Iron-fortified formula

Babies younger than 12 month of age who are not breast-fed almost always need iron-fortified formula. The iron in human milk is much more easily absorbed by infants than the iron in cow's milk. Formula-fed babies can become iron-deficient if iron-fortified formulas are not used. Iron deficiency may cause severe complications in babies, such as weakness, abnormal digestion, and permanently reduced learning abilities.

Some caregivers may be hesitant to feed an infant iron-fortified formula because of concern about side effects, such as gas or constipation. But these side effects have not been proved by research, and low-iron formulas are not recommended as a remedy for such symptoms. Although low-iron formulas are widely available, they should only be used in extremely rare situations on the advice of your doctor.

After babies are 6 months old, they should be given iron-fortified cereals along with breast-feeding or bottle-feeding.

Last Updated: April 24, 2009

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