Join Mumsnet's vegan community and discuss everything related to the vegan diet.
Vegan baby- what’s ur thoughts?(113 Posts)
Ok, so I’m a vegan. Hate milk and meat, in my opinion we’re not supposed to ingest it. But I know babies need milk, although I’m not convinced an entirely different species’ breast milk is the answer lol. Has anyone raised a vegan baby? Looking for advice on the subject, thank u x
I have a 3 1/2 year old vegan from birth. Perfectly normal, good weight/height, smart, alert, etc. Also have a 3 months old baby, being exclusively breastfeed, like my first was until 6 months. Our family doctor not agrees that they are/will be fine.
Never really understood what the fuss was all about babies/children being vegan. You should eat properly, and that's it. If the parents have (and provide) balanced meals, with fruit, pulses and vegetables, the child will follow their example.
It is perfectly possible and healthy to raise a baby vegan. If you're aware of how to get all the vitamins and mierals you need for yourself on a vegan diet, you can do it for your baby too. There are some vegan wening blogs like @PlantBasedBaby_uk on Instagram or get info from The Vegan Society. Make sure you and your baby has suppleents for some of the hard to get nutrients too.
I don't think raising a vegan baby is 'imposing your beliefs' on a baby any more than feeding them an animal-based diet. It's only because an animal-based diet is considered the 'norm' or 'standard diet' that raising a baby on a vegan diet is even viewed this way. I have an 8-month old vegan baby who's breastfed and will continue to be breastfeed until he self-weans. In addition, there are lots of milks you can make yourself which are supposed to be great for baby's nutrition, when they start to drink other milks. Water, hemp seeds and dates in the blender and then strained is one version. Some use coconut water (take a look at this video: https://youtu.be/EZL7QaVulYk). Some actually make this as a vegan substitute for formula, but I would personally stick with breastmilk until baby is around 12 months.
Please note, I am not a nutritionist or medical professional, so do seek professional advice if you feel that's what you need.
Good luck, though! Love hearing about other vegan-baby-raising mamas! 🌱
He definitely knows his own mind and has tenacity, @kikisparks!
I'd say he disagrees with our choices, more than the other way round. We eat less meat now than previously (it's easier if we all eat the same) and when DH and I do eat meat, I buy the well-looked after locally sourced stuff, knowing that DS will be sitting at the table with us, judging us ;-)
I follow the Fizz Family on YouTube. They are a vegan family, who are currently weening their vegan baby. Their baby looks the picture of health and they seem to be doing everything right in regards to giving their family great nutrition. I wish I had been able to watch their videos 12 years ago, I would have made a lot of better choices.
It has become a bit of an argument because millennia ago people must have just eaten meat raw to start with, fish, berries, fruit and nuts. The milk thing I wonder about and technically we can thrive without that, but does it do any harm. Then there's the ethical side of it or yuk thought of drinking animals milk but if you cut say cows milk out of a child's diet, I think they need meat to make up for it.
@Ceara your DS sounds like an amazing little boy! You must be proud of him (even if you disagree with his choice) the fact he had the conviction to make it at age 3 is incredible!
I agree with Tinty. Unless they are allergic to anything give them a varied healthy diet, including meat but avoid processed meat. Let them make their own minds up when they are older. If you really can't give them meat at least don't go vegan. I've thought about this myself as I'm virtually vegetarian done it gradually. I plan to try veganism and see how I get on with it. But I don't feel I need meat or much food in general now. If I had young children now I would still give them a well balanced diet including meat. Which is what I done but no one seemed to talk about vegetarianism then, let alone veganism.
Those articles linked to above, when you read them, there is much more to the story. The kids were severely neglected by just happen to be vegan parents. The fact that the parents were vegan has been brought into the spotlight, but they neglected their babies, as has often been reported in the press the same thing by non vegan/veggie parents.
The diet of one infant consisted of "oats and rice milk and half a banana for breakfast, piece of toast with jam or PB for lunch and tofu, rice or potatoes for dinner". Sometimes they gave the child the same breakfast for dinner too as she was 'fussy'. This is poor in anyones world. Where is the vegetables and fruits, the good fats, the beans and pulses?
They were feeding their baby a nutritionally bare diet. Regardless of being vegan. If they fed that same diet and were not vegan, and you swap the rice milk for dairy milk and the tofu for chicken, anyone can see how empty the diet is.
In one case the parents 'stopped going to social care for babies'. In another case the 'neighbours did not even know there was a baby living in the house'.
In one of the cases the baby was given a 'diet of soy milk and apple juice' and the prosecutor said “No matter how many times they want to say, ‘We’re vegans, we’re vegetarians,’ that’s not the issue in this case,” said prosecutor Chuck Boring. “The child died because he was not fed. Period.”
"no 1-3yr old is going to give a toss unless you set out to brainwash them from day 1".
In our house, that's not true. DH and I eat meat and dairy. So did DS until just after he 3rd birthday he made the connection between the meat on his plate, and killing animals. He hasn't touched meat or gelatine since (he's 5 now). Hje turns down haribo at parties. He is somewhat pissed off that we gave him meat before he knew enough to say no.
He isn't vegan. I would support his choice if he wanted to be, but would find it very hard ensuring his diet remained balanced - and he would have to be a whole lot less picky than he is now. DS was at preschool with a vegan 4 year old and DS thought seriously about it - I was so relieved when he decided to carry on eating dairy. His vegan friend is one of those blessedly easy children who eat whatever is put in front of them, so a balanced vegan diet is achievable. DS is not that easy to feed.
