A prospective study of iron status in exclusively breastfed term infants up to 6 months of age

Shashi Raj, Mma Faridi, Usha Rusia and Om Singh

International Breastfeeding Journal 2008, 3:3

Abstract (provisional)

Can exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age maintain optimum iron status in term babies? We evaluated iron status of exclusively breastfed term infants in relation to breast milk iron and lactoferrin.

In this prospective study in Delhi, India, during the period 2003-2004, normally delivered babies of non-anemic [(Hemoglobin (Hb) greater than or equal to 11 g/dl, n = 68] and anemic (Hb 7 – 10.9 g/dl, n = 61) mothers were followed until 6 months of age. Iron parameters were measured in the cord blood at 14 weeks and 6 months. Breast milk iron and lactoferrin were measured at the same intervals.

Iron parameters in babies of both groups were within normal limits at birth, 14 weeks and 6 months. Mean breast milk iron and lactoferrin in non-anemic (day 1: 0.89, 6 months: 0.26 mg/l; day 1: 12.02, 6 months: 5.85 mg/ml) and anemic mothers (day 1: 0.86, 6 months: 0.27 mg/l; day 1: 12.91, 6 months: 6.37 mg/ml) were not different on day one or at other times. No relationship was found between breast milk iron, lactoferrin and iron status of the babies.

Exclusively breastfed infants of non-anemic and anemic mothers did not develop iron deficiency or iron deficiency anemia by six months of age.

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