12 answers

Low Hemoglobin

My one-year old has been having low hemoglobin for five months now. She's been taking iron supplements and her iron level improved (12.5) at 9 months, but today at her 12-month's check-up we learned that it is again at 10.7. We are switching from iron-fortified formula to cow's milk and I can see that will throw off our hemoglobin level even more. Any dietary suggestions to raise the iron level in a picky eater? Flaxseed oil? Fish oil? Anything else? Thank you in advance.

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When I was little I remember my mother giving me delicious, soft slices of what she called only "braunschweiger" and I really loved it. I later learned what it actually was and immediately stopped eating it...and learned to forgive my parents for feeding it to me. Braunschweiger is high in iron because it is made from liver.

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Try adding more vitamin C to her diet. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron - often people with low iron are not getting enough vitamin C. Also - try a plant based iron formula or different type of iron supplement. Not all supplements are created equal or are beneficial to each person.

Sounds kind of odd, but my iron was low with one of my children, and my doctor told me I could get some iron from cooking in a cast iron pan.

Check with your doctor first, but my doctor had my twins on Poly-vi-sol with Iron. It is multivitamin supplement drops. you can find it at Walgreens, or even cheaper at Target.
Good luck!


Hi E.,

There are different vitamins out there, some the iron gets into the system better than others. My mother-in-laws hemoglobin was low and she got it back up when she took the vitamins my company makes. Melaleuca does have a chewable children's version. Feel free to contact me offline for more information.
blessings and health,

Hi E.! Dark green vegetables. Spinach, broccoli, chard, etc. I usually take one or two packages of frozen chopped spinach, defrost it, wring it out thoroughly and then stir it into any kind of casserole, soup or sauce, even dab it on pizza. It really isn't noticeable. Usually I don't cook the spinach first, figuring it cooks enough after it's added to whatever, because I don't want to cook away the iron & vitamins, but you have to judge that based on what you're preparing. (The other benefit is that the spinach is a good, inexpensive extender of your dish!)

Good luck! L.

Did the doctor give any explantion why her levels are low?

When I was little I remember my mother giving me delicious, soft slices of what she called only "braunschweiger" and I really loved it. I later learned what it actually was and immediately stopped eating it...and learned to forgive my parents for feeding it to me. Braunschweiger is high in iron because it is made from liver.

I was told my daughter's iron level was borderline at her 12 month visit, so I made the decision not to switch to cow's milk right away. We instead switched to the next step formula (Target makes a generic now if price is a consideration for you). I just wasn't comfortable taking away any good source of iron knowing she was borderline.

All dairy can lower iron if a child is consuming too much. Limit the dairy to 2 servings a day. 1 serving is 8oz milk, 1 oz cheese, 8oz yogurt.

The only way to increase iron is to eat it or take an iron supplement. Increaseing oils won't help because they don't contain iron. Your doctor probably feels 10.7 isn't low enough to use a vitamin and that increasing iron rich foods should do it.

Iron rich foods: all meats (chicken, fish, beef, pork, goat, deer, lamd, any kind of animal), beans, eggs, iron fortified cereal, dark green veggies (spinach, brocoli), prune juice

The iron from meats (heme-iron) is the kind your body obsorbs best, but many young children have a hard time eating them. Offering a vitamin-C food with the iron food helps increase obsorbtion (split pea soup w/ham, tomatoe based chili w/beans, dry cereal w/berries).

I was just told the same thing about myself today which is unusual for me.

I'm pregnant and my doctor told me to just eat some creme of wheat and that would be enough. I know with sugar and milk my dauhgter loves to eat that you can try that.

Kidney beans - go ahead and rinse and serve them right from the can.
Blackstrap Molasses ~ make gingerbread or pour into her cereal. (My daughter likes it on grapefruit.)
Beef ~ ground beef tossed with some noodles may entice her.
Liver - I don't like it but she might... :o)

Surprisingly, chicken builds blood and may have a positive effect on hemoglobin as well.

Don't worry about her not liking these foods, she may devour them! When kids need something as badly as iron, they will crave the foods that will give it to them.

hi E.,
my 3 year old is low iron as well, its a constant struggle. as everyone has said, meat is best absorbed source of iron, vitamin c increases absorption, and i think it is the calcium in dairy that hinders absorption. one food item nobody has mentioned is tofu. i know for non-veggies it might be a bit scary to try, but it is really easy to use. i dice it up and throw it in a noodle soup package, toss it with olive oil and bake it, saute it with whatever your child will eat, make a homemade spaghetti sauce and use soft tofu pureed into it. tofu is an amazing food source and takes on the flavor of what you cook it with. you can also use soft tofu to make smoothies. always get soft or silken tofu if you plan on pureeing, other wise use the dense firm tofu for baking/sauteing. I also give my son his iron drops in a cup of oj, cuts the disgusting taste a bit and helps absorption! Good luck...

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