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Vegan babies/infants nutrition

(63 Posts)
Bea1985 Wed 11-Oct-17 18:44:57

Hi all,

I'm 32 weeks pregnant and have been vegan for c. 15 years. Ive been very stringent during pregnancy to ensure optimal protein, calcium, b12, omegas (algae supplements) and my iron levels are fine. I take pregnacare daily also. Baby growing well and very active.

Hubby has been vegan 35 years and we both know that a vegan diet is perfectly healthy if done right.

Neither of us were even vegetarian in childhood though, and babies / young children have different needs.

I'm looking for advice from nutritionally aware vegan/vegetarian mothers, links to any (non-biased) information would be helpful too. I believe wholeheartedly in veganism for adults and abhors the meat and dairy industries, but I cannot take any risks with the health of my child. I read so often that "it's fiiiiiinnnnnne" to bring up a vegan child, but sometimes the attitude seems a bit blaze.

I intend to breastfeed for a year minimum, after that I'll be going back to work so it will reduce but will try to keep going. I'm assuming that if I am well nourished and have plenty of calories and fat (plus watching vit. and mineral intake as described above) my breast milk will in turn provide everything needed for my baby.

However, My key concerns (post weaning) are-

Vegan diet so high in fibre that not enough calories/fats can be consumed by a young child
DHA
EPA
Complete Proteins
Calcium
Vitamin d
B12
Having a fussy child that will limit their diet even more
Worrying about my child's nutrition taking over my life!

How have other vegan mums proceeded? Have any of you introduced the most ethical dairy possible (I know that's an oxymoron) for a bit of piece of mind? I'm considering relaxing slightly and buying some as-ethical-as-possible-even-if-expensive cheese etc, as small amounts might make everything sooooooo much easier.

Thoughts appreciated, really don't want to start a bun fight though!

Thanks.

vlooby Wed 11-Oct-17 18:47:36

I can't advise but have you looked for a Facebook group?

welshweasel Wed 11-Oct-17 18:50:32

www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/vegetarian-vegan-children.aspx

Bea1985 Wed 11-Oct-17 18:50:45

Thanks vlooby, I'll have a look. I'm really looking for level headed advice, was a bit concerned that Facebook groups could be a bit fanatically vegan of the "it's fiiiiiiiinnee" variety. But I'm having a look now...

welshweasel Wed 11-Oct-17 18:51:38

www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/life-stages/pregnancy-and-breastfeeding

Bea1985 Wed 11-Oct-17 18:51:50

Also asked midwife and go, both unconcerned and just seemed happy that I'm getting plenty protein, which is only part of the picture!

Bea1985 Wed 11-Oct-17 18:52:07

*gp

welshweasel Wed 11-Oct-17 18:52:46

Have you considered what you'll do if you can't breastfeed? It's worth having a think about, just in case, as making a plan now will be better than when you're tired and ultra hormonal!!

SandSnakeofDorne Wed 11-Oct-17 18:54:33

I'm vegetarian, not vegan so it's a bit different. With my first I just breastfed as long as possible and didn't worry too much. With my second, she was prem and her iron levels were borderline (as were mine). So I've ended up giving her meat from six months.

Bea1985 Wed 11-Oct-17 18:56:08

Do you know what Welsh weasel, I haven't ..... I should! I just naively assumed that as i such a determined person I will find a way to breastfeed! I'm not 100% convinced by vegan formulas and try to stay away from too much soy, so I suspect it would be cow and gate etc.

Bea1985 Wed 11-Oct-17 18:57:19

That's interesting Sandsnakes. I'm sure you didn't want to compromise your principles and nor do I but baby comes first....

BendydickCuminsnatch Wed 11-Oct-17 18:59:13

Yes my only thought would be what will you do if you can't BF... I know nothing about vegan formulas but did see a Homemade Vegan Baby Formula post on a Facebook selling page......... Probs not ideal! grin

welshweasel Wed 11-Oct-17 18:59:26

Yeah I assumed I'd be able to breastfeed and when I had to supplement with formula realised I had no idea about how to do it, what brand to use etc. Hopefully you won't need to use it but worth having a think.

icclemunchy Wed 11-Oct-17 19:04:23

For most* woman he barrier to being able to breastfeed is lack of support and information. Often knowing what to expect and where to source help before things go wrong can really help so look what you have locally. I highly recommend la leche who have a 24/7 helpline and most area have a local group running meetings etc. You can go along to these as an expecting Mum too not just once you’ve given birth.

* I say most as obviously there are some mums who do not produce enough milk and/or have medical conditions as do some babies. Having a plan to what formula to use is not a bad one at all

Rudedog Wed 11-Oct-17 19:06:26

I'm not vegan. I would also say that I started BF but I was poorly after birth and my milk dried up - it's always worth having a plan in case it goes wrong even if you are 100%set on BF.

I'm glad you are thinking about this. I have a vegan friend who has a terrible diet (almost all carbs/wheat) who was going to bring DC up vegetarian but are totally vegan now.

Bobbiepin Wed 11-Oct-17 19:09:21

No advice but big respect for having a rational approach to your pregnancy and child raising. It would be very easy for you to go with the 'it's fiiiine' approach, as you put it but you're doing a good thing. Have you looked at local farms and things that aren't part of the whole industry?

Everincreasingirth Wed 11-Oct-17 19:11:51

Maybe you could hold in the back of your mind the idea of introducing eggs to your babies diet. . I completely respect your diet choices but you could find some eggs from a local source where you can see the conditions the hens are living in which might make you feel better about using the eggs. Where we are (rural ) plenty of people keep very free range hens in their gardens and sell/give away the eggs.

Bea1985 Wed 11-Oct-17 19:14:28

Thanks all, so glad I'm getting these helpful responses.

Ive no time for nonsense like homemade vegan formula....dear god.

I haven't looked into local producers bobbiepin, I would not know where to start. At least the cows would have nicer lives while they are alive though.....

I had a chat with DH who is much more militants than me, and thank goodness he has agreed to let me lead on this and do what I think is right.

Bea1985 Wed 11-Oct-17 19:15:01

Sorry for typos.... Shitty ipad

Amber0685 Wed 11-Oct-17 19:18:30

Can you explain how vegans stand on breastfeeding? I would have thought most would be against it as breast milk is an animal product. Thanks

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 11-Oct-17 19:20:13

I've no idea if this place is near enough to you to be worth the trip, but maybe there's somewhere similar if not:

http://www.henheaven.org/index.html

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 11-Oct-17 19:21:41

Don't be so daft, @Amber0685.

Bea1985 Wed 11-Oct-17 19:26:03

Vegans believe that cows milk is for calves and human milk for humans.

Bea1985 Wed 11-Oct-17 19:27:20

Thanks assassinated , would consider eggs from genuine pet hens only.

WomanEmpire Wed 11-Oct-17 19:27:26

DP and I were vegetarian (now pescetarian) DC1 was fine with the diet when weaning, he was thriving and we ensured he had vitamin supplements.
Dc2 struggled to put weight on from birth, had a few stints in hospital after contracting illnesses that really, he should of been able to fight off. (I also had a health implication that meant I was very low on b12) We decided to introduce fish into our diets and its made it a lot easier with feeding the children. At least I know with 2/3 portions of fish a week - that he is getting something!
But point of this is, I've found it really depends on the child! I think you have a great attitude towards it, but think it's just one of those things, that you'll have to wait and see.

Definitely have a look into formula.

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