Last update: Sept. 28, 2015

Iron Salts

Very Low Risk for breastfeeding

Safe. Compatible.
Not risky for breastfeeding or infant.

Several ferrous salts of iron (ascorbate, aspartate, citrate, chloride, fumarate, gluconate, lactate, oxalate, succinate, sulfate, glycine sulfate, etc.) are used in oral administration for treating or preventing iron deficiency anemia.
Its molecular weight varies from 170 for the fumarate and succinate, and from 280 for lactate and sulfate to 400 for aspartate and ascorbate.

Characteristics of iron metabolism in the body make unlikely that it would be excreted in a significant amount into breast milk.
It is a medication used for treatment of Neonatal Anemia in premature babies.
Iron is excreted in small amounts in human milk, usually being enough for covering the daily needs of infants due to its high bioavailability.

There is no correlation between mother's daily intake of iron and its concentration in breast milk.
Iron supplementation to the mother does not increase levels of iron in breast milk or infant plasma significantly. Excessive supplementation can reduce the zinc concentration in milk.

WHO List of Essential Medicines 2002: compatible with breastfeeding.


We do not have alternatives for Iron Salts since it is relatively safe.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.


Iron Salts belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Iron Salts in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Bioavailability 5 - 20 %
Molecular weight de 170 a 406 según sal ferrosa daltons
T1/2 6 hours


  1. AEMPS. Sulfato ferroso. Ficha técnica. 2015 Full text (in our servers)
  2. Ares Segura S, Arena Ansótegui J, Díaz-Gómez NM; en representación del Comité de Lactancia Materna de la Asociación Española de Pediatría. La importancia de la nutrición materna durante la lactancia, ¿necesitan las madres lactantes suplementos nutricionales? [The importance of maternal nutrition during breastfeeding: Do breastfeeding mothers need nutritional supplements?] An Pediatr (Barc). 2015 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  3. Sheikh M, Hantoushzadeh S, Shariat M, Farahani Z, Ebrahiminasab O. The efficacy of early iron supplementation on postpartum depression, a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Nutr. 2015 Abstract
  4. Mello-Neto J, Rondó PH, Oshiiwa M, Morgano MA, Zacari CZ, dos Santos ML. Iron supplementation in pregnancy and breastfeeding and iron, copper and zinc status of lactating women from a human milk bank. J Trop Pediatr. 2013 Abstract
  5. MHRA. Ferrous Sulfate. Drug Summary. 2011 Full text (in our servers)
  6. Hannan MA, Faraji B, Tanguma J, Longoria N, Rodriguez RC. Maternal milk concentration of zinc, iron, selenium, and iodine and its relationship to dietary intakes. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2009 Abstract
  7. Yalçin SS, Baykan A, Yurdakök K, Yalçin S, Gücüş AI. The factors that affect milk-to-serum ratio for iron during early lactation. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2009 Abstract
  8. Breymann C, von Seefried B, Stahel M, Geisser P, Canclini C. Milk iron content in breast-feeding mothers after administration of intravenous iron sucrose complex. J Perinat Med. 2007 Abstract
  9. Baykan A, Yalçin SS, Yurdakök K. Does maternal iron supplementation during the lactation period affect iron status of exclusively breast-fed infants? Turk J Pediatr. 2006 Abstract
  10. Haidar J, Umeta M, Kogi-Makau W. Effect of iron supplementation on serum zinc status of lactating women in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. East Afr Med J. 2005 Abstract
  11. WHO / UNICEF. BREASTFEEDING AND MATERNAL MEDICATION Recommendations for Drugs in the Eleventh WHO Model List of Essential Drugs. Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (WHO/UNICEF) 2002 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  12. Ortega RM, López-Sobaler AM, Andrés P, Martínez RM, Quintas ME. [Supplementation with iron and folates during gestation: influence on the zinc status in the mother and on the zinc content in the maternal milk]. Med Clin (Barc). 1998 Abstract
  13. Doran L, Evers S. Energy and nutrient inadequacies in the diets of low-income women who breast-feed. J Am Diet Assoc. 1997 Abstract

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