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Vegan babies and children

(31 Posts)
popsycal Fri 05-Dec-03 22:22:18

Anyone got any opinions or experience of this?

KatieMac Fri 05-Dec-03 22:32:51

Not really, is vegan no meat, fish & dairy?

Had 7month old that was this ....suggested Mum talk to HV (as I didn't know what to give him) who insisted on dairy for babys health...she said most adults couldn't take a plate of cauli & broccoli why should baby be able to - talk about colic!

popsycal Fri 05-Dec-03 22:35:06

vegan is no product from an animal

KatieMac Fri 05-Dec-03 22:42:15

Hard work

anais Fri 05-Dec-03 22:46:46

I know of plenty of perfectly healthy children who have been raised vegan. It's not really that difficult, so long as it's carefully balanced.

I wanted to raise mine vegan (I used to be vegan) but I'm not much of a cook at the best of times.

bobthebaby Sat 06-Dec-03 00:46:27

Here in NZ a baby died because his strictly vegan mother would not take vit B12 whilst breastfeeding, or allow him to have it injected. I would imagine HVs here would give vegan mothers a fairly hard time after that.
My brother is vegan, and he has been really useful with recipes and how to deal with meals out now I can't eat eggs or dairy whilst breastfeeding my son.
My 9 month old was vegan until last week when he had some chicken, my mum gave it to him - I think if it had been left to me I would have probably just kept on with veggies and forgotten about meat entirely. I worry about the antibiotics in meat (especially as he is atopic)but then find it hard to find organic meat where I live and so it goes on. How much meat does he need, bearing in mind that he can't have yogurt, cheese etc?

pupuce Sat 06-Dec-03 13:58:43

I had good friends who were strict vegans and to my surprise their children were not! The mum was a very good cook, used loads of things I had never heard of, was very informed about nutrition and she gace chicken or fish once a week to her kids.
My SIL is not really vegan but has a diet which looks very much like it (she is obssessed with healthy eating). I have been worried about her lack of B12 too (and I know it can cause brain dvlpt problem - didn't know it could lead to death and I did look into it)... she BF for 6 months and then stopped.... I had a big go at her because I felt that if your argument is "my baby's food intake is really important for his heath" than surely breast is better than formula!
Her new baby will probably be BF longer.... we'll see !

zebra Sat 06-Dec-03 14:17:43

Most of my vegetarian friends regularly cook meat for their kids, on the logic that they shouldn't impose their views on the kid -- hunh??? I mean, why is it better to "impose" a meat eating habit on the child?

I thought with Vegan children one of the main things is giving them a high fat diet until 2yo, and cow's milk (or goat's milk, or *something* very similar to mammal milk) if you're not breastfeeding, until at least 4yo.

Horrible about the B12-deprived baby, BobtheBaby... but are you sure that babies really "need" meat? It doesn't make sense IME.

zebra Sat 06-Dec-03 14:18:32

ps: doesn't Marmite contain Vit. B12?

pupuce Sat 06-Dec-03 15:15:52

I am no expert but I would have thought they need protein (not sure it must be animal) to build/develop muscle.
Interestingly my nephew who is raised vegan was out with his grandparents and my MIL ordered some meat for herself (as he is not "allowed" meat by his mum)....the child is a very fussy eater by ANY definition but he asked to taste the meat.... which MIL agreed to as he "never" tries anything new.... he litterally adored it, he finsihed her plate !
I don't know what this is suppose to prove but it was interesting to watch !

I once read (but can't say if this is true) that you eat what your body craves.... hence pregnant women have interesting cravings..... I know DS eats everything but there are days where he loves his meat and days where he is not that interested.

Tinker Sat 06-Dec-03 16:17:31

I have a friend who has brought her child up vegan - no health problems at all, as far as I know, and she is a very bright little girl.

pupuce - I used to think that you should eat what you crave but not sure now. Cravings for sugar are really just withdrawal symptoms, not sure you should just eat more sugar.

Cavy Sat 06-Dec-03 18:50:11

Pupuce, Does that mean I should just starve myself? -Cavy, 13 weeks pregnant and I don't want to eat anything.

jasper Sat 06-Dec-03 18:51:01

Pupuce did his mum know about this? I take it she would have been furious! While I don't personally hold with a meat free diet, nor do I hold with others feeding my kids things I don't want them to have.(er, not that I can think of anything offhand, except formula for #3!)
I am assured by many that it is perfectly possible to raise healthy vegan children. My observations regards friends' children give me some cause for concern , although I don't suppose the three children I have in mind constitute a scientificlly significant group

bobthebaby Sat 06-Dec-03 19:19:30

Vegan baby and nut allergic baby would not work for me - where would he get protein? Thats why I think he needs meat.

anais Sat 06-Dec-03 19:55:22

Btb, there is protein in plenty other than nuts and meat - soya, vegetable protein, pulses etc

It is possible for children to be perfectly healthy on a veg/vegan diet. This is an indisputable fact.

