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Does My Son Really Need the Routine 9-12 Month Blood Draw?

The little guy is 9 months now... perfectly healthy thus far. He still takes formula of course, but is also now eating table foods with us at dinnertime. So far so good, he's loving his chicken, yogurt, salmon, beans, fruits & veggies, etc.... (We all eat a pretty clean diet). At the 9 month check up the ped advised us to have his blood drawn to check for anemia. I'll do it by all means, if necessary. Just wondering if anyone's opted to skip this or has never been asked to do this? No biggie, just curious.

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I just took my 9 mo. old twins to the doctor's yesterday for shots and he never even mentioned a need to draw blood.


It was just a finger poke for my daughter & at the age they did it the nerve endings aren't even developed yet so she didn't even feel anything.

I have 3 little boys and have never been asked to have blood drawn for anything. Does the Dr. suspect he may be anemic?? If not then why do it?

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Hi A.:

I just went through this twice at 9 months and 12 months. At our doctor's office, it is just a finger prick and you get the results within minutes. I was told the reason that they are concerned about iron deficiency is because it can cause developmental problems. My son had slight iron deficinecy because he was exclusivley breastfed, but being that you are giving your son formula, which contains iron, I don't imagine this is a problem. (Apparently, babies are born with iron reserves which deplete over time.)

I would have it done. It's just a prick. It's EASY and will give you peace of mind.

All the best,

I've never even heard of this, but we also go to a doctor's office that is anti-vax, so they probably wouldn't do this unless they felt it was necessary. Talk to your doctor about why it should be done. If he/she is legitimately concerned, then you can take that into account. If he/she wants to do it just because it's a routine thing, then I'd skip it. If you do go ahead with it, get a prescription of EMLA cream - it numbs the area so the needle prick doesn't hurt so bad. You've gotta put it on the area an hour ahead of time though - so must know where they plan to take blood.

With my first, our doctor never even brought it up.

With the second, our ped. is pretty by-the-book, and yes, we did do it. It's just a heel prick, as I recall, no big deal. But if you don't want to do it, just refuse it.

Formula actually isn't that great a source of iron, it would be different if he were nursing. But since he's eating chicken and beans and stuff... it should be okay.

But honestly, it's not that traumatic, just a prick on the heel.

It's not just for iron levels, it's to check lead levels too. So yes, it's necessary.

My daughter is a year old and I have never heard of this, our doctor never even mentioned it. Are they concerned for a reason I'd ask the doctor for more info as to why he wants to do this blood draw.

Hi A.!

I read some of the responses, but not all. My son is 2 and had the blood draw done at his 1 and 2 year visits. I'm SO glad we did! He was fine at his 1 year, but just last month at his 2 year we found out that he was anemic. He had no other symptoms.

I know as Moms we do everything we can to avoid putting our kids through unnecessary pain, but in this case, I would say that it's worth it. I know your little one is on formula so anemia may not be a concern, but in our case, the doctor does a Complete Blood Count (CBC- and yes, it's a full vein blood draw. Not fun.)so they are checking for other things as well (lead, leukemia, etc.). Ask your Dr. before hand what type of tests they will be running. If it's a CBC I'd say it's worth it!

Have fun with that little one, they grow up on you SO fast! :)

I did it for all three of my kids, one child did need a boost is iron in their diet even though all had the same diet. The hemogloblin which is the primary thing that they are looking for carries the oxygen on the red blood cells. The abiliy to carry oxygen at this point helps your childs brain and nerves develop so they can accomplish all the learning they do between 0-5 which is more than they will accomplish the rest of their life. You can skip it and look for milestones, get educational assessments later, but once they are having problems the deficiency is already there and hard to recover from. Lead is also tested for, even if you yourself live in a new home. The public announcements happen all the time and this toy or that set of cups got through with too much lead from another country. I'd do it again.

well my little one is now 17 months old she never had blood drawn to check for anemia but she did get her finger poked one time to check for led. i wouldnt think its a big deal if u dont think its something u want done just tell them no you dont have to have it done. good luck hope all goes well

My daughter is 2 and 3 months, we live in an 1890 home, we see Dr. Ettner, and she's never had a blood test. I was on blood thinners during my pregnancy, getting draws all the time, and when they were drawing on babies and toddlers, it was truly horrible. If this is just a finger prick, it probably won't hurt to do, but if it's a vein draw, unless your doctor genuinely suspects there's a problem, I wouldn't do it.

