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.