Iron and the exclusively breast-fed infant from birth to six months

Burris Duncan, Ron B. Schifman, James J. Corrigan, Catherine Schaefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


This study was designed to determine whether normal, full-term, exclusively breast-fed infants develop iron deficiency anemia, as defined by hemoglobin or red blood cell indices more than two standard deviations below the age-specific mean, or depletion of iron stores, as defined by an abnormally low serum ferritin level. Thirty-three breast-fed infants were followed from birth to 6 months. Maternal blood and cord blood at delivery, and venous blood from the infants at 2, 4, and 6 months were analyzed for anemia as defined above. At 6 months of age, the mean hemoglobin concentration of these infants was slightly higher than the normal mean; four of 33 infants (12%) had a mean corpuscular volume >2 SD below the reported normal mean; and two of 33 infants (6%) had a serum ferritin level <12 ng protein/ml. These data suggest that the infant who is exclusively breast-fed for the first 6 months of life is not at high risk for the development of iron deficiency anemia or the depletion of iron stores during that time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-425
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1985


  • Breast-Feeding
  • Ferritin level
  • Hemoglobin
  • Iron deficiency anemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology


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