A child who's anemic could suffer permanent mental and physical problems. To highlight the importance of proper nutrition as the best prevention of iron deficiency anemia, we must note that while an iron deficiency can be corrected, the mental and physical impairment is not always reversible. Iron deficiency also makes kids more susceptible to lead poisoning and infection.
Between 9 and 24 months, all children are at high risk for anemia, but these babies are at highest risk:
Premature and low-birth-weight babies age 2 months old and older. Full-term infants are born with iron stores accumulated during the last months in utero. These stores can last four to six months. The iron stores of babies born prematurely may last only about two months.
Babies who drink cow's milk before their first birthday. Cow's milk is low in iron. It also interferes with the body's absorption of iron, and it may replace some iron-rich foods in the diet. Milk can also irritate the lining of a baby's intestine, causing bleeding. This slow loss of blood in the stool – along with low iron intake – can cause anemia.
Breastfed babies who receive no iron-fortified foods after 4 months of age. The iron in breast milk is absorbed three times better than the iron in formula, but around the time a baby starts eating solids, he needs additional iron in the form of fortified cereals and other iron-rich foods.
Full-term, formula-fed babies who aren't given iron-fortified formula. Most baby formula is fortified with iron, however.
You can prevent your baby from developing iron deficiency anemia. Here's how:
Breast-feeding and alcohol don´t mix well. There's no level of alcohol in breast milk that's considered safe for a baby to drink. Evidences show that alcohol can cause serious problems in your child. If you choose to drink, avoid breast-feeding until alcohol has completely cleared your breast milk. This typically takes two to three hours for 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of 5 percent beer, 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of 11 percent wine or 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 40 percent liquor, depending on your body weight. If you plan to drink alcohol, consider having a drink just after breast-feeding so that the alcohol begins to clear your breast milk during the natural interval between breast-feeding sessions. Pumping and dumping breast milk doesn't speed the elimination of alcohol from your body. However, if you'll be missing a breast-feeding session, pumping and dumping will help you maintain your milk supply and avoid engorgement.
Always wash your hands before, read and follow the preparation instructions on the formula label, use opened or prepared formula within the timeframes outlined on the container, ask about any doubt, your pediatrician and formula manufacturer are there to help answer any questions that you may have. Finally, to ensure the quality and safety of the product, only buy reputable formula with all international guarantees.
On the other hand, don't heat your baby’s bottle in the microwave, don’t prepare formula using a blender, don’t use expired formula or formula from a dented container, and don't buy formula from without adequate control stores or flea markets.