OP, looking beyond the baby stage don't underestimate the difficulty of feeding a picky eater if you cut out one or more major food groups. We all think our child will have varied and sophisticated tastes from the start, we introduce lots of flavours through weaning etc blah blah, then the fussy eating turn up anyway!
@MockneyReject brilliantly put.
Tickled by eat meat or vote conservative, I'm unsure which would disappoint me more but as you said it would be my sons choice.
@MockneyReject "if they want to eat meat or vote conservative"
Had a good chuckle at that! 😂
I didn't post them, but I disagree it's unhelpful. It's always good to look at all aspects in order to make proper informed choices. A scare story for it's own sake isn't helpful in particular but it does stick in your head in order to ensure that you do the right thing for your child. I'm not saying that excludes a vegan diet. It's not enough just to stop eating meat or stop eating dairy and just carry on eating "normal" meals without those ingredients. It's about seeing what a full nutritious diet needs to contain and making sure that your diet contains those things. It's easier to be "accidentally" healthy when eating everything as by luck not necessarily judgement, you are more likely to get everything you need. I'm not a vegan or a vegetarian but I respect others rights to put what they like into their own mouths.
The little girl with rickets only weighed 10lbs at 1 year old. This suggests very severe neglect rather than her being a picky eater. The most likely scenario is that the little girl was not breastfed or given a suitable infant formula. While cows milk would make very little difference in this case as the baby would have been severely malnourished from birth. The parents must have known that she was not thriving.
The op is asking for nutritional advice for her child so posting these scare stories about vegans is very unhelpful.
Im not vegan but I am vegetarian, dp eats meat. Some pp have suggested you will need to give your child a 'normal diet' including meat. I really don't think this is the case at all. My ds eats very little meat. Between us, me and dp said that if I was cooking, ds would eat what I was eating and if dp cooked, ds would eat what he was eating. But we often eat as a family in which case it is usually vegetarian. Sometimes dp will add meat to his portion e.g. macaroni cheese with broccoli and dp will add ham for him. Ds will refuse the ham and choose for himself at 1 year old to eat a vegetarian meal. As I said though, he does eat dairy but I think once you finish breastfeeding (if you manage to) then you can give alternative milks.
If you are eating as a family, there's no need to cook your child something different to what you are eating as long as its still balanced.
So much misinformation, so much defensiveness - as is usual in these threads.
Plus, of course, the usual years old cases of neglect where the idiot parents veganism is irrelevant.
“No matter how many times they want to say, ‘We’re vegans, we’re vegetarians,’ that’s not the issue in this case,” said prosecutor Chuck Boring. “The child died because he was not fed. Period.” (quoted from one such link, posted by a PP to 'prove' her personal opinion).
I know several vegan children, all who turn down down treats because they contain animal products, and I reckon most children would do the same, if they knew the truth. Us vegans/vegetarians are used to being accused of 'brainwashing' - by parents who knowingly mislead their children to get them to eat stuff that children would otherwise refuse.
I hold my hands up to right up to forcing my views on to my children, though. Tolerance, non-violence, female equality, atheism, kindness to animals and old people, amongst others. Whilst I hope they'll continue to share our family values, if they want to eat meat or vote Conservative, then they'll make their choices armed with the available information.
I've yet to meet a meat eating family who raise their children vegan, so as to avoid forcing their beliefs on to them, btw.I
OP, it's perfectly possible. Like any other parent, you need to arm yourself with knowledge and information. If say breastfeeding is a crucial part of that as, obviously, it does away with any need to give cow's milk formula.
All the best, with whatever compromise you decide on.
Please, please don't use soy. It mimics some hormones and is entirely unhealthy in regular doses.
I think the general message is that it's perfectly possible but it needs to be very carefully managed and monitored. Idiot and neglectful parents always exist, but the fact remains that excluding so much from the diet of a growing child makes malnutrition much more likely. Living from bowls of porridge whilst not ideal would be unlikely to result in rickets if whole cow's milk had been used. Everyone is entitled to their stand and to choose what to feed themselves and their families. However, they need to dO it with their eyes wide open and ensuring health always comes first.
The links about vegan babies who died or were taken into care were all victims of severe abuse. The 7 month old should have been mainly breast or formula fed. Most Brest fed 7 month olds are vegan anyway as they are still being introduced to food.
It is fine to bring your child up vegan if you can breastfeed. The first steps nutrition link a previous poster shared is really good with nice recipes and nutritional advice.
If you are not breastfeeding there is no dairy free formula. As previous posters have suggested even formula for babies with a dairy allergy contain animal products.
This is given to animals who have anaemia not a routine dosage. They are animals who can get ill just like humans. We gave our sheep a trace element supplement this year because of the hard weather conditions which affected the soil conditions and the general health of the animals.
The cost of this is considerable so we wouldn't have done this if unnecessary.
@anitagreen that wouldn’t be any more vegan than cow’s milk powder though?
Personally if I had a baby and couldn’t breastfeed I’d use a cow’s milk formula but I’d try my hardest to breastfeed first (as long as it was recommended and baby was doing ok). The definition of vegan is not to exploit animals as far as possible and practicable, as PP said baby formula is like medicine if it’s necessary you use it.
You can get goat milk powdered in Sainsbury's for new borns
@KittenCamile you’re getting a horrible time on here- on the vegan board which is meant to be a safe place for vegan support!
You’re doing an amazing thing and I wish you and your child all the best
@LoniceraJaponica all children age 1- 4 should be getting vitamin supplements (this has been the recommendation for decades). Most omnivore diets need fortified foods you just aren’t aware of it. All non organic cow’s milk has vitamin D added and most bread has iron added as an example.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Get started »
Please login first.