My pediatrician does a finger prick at almost every yearly physical until they were 3 or 4.It is similar to when diabetics check their blood sugar by pricking their finger with a lancet. My office tells me their Hemoglobin before I even leave the office. My kids have always been healthy and it is just their routine. It is a way to catch early signs of childhood leukemias and other problems. My daughter was 3 the last time it was checked and she didn't even cry. I would be hesitant to let my 9-12 month old have an actual blood from a vein if their is no history of problems or a family history of blood disorders.

Hi A.,
I'm getting back to you a little late, but I wanted to share my story with you. I brought my son in for his checkup and same thing, they wanted to draw his blood for this test. They tried both arms, one twice. When they were not successful after 3 attempts and him screaming, I told them to stop. They then told me to take him to a diagnostics facility for the test. I never did, and he is fine. You have to consent to all tests, so you have every right to refuse this one if you wanted.
Good luck.

I didn't read all the responses, so sorry if this is a repeat. I have a hard time with this. With my oldest daughter they did a vein draw and it was terible as a mother waching it being done (especially since the stupid tech pulled the needle out and had to prick her twice, but thats another story) anyway... our ped recommended it be done to check for anemia, but also for lead if you live in or visit an older home alot (like if grandma/grandpa watch them every day and live in an older home, etc...)

If my memory serves me correctly, it's not so much a blood draw filling up a tube as it is a prick to draw a dot or two of blood for an in office blood anyalsis. If your child was born in a hospital, a heel stick was most likely done at 24 hours of age. Maybe this will help ease your mind abit. Best wishes!

ADD: I believe that was the last time my children (now 7.5 and 5) had blood drawn.

I have a 21-year-old and 11-year-old and the same pediatrician for the last 21 years -- he is excellent -- and neither one has ever had a routine blood draw. He never felt it was warranted for them. Is there a reason why your little one might be anemic? Symptoms? To me it seems unnecessary if he's healthy, but I'm not the doctor. I would just ask your ped a few more questions before deciding I guess.

I also remember a pin-prick - more like what they do when you donate blood. I don't remember a blood draw for either of my kids.

ETA, after reading the other comments - they did do a blood draw for lead, but that was after the kids were toddling (18 months or so.)

I am pretty sure it is a finger/thumb prick and not a vein draw...why don't you ask. If a finger prick -- no biggie. Vein draw is another thing and USUALLY they don't do that in the doc office on a little one...they send you to the hospital with an order (at least my doc). Why not get the test if it is a finger prick? My son is almost 11 months and they haven't asked to do anything like that for him (yet). I think my daughter had a finger prick at 18 months (hemoglobin test) - she is 26 mos now.

Good luck!

WHen my daughter was 9 months, they did the blood test for anemia and the hemoglobin levels. THe doc said the child can be sick or border line and you don't know until it is on the bad side. The doc I take the kids to, and myself, is open to changing vaccine schedules and don't auotmatically give meds for everything like I have heard others complain about so I totally trust that the test would be needed.

My little one is 14 months old and he has had his vaccinations but no blood draws? Not sure if it is because I breast feed and your little one is on Formula? But maybe there is a reason.

Hi A.,

I'm a pediatric Registered Dietitian, and the 9-12 month blood draw is not just for checking hemoglobin/hematocrit, but also for checking blood lead levels. Chicago has some of the highest incidences of lead poisoning in the country, what with all the old homes, old plumbing, etc. I would definitely have the blood draw performed so his lead levels can be checked, especially if you live in an older home or if he goes to daycare in an older building. I have a 19-month old son, and the blood draws aren't fun, but they're usually over with pretty quickly. He'll shed a few tears but will be fine :)

no you can always refuse shots , blood draws , etc...

They drew blood from both of my childrens fingers when they turned 12 months to test for lead poisioning. It was a HORRIBLE expierence for both, it took what seemed like was forever and was pure torture for them. I tried to tell the Drs I didn't want it done, but I was informed that if they are on state medicare that it had to be done. I don't see any point in it, but you may not have a choice.

ima go with no my daughter was in a month ago for her 9month checkup and they didnt take or give her anything they just said they would see her after she turns one...

I've never heard of this. Unless your son has shown symptoms of anemia or unless it runs in your family, I don't see why the ped would want to do it.

Didn't read all the responses but I think it is an anemia and lead. I was told that they should check for lead even if you live in a newer house just because the area we live in is old that the pipes used could have lead in it. Or may have had lead in it in the past but were replaced. So it could be in the grass and dirt.

They just pricked my little guys finger. He just stared at her when she squeezed on his finger. then fought for the next few minutes to take the bandaid off.

