When Hannah was being treated in the hospital for her pneumonia a month and a half ago, the pediatrician took a sample of her blood for testing too. The results showed that her red blood cells were a little bit on the pinkish (i.e. not red as they should be) and also slightly smaller than usual. Further tests showed a decreased level of Serum Ferritin (iron) in the blood (only 10ug/dl when the acceptable range is 37-145ug/dl for females).
Hannah’s test results indicated either a Thalassemic condition or iron-deficiency anemia.
Her doctor asked if either Pete or I had any history of Thalassemia, but since we are both blood donors, it is highly unlikely that we are Thalassemic or even carriers. So it became apparent that Hannah was most probably deficient in iron. This could happen because she is exclusively breastfed, and might not have sufficient iron in her solid food intake. Exclusively breastfed babies receive sufficient iron from their mother’s breastmilk from birth till about 6 months of age, after which the iron levels in the milk could drop a little; and if other food sources do not provide adequate amounts of iron in the diet, the child might be deficient in iron. (Source: Ask Dr Sears)
Because iron-deficiency in toddlers/infants from birth till 3 years needs to be addressed immediately, Hannah’s pediatrician prescribed an oral iron therapy solution to be taken for 3 months. Hannah was to take 2.5ml of Maltofer twice a day for 3 months, after which her iron levels will be retested. In addition, doc also prescribed a Multivitamin syrup to improve her appetite.
It has been 1.5 months now, and I have to say it’s really working. Hannah, whom we thought was already very active pre-iron-therapy treatment, is now MORE active and MORE vocal than ever. Her appetite has increased by leaps and bounds and she loves trying different types of food. We’ve also been giving her lots of iron-rich foods like chicken liver, beef, pasta, tomatoes, bread, etc just to boost the iron levels.
I thank God that feeding her the iron therapy and multivitamin is not stressful, because she is very cooperative and I simply use the syringes to administer both the iron and multivitamin. Plus, because she is on an iron supplement, it is important for her to drink lots of water to prevent constipation, and Hannah has also been a very good girl in gulping down water.
I can’t wait for the iron therapy to end and the test results to show a favorable level of iron in Hannah’s blood come the end of three months. Meanwhile we’ll have to deal with *slightly more pungent* poopoo for a few more weeks! 😛