The Baby Checkup Report Card and Infant Cereal Surprise

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This post is sponsored by Gerber, but our experiences with their baby cereal are all our own!

I read somewhere that once you become a parent you look at your kid’s check-ups with their pediatrician as your report card. Your subjects?

1st Period- Weight gain
2nd Period- height
3rd- Head circumference
4th- Development milestones
5th- Sleeping and nap routines and schedules
6th- Eating habits
7th- Mystery curve ball pop quiz you had no idea was coming
I’m someone who always tried hard in school, so you can imagine my anxiety levels when charts come out and the doctor lets me know where we stand. We’ve been lucky that Mack has been right on track to over-achieving in growth and milestones, but I realized pretty quickly that sometimes there are pieces of development out of parents’ control and what a stress that must be to have a baby you’re doing your best with and still needs extra attention in certain areas.
Let’s talk about the curve ball that came at the 9 month appointment. The nurse came in with a needle letting me know they would be drawing blood for an iron check. My poor kid screamed at the unexpected prick, and I sat nervous that I had missed something I should have known as a new parent.
Good news, it came back above healthy (phew), and I could shake the I-forgot-my-locker-combo stress during 7th period anxiety I had been feeling.
I did tell the doctor I had no idea that’s something that often lacks for infants/toddlers making the solids transition, and he let me know it definitely is! He told me not to stress too much because the small amount of solids he was eating seemed to be the right ones full of iron. So I thought about it for a minute, as someone with anemia who has had to pay attention to iron-rich foods in the past, and realized there were two major things that helped us get through that pop quiz.

1. I share some of my green smoothie almost every morning. I add a lot of spinach, and when he’s up to eating them (which is daily now, but wasn’t always when he was younger) he gets a lot of natural iron. Phew, glad I had that habit going somewhat regularly!

2. We used Gerber cereals fortified with iron. I admit I put off solids as long as we could, and I kind of wish we would have dove in a little sooner. Mack had terrible reflux, and was on a prescription for the first few months of his life. One doctor we saw told me a little infant cereal may make a huge difference, and I ignored that. The moment he started some rice cereal in his diet we started seeing instant improvement! The days we skipped out there was more spit-up and pain again. I made sure to add a little to any puree he ate, and tried to mix some with milk often too. It consistently helped us, which I know may not work for everyone, and I felt lucky it did! Little did I realize it’s a developmental time when extra iron is needed, and I was helping him fulfill that need too! Two servings a day gives baby 90% of their daily iron needs. And with my metabolism baby, that was easy to make happen! After rice went so well, we added some other varieties, and were impressed with the different cereal options Gerber offers!

That was my biggest surprise! Luckily the 12 month checkup we just had a flu shot option as the surprise pop-quiz, and we’ve had shots before, so I felt a little more prepared for that curve ball!

If you’re at the eating solids phase definitely check out Gerber cereals, they are easy to find in the baby aisle at Walmart. And they are a great addition to baby’s diet when the time comes for solids!

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