I was recently asked a question on “The Vegan Mom” FaceBook page, about feeding a Vegan infant. I am not a doctor, and honestly my family went Vegan when my youngest child was three years old. So, I don’t have much experience in this department. BUT, I plan to have one more child, so I have done lots and LOTS of reading and research on this subject!
This newly Vegan mom was concerned about what she should be feeding her 7 month old daughter, other than breast milk. She is not currently producing enough breast milk to completely nourish her baby. The mom is using formula to supplement her daughter’s diet, and wonders if this is the best thing to be doing for her child. The answer is yes, since babies less than 12 months old need to be drinking breast milk, formula, or both. Vegan parents should be feeding their child the best possible formula, and Vegan health educator “Christina Pirello” claims that “Babies Only Organic” brand formula is the best bet for Vegan infants. It is soy based and free of corn syrup and GMO’s.
After babies turn one, they can stop drinking breast milk or formula (although, many natural health professionals feel that breast feeding your baby until he turns two is best). At this point your child is ready to thrive on a well planned, plant based diet! What does this mean? A variety of fruits, veggies & whole grains! Introduce a colorful mix of organic foods slowly. See what your little one likes and does well with! Try to stay away from white breads, pasta & rice. Buy whole wheat & whole grain versions. Offer sweet potatoes more often than white ones. Also steer clear of too much sugar and processed foods. Feel free to let your little one try some non-dairy milks, such as almond or oat. Soymilk is okay, but make sure it is organic and free from GMO’s. Processed soy products are not recommended in large amounts. Try to stick with “traditional” soy, such as organic tofu, edamame, tempeh & miso.
You may want to add a vitamin supplement to your child’s diet, if you are concerned about the lack of any nutrients. But if your toddler is a good eater, and enjoys a well balanced Vegan diet, the only thing you need to be concerned with is B-12. The bacteria known as B-12 comes from the ground, and humans obtain it through meat, eggs, & other animal bi-products, probably from the dirt the animal ate. Since we wash our veggies so well, we don’t get this vital bacteria from a whole foods, Vegan diet. We must obtain B-12 from fortified foods & beverages or supplements.
Overall, feeding a Vegan baby or toddler is easy & rewarding! It is such a great feeling to know that you are offering your child the best nutrition our planet has to offer! You are setting your child up for a life of optimum health and compassion! People will question you, and even try to persuade you to feed your child animal products, but always stand your ground. Your child will thank you….. some day. 🙂
I love your post and page. I am a vegan mom too.I have a website Vegidea.com and I twitter at 1veganmama. We awesome vegan moms have to support one another
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My coworker’s grandson is a newborn and is having trouble w/all milk including breastmilk. I was wondering what vegan mothers do. I was wondering if there is a rice based formula that’ll help. As far I know they can’t use soy anything as of now. Can you help us?
I do not know of any approved formulas that are not milk or soy based. I will ask my “Vegan Parents” Facebook followers for their advice on this one!
So far all advice is for mom to keep a food journal, because the baby is probably sensitive to something she is eating. ex (soy, peanuts, spices etc..)
The Vegan Mom is absolutely right. My mom breastfed me 50 years ago when it wasn’t popular to do so. There were a lot of foods she loved that came through her breast milk and made me ill: peppers, onions, spices, garlic, cabbage, beans — popular foods in a vegan diet (though she was definitely a meat eater!). My sister had the same problem with her son; the offending products were dairy. Both kept a journal to discover the offending foods. The new mother should absolutely consult the pediatrician — there are also prescription formulas for babies with severe food allergies. We have friends who had to resort to that solution. Wish your co-worker’s family good luck!
I want to switch my daughter over to almond milk. I recently became vegetarian and am attempting vegan by eliminating what I notice and working on the rest as it comes along. Anyways, my only concern about almond milk is that it contains 1g of protein while whole milk contains 8g. I love that almond milk has more calcium and other vitamins than milk, but I’m wondering where she will get that protein from? I do include tofu and beans in her diet but she’s just started eating the tofu so I’m unsure if she likes it or not and beans are not incorporated into every meal. Should I just include beans in her daily diet? What do you suggest?
