Weak… my child has anemia

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Image by clotho98 via Flickr

I just found out my daughter is anemic. This sucks. Okay, it is only mild anemia (10.1 where normal is 11 and 10.5 is considered on the low end of ‘normal’). Worst is she probably got it from me, I mean I was anemic through pregnancy and try as I might to correct it I kept being slightly bellow optimum. Actually at the hospital when I was ready to deliver they said my level was 11, so perhaps I just got there, in the end but all through the pregnancy it was a bit dodgy.

So here I am, having studied Nutrition, with a Naturopath for a dad and with an anemic daughter. It is pretty serious stuff in kids, too, or it can be so you gotta watch out if you think your kid is at risk.

I am already looking out to make sure I/we get enough protein, vitamin D, water, I avoid all the stuff either of us in sensitive to (which includes dairy, gluten, eggs and soy!) and now I got to build iron back in, re-doubled. I love people who just eat naturally, in both senses: from nature and intuitively, without over-thinking it. Yet for me it is clearly not to be.

The first thing anyone says if I say Anya is anemic is ‘give her beef’. Okay… first, beef has less iron in it than red beans according to the shiny new sheet I have from our pediatrician. But I know, though one can do it without meat by eating plenty of green veg and legumes the question is am I doing it? The answer so far is no. It is hard to eat a super green, alkalising diet with plenty of raw foods, water and whole grains when I am at home chasing after a wanna-be-toddler (ie she wants to toddle but is more at the crawling stage for now). I am beat by the end of the day with little energy to prepare super foods.

All veteran mums give the same tip: cook batches both for you and the baby, live on leftovers essentially. Yet even this takes great organisation and commitment and I am still working my way up to doing it all the time. I have salads or grains and greens for lunch, usually (with seeds and beans tossed in for protein and some yummy oils for good fats). For dinner we do quite well, too… but often I am tired and go for the easy route. Today I had chips and a veggie burger with salad. That probably happens once a week or so (not necessarily this meal, but something equally lazy). Anya often eats roughly what I eat, although she always has iron-fortified cereal in the morning, then I’ll often give her some of whatever grain I am doing mixed in with some veg like squash or peas. She also has avocados, sweet potatoes and the like.

Man, this is tough. Not rocket-science-tough, more daily-trek-up-the-mountain-to-get-water-tough… but without the hardship or the poverty. Hmm…

For now Anya is on an iron supplement. I put her on that (well, technically the doctor did) while I investigate other options, as I don’t at all like the ingredients in this. Gonna find a kid-friendly naturally derived one (probably something like Floradix) and look at the green food supplements again.

I am a bit frustrated with it all and I was quite shaken by it (when I started reading and reminding myself of possible consequences and worst case scenarios) but hopefully this will serve as a gentle reminder to stay green and clean, to have fun with food while keeping it light and natural. Phew…

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8 thoughts on “Weak… my child has anemia

    • Not a dumb question at all. Yes there kind of were so at some level I was not surprised she was anemic, at all. I think the thing was I had forgotten somehow how serious it can be for babies, so I didn’t jump at the first thought she could be anemic. The classic signs are: pale skin, weakness, irritability. I did think Anya looked a bit pale, recently – last few weeks, maybe. The weakness is hard to tell in a baby, frankly and the irritability… well… also quite hard to be sure (I mean is it temperament, is it teething, is it a growth spurt, normal frustration, etc.) So in this case, yes, mostly just pale skin.

      But I didn’t go in and ask for a test; our pediatrician routinely does one at 9 months – lucky for us, since many doctors don’t do it until babies are 12 months or even older. Good thing they caught it now, that part is very good :)

      And it really only generally affects kids who were born premature (and therefore did not lay down proper iron stores) and children of mums who were anemic during pregnancy – so most people need not worry about this. Blah…! But hey, as I say, if this is Anya when she is anemic what will she be like when she is full power? Even more full of beans and joy?!

  1. That’s a bummer. I was anemic my whole life and I’m worried that my son “The little Mr. three year old” might be. How did you find out? Any alarming signs? I didn’t know they would be diagnosed at such an early age?

    • Hey there, funnily enough I just answered that in my reply above, but to recap: there weren’t really any big signs, just a feeling that she looked a bit oddly pale… but even that didn’t really set off alarm bells for me (though the word anemia did cross my mind, so I guess it should have!). I only found out ‘cos the pediatrician did a routine iron count. Our doctor does it at 9 months. I think that is actually unusual – usually they do it at one year of age, if at all, but if you are concerned ask your doctor to do one. It is a simple pin prick of the finger and that is it, from your kid’s point of view. Did you read the Dr Sears link I embeded in the article? If not, do – it is a good’un.

      Hope your little’un turns out to be okay. Take care of yourself, too. Hugs,
      Gauri
      xx

  2. Dr. Leah at singlemommyhood.com turned me onto your blog. I’m a Bay Area Mom, too! And boy, do your posts remind me of those earlier days… When my daughter was a baby and through preschool, I’d never had so many colds!! It just seemed like those germs kept getting me. It DOES get better!!

    And in between all the stress of becoming a single mom, etc….my baby was diagnosed with failure to thrive. She wasn’t gaining weight. But like you, I got proactive, I enlisted girlfriends to help, I started to cook meals with friends… and within a month, all was looking brighter. Yeah! Big hug to you.

    • Hey there and welcome!

      Great to hear you turned your daughter’s diagnosis around with love and perseverance – heartwarming!!

      Great to connect with another Bay Area mom. Stay cool,
      Gauri
      xx

  3. Pingback: Green foods for the win – good news on the anemia front « The Blessing Tree

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