Too much iron? (8 months)

My 8 month old daughter is on an iron fortified formula, iron fortified cereal, receives a vitamin with iron supplement, and has a normal hemoglobin and hematocrit. Is there a risk of over-supplementation with iron (and vit D)?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Kim,

The American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends iron supplementation from one or more sources for full term infants beginning during the 4th to 6th month. They suggest an iron fortified formula and/or two servings a day or an iron fortified cereal. It is very difficult to reach dangerous levels of vitamin intake via supplemented foods. It would require ingesting quantities of food beyond the capacity of your daughter. Formula and cereals are designed to fit in safely with a baby's normal diet so that iron intoxication is not possible.

Iron poisoning in children occurs mainly among young children who ingest the medicinal iron supplements formulated for adults. The lethal dose of iron for a two year old is approximately 3 grams. Your daughter is only getting milligram amounts from her food and supplements. Even though you are not in danger of an overdose of iron, since your baby is getting plenty of iron from her food, you most likely do not need the vitamin supplement, unless it has been recommended by your pediatrician for a particular reason.

There are some people who are genetically at rick from iron overload as the result of an inborn error of metabolism which leads to enhanced iron absorption. Only a doctor can help you to determine if this is a concern for your daughter. Because her blood levels are normal, it sounds like your daughter is doing fine in the iron nutrition department.

As with iron, it would be difficult for your baby to get too much vitamin D from her formula and supplements. I am assuming that the supplement you are using contains no more than 100% of the RDA for any vitamin.

Thanks for your important question.

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