nutrition help for baby (6 months old) with hemoglobin h

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nutrition help for baby (6 months old) with hemoglobin h
« on: November 28, 2010, 09:25:47 PM »
Hello all,

I just found this board yesterday and have been reading through all the forums.  I think it's a wonderful resource.

I was hoping to get some advice on nutrition for my son who is 6 months old and has hemoglobin h.

I know he is supposed to avoid iron, but it seems all baby formula and baby cereals that I see at the store is fortified with iron.

At this age I would like to start introducing him to solids but I'm not sure where to start.
Any advice or your own experience would be greatly appreciated.



Offline Andy Battaglia

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Re: nutrition help for baby (6 months old) with hemoglobin h
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2010, 12:56:41 AM »
Hi Zofie and welcome,

You can get baby formula without iron but you will need a prescription from your doctor. As I always do, I will mention that nothing is superior to mother's milk for many reasons, but specifically important for thals are the immunities passed through mother's milk, so this is always the first choice when possible. When nursing isn't possible, iron-free formula should be used. As far as cereals and other foods, making your own is fairly easy, especially once the baby is used to solid foods. At that point, babies can eat much of what the rest of the family is eating. Just put the foods in a baby food hand grinder. It's easy and also much cheaper than buying commercial baby foods. Up to that point, you can make your own baby foods using foods that are not iron enriched. Search "make your own baby food" and you will finds tons of ideas like at this site, and this site,

You can also give liquid folic acid at this age. It is essential and should be taken for life by thals and especially for alpha thals. It helps to build red blood cells and is essential on a daily basis.

And generally for all moms: My wife made most of the food she fed our kids. It's simple to do, much cheaper and far more wholesome for the babies. I always stress the importance of nutrition for thals because it is one area where they can make a difference in their own lives, and starting babies out as healthy as possible through a nutritious diet can make a real difference during those early years of growth. Think nutrition first with all choices for a baby's diet.

All we are saying is give thals a chance.

Re: nutrition help for baby (6 months old) with hemoglobin h
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2010, 03:49:42 AM »
Thanks for the advice.  I'll send an email to his pediatrician about the prescription for the iron-free formula.
Those two sites you linked are great.  I was a little intimidated about making baby food as I'm not really a great cook, but I think I can manage it now with help from those sites.

I did manage to feed him breast milk as much as I could produce, up until a couple of weeks ago. 
I finally stopped because as a working mom, it was becoming increasingly difficult, and I'm hoping that I did manage to pass on as much of my immunities to him while I could.

His hematologist recently prescribed him folic acid, (1 ml daily), after his latest blood count results came back. 
I have an appointment on Tuesday with her to discuss his latest results.


Offline HbH

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Re: nutrition help for baby (6 months old) with hemoglobin h
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2010, 11:51:14 AM »
Hi there Zofie and welcome to the board!  :)

I myself have alpha thalassemia Hemoglobin H and I will be more than happy to consult with my own mother to see how she managed to care for me as a baby and I will get back to you as soon as possible once I talk with her.

Meanwhile, I definitely agree with Andy's advice about the iron free formula (though make sure the baby is not iron deficient as my doctor has told me that iron deficiency is still possible despite Hemoglobin H causing the body to store more iron than normal).

Also in addition to making baby food, if you have a natural food store like Whole Foods, there is sometimes a greater selection of baby food available that doesn't include all the iron fortifications.

This is definitely something you can ask your doctor about, too.

Re: nutrition help for baby (6 months old) with hemoglobin h
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2010, 06:22:17 AM »
Hi HbH and thank for the warm welcome.
I would be happy to hear about how your mother handled your care when you were young if you would like to share. =D

I did talk with my son's Hematologist and she told me that now that he's off breastmilk she is fine with him taking regular formula with iron during the next 6 months before he's able to drink regular cow's milk.
She told me she was more concerned about him not having enough iron through his first year for brain development and when she weighed out in her mind brain development versus iron accumulation in the blood during this time period, that the brain development won out for her.

She did recommend to me some other foods, such as adult cream of rice, that is not iron fortified instead of the baby cereals that are chock full of them.

She is scheduling some iron studies on his blood and will reevaluate her stance based on the results from that.

I've been having great experiences with making him baby food though, and it is much cheaper and much tastier than baby food jars.


Offline Bostonian_04

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Re: nutrition help for baby (6 months old) with hemoglobin h
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2010, 05:09:57 AM »
Hi Zofie,
your doc is right...for brain development, he needs plenty of iron do not change anything....My daughter is Thal major and her hemo told us to give her every kind of food in moderation to get all the nutrients. With chelation starting after age 2 (if on regular Tx), high iron will be taken care off.
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