5. Followup formulas (artificial milk for infants over 6 months of age) are specially adapted to the needs of infants 6 to 12 months of age.
Not true. They are completely unnecessary and are specially adapted to the needs of the formula companies profit margins. They also are part of a marketing strategy which tries to get around restrictions on the advertising of artificial baby milks directly to the public (widely disregarded in any case). In Europe now, there are special formulas available for the toddler (1-3 years of age). Some people will buy anything, it seems. But these toddler formulas will soon be here. You can bet on it. Bottom line über alles.
6. The breastfed baby 4 months of age needs to be getting more iron than can be provided by breastmilk alone.
Not true. For the baby the baby born at term who is breastfeeding exclusively, all the iron required is provided by breastmilk. However, by 6 months of age, more or less, it is prudent for the baby to begin getting more iron than that provided by breastmilk alone.
7. The best way to assure the babys getting enough iron is to give him infant cereals.
Not true. Infant cereals do contain a lot of iron, but most of it is not absorbed, and this amount of iron seems to cause constipation in some babies. Furthermore, some breastfed babies who have had only breastmilk to 5 or 6 months of age do not like cereal. There is nothing wrong with infant cereal, but pushing this food on reluctant babies may result in later feeding problems. The best way to assure the baby is getting enough iron is to continue breastfeeding, and introduce solid foods in a relaxed, enjoyable way at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the baby is showing interest in eating by reaching out for and trying to eat food the parents or other members of the family are eating. This occurs usually about 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 months of age. A baby this age can eat what the parents eat, with few exceptions. There is no need to be obsessive about the order in which foods are introduced, or trying to keep the baby eating only one food/week. The best source of extra iron for the 6 to 12 month old baby is meat, the iron of which is very well absorbed. Start feeding the baby solids in a way that makes eating enjoyable, and the baby will eat iron containing foods just fine.
by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC