Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Iron Deficiency & Your Child's Sleep

    Until recently I had only heard about iron deficiency in women (due to our menstrual cycles), and had not heard much about how it frequently occurs in children. Obviously I knew it was possible for children to be iron deficient, but I had no idea how common it is and that it often manifests itself with symptoms, as a parent, we wouldn't think are related.
    Some symptoms of iron deficiency are sleeplessness, and chewing on things that are inedible. See the thing is though, babies/toddlers struggle with these two things anyway right (with or without a deficiency)? So when my daughter was having some issues waking up too early, or taking too short of a nap and then putting random things like books or paper in her mouth... I thought oh it's just because she's teething. Come to find out when we went to her doctor's appointment, she actually had a slightly low iron count. The interesting thing is that just a few months prior, they took the same test and her iron count was fine. 
    Since Toddler P's doctor's appointment, I have increased the amount of iron rich foods I give Toddler P. Since I started doing this, I have noticed such a difference in her sleep and that she less frequently chews on things that are inedible. She does still act like a toddler in these things though, so it's not some crazy miracle cure, but the increase in iron definitely has helped!
   Here are some facts about iron deficiency you might not know, and if your child is struggling with sleep or mouthing things that are inedible... consider asking the pediatrician to check your child's iron levels.

  • 1/4 of all infants, worldwide, are iron deficient.
  • Iron deficiency (IDA) can affect sleep patterns, and can cause muscle spasms... causing your child to wake up multiple times in the middle of the night.
  • IDA is linked to cognitive problems, lack of concentration and learning difficulties.
  • IDA can cause your child to crave to eat inedible objects like cardboard, paper, dirt...
  • Vitamin C rich foods help with the absorption of iron, so make sure your child is getting enough of these foods. 
  • Here's a helpful chart of iron rich foods for child:

(Here are the articles that I used for the above information: Sleep & Iron DeficiencyMagnesium & Iron Deficiency).

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