iron stores from Mom to last him about 4-6 months, or until his birth weight doubles.  Babies, then, after 4-6 months, need foods high in iron such as iron-fortified formula or iron-fortified cereal.  The question is: does a baby need an iron supplement?  Again, the first resource to turn to is your pediatrician.  Together, you and he can determine what your baby’s diet is providing and if there is a need for a daily, supplemental iron drop, as suggested by the American Academy of  Pediatrics in some cases.  Babies may continue to need an iron supplement until they are 18 months old, but be careful to give the baby too much iron, it can lead to constipation.   A detailed list of iron-rich foods is included in Super Baby Food’s nutrition reference section.  For online information regarding iron-rich foods, try this list at

Does your Baby Need a Fluoride Supplement?

A fluoride supplement is another nutritional supplement that should be discussed with your pediatrician.  The prevailing guideline from the AAP is that fluoride NOT be given in infants under the age of 6 months. Specifically,

“The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Dentistry recommend that all children older than six months of age, breast fed or formula fed, be given fluoride supplements if they live in an area where the fluoride level of the water is less than 0.3 ppm. Optimal fluoride concentration in water for teeth is .7-1.2 ppm. Use of fluoride supplements is indicated for children in non-fluoridated areas.”

The take-away here is that up to 6 months, fluoride supplements are not necessary.  After 6 months have a talk with your pediatrician regarding your baby’s diet (breast-feeding or bottle feeding) and the percentage of fluoride in your drinking water to decide if a fluoride supplement is necessary.  As with many child care practices, prevailing wisdom changes, so be sure to discuss with your pediatrician and check out the websites of the AAP and the AAD for the most updated  information.

Check back with the Super Baby Food Blog for more information regarding Iron and Fluoride Supplements.