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Should I use follow on milk for a vegetarian baby?

(74 Posts)
doireallyneedaname Mon 19-Oct-20 08:49:38

Just that really. He’s 7 months on First Infant. I’d read follow on milk is a bit of a con so didn’t intend to, but as we are raising him vegetarian I’m starting to wonder if the extra iron in follow on milk wouldn’t hurt. He has plenty of lentils, beans & greens but apparently the iron from those isn’t absorbed as well as meats.

Anyone been in this situation?

OP’s posts: |
CalmDown7 Mon 19-Oct-20 09:38:38

Midwife told me it was a con to and to carry on with infant formula until 12 months then move to full fat x

Thesuzle Mon 19-Oct-20 09:40:28

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Ihaveoflate Mon 19-Oct-20 09:50:00

Infant first milk is all he needs as it is fortified but give vitamins when he is drinking less than 500mls. We use Wellbaby vits because they also have iron in them.

CalmDown7 Mon 19-Oct-20 09:51:31

@Thesuzle - you could have just read the thread and not replied, but no you couldn’t help being mean I guess

Twizbe Mon 19-Oct-20 09:57:52

Follow on milk is just marketing and not needed. Carry on with the first formula.

missyB1 Mon 19-Oct-20 09:59:40

you could use the follow on milk or continue with first milk and use a multi vit with iron.

Badabingbadabum Mon 19-Oct-20 09:59:51

People all over the world have a vegetarian diet 'from birth'.

Stick with the first formula and just carry on including iron rich foods.

Sillydoggy Mon 19-Oct-20 10:00:29

Spinach is also good for iron as is beetroot (although beware the nappies afterwards!) orange juice with the veg helps absorption. I didn’t do extra follow on milk or vitamins and mine are healthy strapping teens now.

Melassa Mon 19-Oct-20 10:01:55

My DD is veggie and has been from birth. Never had follow on milk, other than the fact it’s a total con It often has fish oils or similar in it. Don’t get too hung up on the iron, lots of green leafy veg and broccoli, plus pulses and fresh fruit/veg for bit C to absorb will give him enough at this stage. My DD has never been low in anything and she was one if those children that were never ill at nursery and primary school (at secondary now and still is).

For the person who said poor baby for being veggie, no more “poor” than a baby whose parent makes a different choice. Certainly less “poor” than an omnivorous child raised on nuggets and turkey twizzlers. Usually people who diss a vegetarian diet have poor grasp of nutrition. Most veggie parents have a good grasp to start with, often better than the omnivorous population.

DuchenneParent Mon 19-Oct-20 10:05:18

I think you're right to want to supplement his iron. You could use fortified milk or cereal or shop around for baby drops containing iron. If I were you, I would look up the recommended iron intake for his age and it will give you an idea of how much 'extra' he might need.

Changechangychange Mon 19-Oct-20 10:07:01


Vegetarian from birth ! Poor kid

All babies are vegetarian from birth. There isn’t any meat in milk confused

And plenty of parents wouldn’t give a seven month old a piece of steak, even if they planned to introduce it later. Mashed veggies, yoghurt etc are a totally normal weaning diet. I think you are the outlier here.

DuchenneParent Mon 19-Oct-20 10:09:36

By the way, I didn't mean to imply that it's impossible for a child to get enough iron through a vegetarian diet, just that if the OP is concerned her baby isn't getting enough through diet she is likely right and should look into the RDI and supplementing.

doireallyneedaname Mon 19-Oct-20 10:10:22

Thanks all smile

OP’s posts: |
ahhanotheryear Mon 19-Oct-20 10:10:25

The well baby liquid tastes foul couldn't get ds to take it, worked a treat on the poorly lambs though!
DS eats virtually no meat but does eat lots of broccoli and fortified cereal and has been fine.

dannydyerismydad Mon 19-Oct-20 10:13:52

Whilst it's true that follow on milk has extra iron, the body can only process so much at a time, so much passes through the baby and into the nappy.

Naturally occurring iron in food is much more bioavailable. Sticking to first stage formula is absolutely fine.

riddles26 Mon 19-Oct-20 10:18:45

If you've been formula feeding until now, carrying with same formula is all that is needed. It contains all the iron and vitamins that are required. As others have said, follow on milk exists purely for marketing purposes and has no added nutritional benefit.

The majority of formulas contain fish and are not vegetarian. I am raising vegetarian children and would have no concerns giving them anyway but just wanted to state if you were unaware.

Rubyroost Mon 19-Oct-20 10:28:46

It is hard for any baby/child/adult to get enough iron. The amount needed is quite high and meat is the most absorbable form. But if you want to raise your child as Veggie it's obvs your choice, but he will need beans with nearly every meal which I'm sure you are aware. Bread is normally fortified with it etc. I worry about my meat eating child getting enough iron every day. One good thing is he loves baked beans! 😂
My 7 month old is on liquid iron as he had blood tests (to check for something else) and they found he was anaenic. I wonder how many babies would be anaemic 😢 if we tested them all!

Rubyroost Mon 19-Oct-20 10:30:10

Oh and apparently iron in formula is fairly high and poorly absorbed, iron from b milk is quite low but better absorbed.

GrumpyHoonMain Mon 19-Oct-20 10:35:39

Indian here so while my own baby isn’t going to be vegetarian I know plenty who are. Follow on milk and supplements aren’t really needed unless the baby has a trait or anemia. The iron in food can be perfectly digested if offered in sufficient quanties. For example I usually mix 2 cups of finely chopped greens (spinach or methi usually) in most of DS’ food. He’s used to it in weetabix, porridge, eggs you name it.

Oncemorewithfeelin Mon 19-Oct-20 10:50:13

The only reason I moved onto follow on milks was because I could get advantage card points and they could do offers on them.

doireallyneedaname Mon 19-Oct-20 12:39:24

Thanks! How would anybody know if their baby had a trait or was anemic though? I am very likely to be an alpha thalassemia carrier but my iron levels are perfect - I was told baby would likely be a carrier too because of me but that it wouldn’t affect anything. confused

OP’s posts: |
Rubyroost Mon 19-Oct-20 13:53:35

I don't think you woukd know if baby was anaemic, I certainly had no clue, and it would probably depend on how your iron levels were during oregnancy too.

doireallyneedaname Mon 19-Oct-20 14:01:47

So I’ve just had a look at his formula (Hipp organic) and if he consumes 20oz per day then the formula only provides 0.5mg per 100ml, so that’s around 3mg per day when baby needs 11mg per day of iron. Am I missing something here? I think I must be..

OP’s posts: |
MeadowHay Mon 19-Oct-20 14:05:06

We moved to follow on milk at some point I think but I can't remember exactly when. I don't think it was at 6 months maybe like 9 months or even later possibly. Iirc part of our reasoning was iron related too as we are also a vegetarian family and DD didn't take quickly to weaning. She didn't really eat until she was 1. We also gave her a multivitamin that had iron in it as well, probably from being around 7 or 8 months old when we realised she still really wasn't eating. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer to this though tbh assuming your child seems well and is growing well.

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