Do Breastfeeding Babies Need Extra Iron at 4 Months?

Susan Burger, MHS, PhD, IBCLC

Should exclusively breastfed babies be routinely supplemented with extra iron? Yes, according to the Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in its recently issued Clinical Report. It justifies this recommendation by citing its “concerns that iron deficiency anemia and iron deficiency without anemia can have long-lasting detrimental effects on neurodevelopment.”

As a mother myself and as someone who worked for many years on large-scale public health nutrition programs for mothers and children in developing areas, I certainly want the AAP to fully investigate and make solid recommendations about the potential impact of iron deficiency on cognitive development.