It is awful if a child died because of no b12 - B12 is more difficult in an animal-free diet, but perfectly possible. You just have to be sensible and plan it through carefully.

pupuce Sat 06-Dec-03 20:33:45

Anais- where can you get B12 if you are vegan?
Jasper - I didn't ask MIL if she told SIL... she probably did. To be fair to MIL.... they weren't going in to "change" him.... he is SUCH a fussy eater that they were pleased he asked for something. I think my nephew might get an egg a week or something..... but very very little animal based food.

pie Sat 06-Dec-03 20:35:57

pupuce have a look here

WideWebWitch Sat 06-Dec-03 20:36:25

Just a quick one - as the mother of a vegetarian child I promise you that it's perfectly possible to bring up an *incredibly* healthy child without giving them meat. Really, and I've researched this very thoroughly indeed. I wouldn't fancy doing vegan though since I do think you'd have to be much more vigilant about various deficiencies but I believe Anais if she says it can be done. I too would be furious with anyone who gave my son meat, although I'm 99.9% sure he'd refuse it anyway. I'd give it to him if he wanted it but he doesn't so far.

I tell you what, an awful lot of children eat a terrible diet in the UK (chicken nuggets? Burgers?) and don't get nearly enough fruit and vegetables. B12 is found in eggs and dairy products so most vegetarian children probably do get enough, depending on their intake of these. Here's the Vegetarian Society factsheet on vegetarian children for anyone who's interested.

pie Sat 06-Dec-03 20:37:58

...yeast extracts, Vecon vegetable stock, veggieburger mixes, textured vegetable protein, soya milks, vegetable and sunflower margarines, and breakfast cereals

popsycal Sat 06-Dec-03 20:39:55

the reason that i started this thread is thaat my sis and her dd (18 mths) are vegans...anyway - they are strict vegans
and I worry.
when dniece was little i persuaded sis to see dietician and make a weekly food planner for dN - and i made one for my ds so that she wouldnt feel funny. she took it to the dietician and she was over the moon
however, almost as soon as they had seen dietician, it DN seems to eat chips, baked beans, veggy sausage and the odd veg and fruit
she has soya formula too
just getting a bit worried as she desnt take any supplements
dont want to come down heavy with the big sis act though
what do you think

popsycal Sat 06-Dec-03 20:41:10

oh - and she is below 25th centile for weight but 80th for height and is starting to go 'below her centile line'........

WideWebWitch Sat 06-Dec-03 22:38:37

popsycal, tbh I think it's up to your sister. Unless she's asked for your advice - has she?

anais Sat 06-Dec-03 22:48:39

There's no problem having some of the veggie 'junk food' as long as she's balancing it with other stuff.

As www pointed out, all too often, the diets of children in this country are appaling. I think in most cases (huge generalisation coming up...) most vegetarian's diets are better than most meat eaters. I believe that in most cases a bad veg diet is better than a bad meat based diet.

Pupuce, Pie answers your question - yeast extract, many cereal products, margarines etc. I have a chart up in my kitchen which ds reads to me regularly!

I also take vitamin supplements, as do the kids. IMO it's an insurance policy

bobthebaby Sun 07-Dec-03 00:39:48

The baby who died in NZ was diagnosed ages before he died, but the mother refused to supplement either him or herself and that is why he died. She didn't eat any prepackaged food either. It really needn't have come to that. She had another baby whilst on trial and that baby got taken away as it was deemed she was not providing the necessities of life by intending to breastfeed without vit. B12 supplementation. I guess what I am trying to say popsycal that if your relatives are eating a wide variety of food that just happens to be vegan they will be getting B12, rather than this one lady who just ate raw fruit and veg. Also there is a long time after getting sick that you can supplement and have a positive outcome. I just didn't want my post to scare you, as this really was an extreme case as there is a massive difference between being a vegan and only eating raw fruit and veg.

popsycal Sun 07-Dec-03 10:18:25

thanks for your posts....
it is quite interesting
i am not interferring at all - i wouldnt dream of telling my sis how to bring up her child just as she doesn't impose her beliefs and views on me
DN *rarely* has any protein - apart from 12oz soya milk, soya margarine once a day on toast, a veggie sausage every day or two
hates vegetables
and doesnt eat huge amounts
i agree that when she first stared weaning her, DNs diet was brilliantly - very balanced and carefully planned - the dietician asked for a copy of sis's eating plan to share with other mums. But now, i just feel worried
sis lives with my parents so they see, day in, day out, what DN eats
we are all very open minded about this and supportive of her wishes
but also love DN and want a *healthy* diet - what ever that may be - vegan, vegiie or whatever

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