I took my daughter her to the pediatrician the other day for year two-year check up. I was shocked to find out that she is slightly anemic. 10-12 is normal; she’s an 8.
This was surprising to me, considering that Kate is the only toddler I know who loves raw oysters (high in iron) and eats them every chance she can get. Still, she eats oysters only occasionally — once a week or once every two weeks. And she never eats liver anymore. I tried giving her some chopped liver the other day and she spit it out.
How Did This Happen?
She ate liver and egg yolks pretty much every day from the time she started solids at 6 months until she was 18 months old. Which is when she started rejecting liver. For a while, I emptied liver capsules into her raw milk formula (which she got until almost 2 years). But after I stopped giving her formula, I also stopped giving her the liver powder, since it doesn’t mix very well in milk.
And I noticed that lately she has been eating less and less at meals. She has been getting pickier about what she will eat and she just doesn’t seem to have the appetite she used to. She was always getting her raw milk, though, so I didn’t worry about it too much.
I talked to my mom about the anemia (she’s a retired nurse) and she said it’s pretty common with toddlers, especially if they drink a lot of milk. She said it’s called “milk anemia”. Many toddlers might not have a problem with milk anemia, even if they are drinking a lot of milk, because they are eating iron-enriched cereal. Which of course we don’t do.
I’m guilty of giving Kate milk whenever she asks for it, and I’ve been giving her 4-ounce bottles of milk at naptime and bedtime. She loves her milk like her mama does. I love raw milk more than anything — well, except for cheese and butter and cream. I didn’t name this blog Cheeseslave for nothing.
It’s also a comfort thing. She always asks for her “bobble”. And I’ll be honest — it isn’t just comforting for her. it’s comforting for me to give her a bottle, because then she’s still my baby.
Big Girl Bed
She renounced her crib a week ago Sunday. She was supposed to be napping. She just climbed out. I heard her singing to herself and the next thing I knew, there was a knocking on the inside of her bedroom door. We dismantled the crib that afternoon, and I bought her a “big girl’s bed” the next day.
She is so proud of herself and her new big girl’s bed. I’m proud of her, too. It is hard to let go of your little ones as they grow and reach new milestones, but that’s the secret challenge of being a parent. It’s all about letting go. One day they’re giving up the bottle and graduating to the big girl bed, the next thing you know they’re graduating from college and getting married. (Don’t tell my husband about that part. He is not prepared.)
So, anyway, we’re saying goodbye to the bottles. I’m packing them away this weekend. No more “bobble” at “night-night” time. She’ll get milk in a sippy cup with meals (whole, raw milk). But when she asks for “nuck” (milk) in between meals, she’s going to get kombucha, coconut water, kefir soda pop, or just plain water.
I think this change alone will solve the problem. We have a check-up scheduled in a month to retest her iron levels. I’ll keep you posted.
Fried Clams: The New Chicken Nuggets
But until we get her levels back up, I’m exploring ways to get more iron into this little girl. This afternoon I went out and bought 3 pounds of fresh clams and made fried clams. Not so different from chicken nuggets — but full of iron.
She ate every last bite — and licked her fingers clean. Five full ounces of clams = a whopping 40 milligrams of iron. Almost a week’s worth of her RDA in just one meal. We’re well on our way.
Click here for my recipe for recipe for fried clams.
For more information on iron deficiency in babies, see Nourished Kitchen’s recent post, Iron Deficiency and the Breastfed Baby.