I personally would go for it. You honestly NEVER know for sure unless you do. My second son was low on iron at his 12 month blood draw - but had ZERO signs of it. It honestly can't hurt, and the piece of mind is worth it in my mind. They usually do the lead screen at that time as well, which is doubly worth it. (My personal pedi did a CBC routinely at 12 months - which I really loved!)

I just took my 9 mo. old twins to the doctor's yesterday for shots and he never even mentioned a need to draw blood.


it's just a finger stick, but we skipped it

we never did it. our docs were pretty holistic and looked at her eye lid for signs of anemia...look it up! I nurse so I have more concern about her and iron than you would with a formula fed kid. I cant imagine how a formula fed kid would be iron deficient. I would ask the doctor that if you are concerned. If you do the blood draw you might as well also have them test for vitamin D levels since we all seem to be pretty deficient

it is important. iron deficiencies are very common, which is why baby cereal and formula are fortified. if you child is formula fed, it's not as much of a risk, but the test is done for a reason. different practices do it at different times, but expect another one later on - about a year later, i think. they also typically check for lead exposure with that blood draw, which is also important.

My son had low iron levels also. They just did a prick on his thumb to get the blood. It wasn't too bad. He just took some iron supplement for a few months and then he was fine.

We eat healthy too and 2 or my 3 had low iron levels. Worth checking it out

Okay so I was curious if anyone had come across this before and WOW the answers are so varied it must be a new thing. I have a 6 year old and I was never asked to do this with him. Now with my 10 month old I'm asked to do a "lab work up" CRAZY!!!!! I did it b/c I'll do whatever I can to ensure my son's health and well being but let me say it was very trying. I read the other "finger prick" statements. My little one actually had blood drawn. It was only 1 vial but that was enough for the both of us. He's on target developmentally and physically.......I was wondering later if it had anything to do with family history. Whatever the case I still think its a little out there to request a "healthy" baby have this procedure done.

K., New Jersey

My daughter is 2 and never had her blood drawn, heel prick maybe once but that would be it. If they have to do a regular blood draw through the arm, I've heard it's pretty bad. My dr. said though that she would have to do a real blood draw at age 1 if we lived in an older home to check lead levels, but we live in a new home so we didn't have to do it...

My daughter is 18 months, and we haven't had this. I do remember filling out a questionaire about lead exposure at maybe at the 9 or 12 month visit, but they did not do a blood draw. Doesn't formula have iron in it? I don't know why they'd be worried about anemia, but if it is just a finger prick, I'd probably do it.

Hi A. Your peditrican knows best. With all the virus and other strains going around, I see nothing wrong with doing a blood draw on your 9 month old. It's best to be safe than sorry.

It probably wouldn't hurt to check. My meat loving daughter was borderline anemic. And since they can use the same sample to test for lead, you can get that out of the way. A child can have mild lead poisoning that can cause detrimental mental effects and not show symptoms. Since babies put so much in their mouth. It is hard to know for sure if maybe he got hold of a toy recalled for lead at a sitter's house or nursery,etc.

I have 3 little boys and have never been asked to have blood drawn for anything. Does the Dr. suspect he may be anemic?? If not then why do it?

I just took my son to do the test yesterday...he turned 1 three days before the test. I had it done at a hospital lab and they drew from hid arm....like they would an adults...but used a butterfly needle. I felt so bad for him : ( he had no signs of anemia or lead. The phlebotomist said that they cry more from their arm being held down than the accrual poke.....but I don't believe that....he was screaming with his "I'm hurt" cry. I wish I would have refused the test.....but hindsight......

Every pediatrician has a different schedule as to when they do blood level checks and stuff like that. They should have given you a print out of what their schedule is like and at what ages they tyically do vaccines (at least mine did w/ my 2 year old and my 1 year old).

BOTH of my kids had their hemoglobin and lead levels checked at 9 months. It is a VERY VERY simple prick of the finger at the end of the exam and you get the results back before you can even get your kid dressed again.

I know that every kid reacts to procedures differently, but both of my little ones cried for about 10 seconds and then were fine before the nurse had the band-aid on their finger. It's really not a big deal and it's just to aid in the detection of a problem and give some peace of mind.

Good luck!

We didn't do anything like this, and my daughter is a much smaller eater.
If you think there's something going on, then the anemic check is just another blood test to be done. But otherwise, it's a procedure you can opt out of.

I have never had a ped. ask me that before. If there are no other reason for the blood test or indication for it, I wouldn't do it. It will cause the little guy pain. I believe if it is completely necessary, then fine, but just routine? I wouldn't. Good Luck!

It was just a finger poke for my daughter & at the age they did it the nerve endings aren't even developed yet so she didn't even feel anything.

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