First off, try not to get too crazy about the whole protein thing. Most Vegans get more than enough protein each day without a problem. I love almond milk! That is what my family drinks. We also get lots of protein from beans, hummus, tofu, tempeh, edamame, quinoa, seitan, nuts, seeds & plant based protein powders. Try to incorporate these foods into her diet & she should be fine in the protein department!!
I honestly suggest you find a really good vegan nutritionist who is very experienced working with babies and young children. You will likely meet some resistance from your pediatrician — and doctors don’t usually get much in the way of nutrition in their training — so unless you have a very special pediatrician, I wouldn’t start there. We don’t want our efforts to do the best thing by our children to inadvertently backfire on us!
Please note that, according to the ingredients, the formula mentioned in this post is likely NOT vegan, as it contains Vitamin D3, which is typically animal-sourced.
I clicked on the link for the Babies Only Organic, and it said it was for babies over one year of age.
Yes, the company says breast is best before 1 year. BUT, moms tell me that their pediatricians have checked out the ingredients & they are fine for infants. Christina Pirello recommends this for infants also. Most importantly, do your research & make the best choice for your child. 🙂
At this time, this is the only “Vegan” formula that I know of. Vegan educator, Christina Pirello recommends it. I do not know for sure where the vitamin D comes from. Obviously breast is best…..
Hi, Just found your page and was hoping for some help. I have a 7 month old baby who was an 8 week premie. Because of being so early, reflux has always been an issue and we have a family history of severe allergy. I breast fed as much as I could but never produced enough, my baby was allergic like I was to milk based formulas, so we are now on prescription amino acid based formula that worlks well. At first my intent was not for her to be vegan, however due to allergies to soy and dairy and now with digestive problems, I know meat products will not be in her best interest, at least for the next 6-12 months. I was looking for ways to get more protiens in her diet in the way of foods without giving her gassy foods. Do you have any suggestions? Our pediatrician although helpful, has no idea how to help with allergy / vegan diet advice. Any recipies would be greatly appreciated!
I will post this on The Vegan Mom Facebook page and see what some other parents have to say.
Hey Keli — I am in NO way an expert in any of this. I am not a doctor or a dietician. However, I’m a mom and I deal with a lot of digestive problems of my own (albeit I am an adult!) and maintain a plant-based diet. Your daughter’s still very, very little — when my kids were 7 months old they were still on rice and oats and introducing pureed fruits and vegetables a little at a time. Her formula will provide the protein she needs for now and many months to come. Once she’s much older, the first thought that I had is that some “gassy” foods aren’t as gassy when they are very well-cooked and pureed. Also, start very, very small and build up her tolerance to a gassy food. We’ve done very well with legumes and beans in this house following this advice. If you can find a really good nutritionist that you trust, you will feel more confident!
Natalie Carpenter Collins You want something that is easy to digest, so I think stay away from beans for a little while longer. I think brown rice might be a good starter food. Try to find a vegan nutritionist?
April 4 at 11:29am · Unlike · 1
Ivana Surya Maybe you can try with amaranth and quinoa.
April 4 at 2:00pm · Unlike · 1
Becky Staton Try adding hemp seeds and/or flax oil to just about anything.
April 4 at 2:51pm · Unlike · 1
Julie Chavez NurturMe makes dehydrated quinoa packs that you can mix in to other foods. I’ve also found lots of greens blends from plum organics, Peter rabbit organics, and oh baby.
April 4 at 3:57pm · Unlike · 1
Shereen Bottari I made (and still make) my daughter smoothies with spirulina and nut butters. Chia, hemp and quinoa are also good for protein. Lots of veggies, fruits, brown rice, quinoa etc. Best of luck
April 4 at 4:46pm · Unlike · 1
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I know this was written a while ago but I just stumbled upon it and found it very encouraging. I am newish to the vegan game and my baby just turned one. Trying to be as informed as possible and awesome mommys like you are super helpful! Thank you!