What Baby’s Eating at 9 Months (Hint: Not Enough Iron)

What Baby's Eating at 9 Months Old (Hint: Not Enough Iron) | reflectivemama.comMy goal for this post was to write about what Baby was eating at 9 months old. It had been a very slow moving journey to get Baby to eat solid foods. We started with cereals and veggie purees when he was six months old, but could only get him to happily eat cookies and rice rusks and puffs.

I spent three months tricking Baby into opening his mouth so that I could spoon in some mush (or gruel, as my husband calls it), only to scrape it off of his chin and try again after he spit it out. I tried to convince him that it would be easier on all of us if he didn’t need to eat the same bite eight times, but he politely disagreed. Sometimes not so politely. Who knew babies loved to spit?

At long last, and seemingly overnight, Baby pulled a 180. He suddenly decided that eating solid food was actually a good thing. Just shy of nine months old, his eyes began to light up when he saw the spoon. Smiling, he would open his mouth wide, ready for a big scoop. Baby still wasn’t the biggest fan of cereal, but, for the sake of its fortified iron, I mixed it with his beloved vanilla yogurt, which helped sneak it past his very discerning palate.

Excited about this new change of events, I wanted to write about all of the new foods Baby was finally enjoying to spread some hope to other mamas out there with reluctant eaters. We were up to three meals a day, having added in lunch after Baby discovered that solids were our friend. He still wouldn’t eat a lot at any given meal, but he was excited to eat whatever amount he saw fit. When he was done, he would push his head back into his high chair, turn away, and or push the spoon away with his hand.

Baby was eating a variety of organic pureed fruits and veggies (favorite combinations: Apple/Blueberry/Banana and Banana/Plum combinations), Earth’s Best Organic Whole Grain Apple Sweet Potato Mixed Grain Cereal, Annie’s Homegrown Whole Wheat Bunnies Baked Snack Crackers, and Stonyfield Organic YoBaby Vanilla Whole Milk Yogurt. Happy Puffs and Mum-Mums were also still in the mix. They were great appetizers and baby occupiers while I’d get the rest of his food ready, clean up, or try to eat a few bites myself. The list might have been even longer, but we were still waiting three days between introducing new foods as an allergy precaution.

Alas, before I could finish the post, we headed out to Baby’s nine month old check up with his pediatrician. His new stats? 20 pounds, 28 1/2 inches, and iron deficient. Correction: really iron deficient.

Until only a few weeks before his checkup, Baby had subsisted almost entirely on breast milk. Only in the previous week had he started eating iron-rich cereal (laced with yogurt) for both breakfast and dinner. Unfortunately, I learned that the yogurt was acting as an iron blocker, so eating the two together was a bad combination. Baby’s newfound love of food came a little too late for his red blood cells to catch up.

Baby’s pediatrician prescribed Fer-In-Sol, an iron supplement made by Enfamil, to be taken three times a day for the next three months. Before we left, we made another appointment to come back and check his iron levels again in a month. Regardless of those results, she wanted him to receive supplements until he’s at least 12 months old to build up his iron stores.

She also gave me a list of iron rich foods for both Baby and me to indulge in, which included meat, poultry, fish, oatmeal and breakfast cereal, beans, peas, and lentils, nuts and nut butters (pine, walnuts, peanuts, cashews), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cooked spinach, eggs, and other iron fortified foods. I also learned that eating iron rich foods with foods containing vitamin C would help increase iron absorption in the body.

On the way home, we stopped at Walgreens to pick up the Fer-In-Sol iron drops. Unfortunately, they did not carry the supplement. I called Buy Buy Baby, but they didn’t have it in stock either. Heading online, Enfamil’s website told me that no stores carried it within a 10 mile radius of my house. Grateful for Amazon, I ordered two bottles online, which arrived a few days later.

By the time I made it to my computer, I no longer felt like I should the be one giving advice on encouraging nine month olds to eat. Resisting a wave of guilt and the urge to Google, I decided to just follow the doctor’s orders, feed Baby the supplement, and bulk both of us up with iron rich foods. Baby started to enjoy a new tasty treat of his own: Multigrain Cheerios, which had the highest levels of fortified iron I could find (45% of daily values).

Just another adventure in Mommyland. At first I felt worried and scared, but it wasn’t full on panic inducing. Low iron levels are manageable, and something that we can easily treat in multiple ways (Baby’s diet, my diet, and supplements). Other than the iron deficiency, he thankfully received a clean bill of health. Onward and upward.

Was your baby tested for an iron deficiency at nine months? Have you ever been surprised by your child’s test results or growth stats at a routine check up?


8 thoughts on “What Baby’s Eating at 9 Months (Hint: Not Enough Iron)

  1. [email protected]

    Oh my gosh your baby is so cute! I have had eaters just like your little person and had to do the fiber supplements as well. My 1 year old right now weighs 18 pounds, but she eats like a maniac!
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    1. farrahudell Post author

      Thank you! I think he’s a pretty good looking little guy, too. ;) It’s always wonderful to hear that I’m not alone!

  2. Rebecca

    I hate the guilt that comes with finding out something you didn’t know you were doing “wrong.” Really though, how would you have known!? Your little guy is adorable and to be honest, it took me a while to get Dylan to eat solid foods. I didn’t realize how soon they can eat solid foods so he was on a milk diet for a while. I was so scared to give him food, everything was a choking hazard to me. So to me, you’re doing better than I was!
    Rebecca recently posted…All Things Dylan, All Things CrazyMy Profile

  3. Madaline

    This is really interesting. I live in Italy (I am American my husband Italian) and in Italy they baby meal “plan” is extremely (extremely) strict and precise. It’s 100% different then in the USA. I don’t think my daughter ever got tested for iron, however, at nine months the Italian diet was pureed fruit (specific fruits that I can’t remember) with special fortified cereal, lunch and dinner were meat/ pureed specific veggies (onions, potato, spinach, and specific other veggies for each month)/ and fruit. Plus two bottles (I did breast feed but they want this special milk which is basically vitamins either in a cup or bottle) a day.

    I suppose my point is I don’t think the USA dr’s (I do visit a pedi here in America when I visit) help mothers enough with baby nutrition. – our dr. here in America just said keep introducing foods until you find one she’ll take. But I don’t think that’s enough support.
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    1. farrahudell Post author

      That’s so detailed! It sounds really helpful.

      I love our pediatrician, but I have found more food ideas online than in her office. At six months, she wanted him on fortified cereal for breakfast (until he’s 18 months old) and dinner (until he’s 12 months old), and fruit/veggie purees for lunch. We were told to just keep adding new foods, and that by 12 months he should be mostly on finger foods. That was great, except for that Baby refused to eat any of it until he was almost 9 months old! He’s doing much better now and eating a lot more. Of course, some days are better than others.

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