ZocdocAnswersCan anemia be dangerous for a newborn?

Question

Can anemia be dangerous for a newborn?

My sister just had a kid and she isn't the most responsible person in the world. Doctor told her her son is anemic. Is this life-threatening? What should I do to help my new nephew?

Answer

All newborn babies develop some degree of anemia. This is because, once out of the womb, it still takes quite a while for all of the baby's body systems to come on line fully. This includes the bone marrow, which is involved in the manufacture of red blood cells. Sometimes, the anemia can be more severe, if there was a problem with the birth or if antibodies from the mother react with the baby's blood cells. These are all things, however, that your nephew's pediatrician is, I am sure, thinking of and working on. Often, babies who breastfeed need iron supplementation. This is because breastmilk does not have very much iron in it. Therefore, most pediatricians would give a liquid vitamin supplement to breastfeeding babies. For babies who take mostly formula there is no problem, as formula has large amounts of added iron in it. The most important thing your sister can do is continue to see her child's pediatrician. In the first year of life, the child will see the pediatrician ever 2 months or so, which should be sufficiently frequent enough to work on this problem and to make sure that the child continues to grow well.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.