We’re still learning about the specifics of nutrition — like how much of what each person really needs at any particular time. So nutrition recommendations change over time. Dr. Tom Hale in his Medications and More newsletter (June 2008) talks about new research that questions earlier recommendations that little babies need iron supplements. He talks about a study that found 10-year-olds that were fed formula high in iron as babies scored 11 points lower on an IQ test than their low-iron formula peers. He concludes:
All this data suggests, as we all know, that human milk continues to be the most perfect nutrition for a human infant. Everything we may have formerly deemed ‘deficient’ (such as iron) now seems to be just perfect. So do we need to supplement breastfed infants with oral iron? the answer is probably yes, but only premature infants who may not have the hepatic stores of iron. Do we need to supplement term infants? Probably not, unless they have documented iron deficiency anemia.