1. The iron endowment of the newborn is proportional to the initial hemoglobin mass. This in turn depends upon the birth weight and initial hemoglobin level. The presence of low birth weight or decreased hemoglobin level in the first few days of life may identify infants with special iron requirements during the first 18 months of life.
2. It is recommended that the diet of normal term infants provide 1.0 mg/kg/day of iron by 3 months of age to a maximum intake of 15 mg/day. This requirement can be easily met by inclusion in the diet of appropriate amounts of foods which have been enriched with iron, such as infant cereals or milk formulas.
3. Infants with low birth weight and others with reduced iron endowment require as much as 2.0 mg of iron per kilogram per day beginning by 2 months of age. This amount of iron will not ordinarily be provided by the diet, even if iron-supplemented cereals are given. Attainment of these larger amounts requires the use of medicinal iron or iron-supplemented milk formula.
4. Attention should be directed to providing a variety of iron-enriched dietary staples to be used routinely for feeding American infants during the period of life from 3 to 18 months of age and to more precisely determining the best form of iron supplementation. At the present time iron fortified baby cereals and milk formulas are the iron supplemented foods most generally available. These are not utilized by the segments of the American population which have the greatest need for them.
- Copyright © 1969 by the American Academy of Pediatrics