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Any veggie mums (or dads) out there who have had this problem?

(11 Posts)
undressedfordinner Tue 10-Nov-09 08:59:43

We are just starting to wean our ds who is 26 weeks. We've given him vegetables and fruit so far but although I am working on the basis that 'until he's one it's just for fun' which I read on another thread my dp is anxious for him to start eating meat as at our last check up the paediatrician was adamant that he must have meat almost immediately to ensure he gets enough iron.

I'm vegetarian but until now had never considered raising my children vegetarian - I though it would be their choice when they were older. Now that it's crunch time however I feel really weird about it - I don't have anything against meat being eaten in theory, but I have big issues about current animal welfare practices. I made an informed decision not to eat meat and it seems wrong to give it to my baby who has no idea what he's eating and where it comes from.

I'm probably being a bit obsessive but has anyone been through something similar and what did you do? It goes without saying that dp is a meat eater, along with the rest of his family so I don't think I'm going to have any choice at the end of the day. Which leads me on to the next part of my dilemma - what on earth am I going to give him? I haven't eaten meat since I was 9 and don't even know how to cook it! We're aiming for a baby-led weaning approach (although still a bit paranoid about choking but that's a whole other thread!).

QueenOfFlamingEverything Tue 10-Nov-09 09:04:50

If your DP is adamant that DS should eat meat then he can bloomin' cook it!

Its not necessary anyway, you can get plenty of iron from vegetable sources - dried fruit, broccoli, wholemeal bread/pasta, fortified cereal etc etc. DD was weaned as a vegetarian and nobody has ever questioned this as an appropriate diet.

pelvicflawed Tue 10-Nov-09 09:24:16

I'm veggie and DH eats fish (but no meat) I work on the basis that I'm not cooking seperate meals for people so DS who is 3.6 is broadly veggie (though he does have the odd fish fonger/fish pie). So far there have been no health problems and he dosen't seem to be lacking in iron. We eat lots of pulse lentil dishes, DS will have fortified breakfast cerals and also I've always encouraged him to eat dried fruit (all be it with a healthy dose of teeth scrubing). I work on the principle that at home he eats what we do however when he goes to parties etc I let him choose so if he wants to eat meat he can. When he grows up he can choose -but if he wants to eat family meals then they are going to be veggie. We've half discussed it at home and when he's a teenager if he wants meat thats fine but he cooks, it cleans up etc.

I've been veggie for over 20 years so my meat prep skills are zero our quick and easy meals are curry (veg+pulses)- I very lightly spice it and then take some out for DS before spicing it up for us - used puree it for DS, Chilli, pasta with veg sauce, cheese and lentil bake, macoroni cheese. Rose Elliot cook books are good and I've found the Netmums family cookbook good (though it does contain meat meals).

Sorry this has turned out to be a bit of a ramble hope it helps.

middlechicken Wed 11-Nov-09 19:05:38

We're in similar boat, DP an occasional meat-eater and me veggie. The jury is still out on whether DS (just about 7 months) will have meat or not.

From what I've picked up here & there, it seems as though the attitude of your paediatrician is common amongst some health professionals, but lots of people also reckon that this isn't actually the case. Gill Rapley's 'Baby Led Weaning' book makes a good case for why it's ok to basically rely on milk feeds for all the nutrition that your baby will need for quite some time. And anyway, there are so many vegetarian communities all over the world whose babies do just fine - would like to know how your Doc accounts for that!

Like Queen said, there are lots of really good non-meat sources of iron, so you just need to make sure that you include those in DS's diet.

cara2244 Wed 11-Nov-09 20:12:41

I am veggie and OH isn't, so BB mostly has veggie food with me, but shares OH's meat when he has some (mainly at weekends). We are BLWing. He also eats meat round at his grandparent's, which is 2 days a week when I'm at work. He's 11 months old and goes through phases where he likes meat, and phases where he isn't interested. I am a bit of a dairy fiend, but I do try and include plenty of pulses and am getting better at cooking with lentils (BB really seems to like them).

If you're BLWing, your LO will be getting most of his nutrients from milk for a good time yet, so I wouldn't worry about how much meat he eats. Just make sure your own diet is healthy!

Grooveisintheharte Wed 11-Nov-09 20:44:36

I felt exactly the same as you - I'm vegetarian and my partner isn't, but he works long hours and is rarely around for mealtimes during the week, and often not at weekends either. We are BLW, and my DS just shares whatever I have - lentil bolognese, falafels, veg pasta, curry etc. He occasionally has meat or fish if my DP or IL's give it to him - but I never cook meat or fish seperately for him. However, I have to admit I feel a bit funny about it! Watching my baby eat something I never would... but he seems to enjoy it. I will carry on this way as it seems to work for us and DS is happy and healthy - and I will let him make his own mind up about meat when he's old enough to understand! Hope that helps. Also, theres quite a few good veggie recipes on the BLW site.

undressedfordinner Wed 11-Nov-09 20:47:49

Thanks all for your help, I agree that there's no reason why he can't get enough iron from a veggie diet but am too British to argue with a health professional and too worn down to argue with the in-laws (if you knew the comments I've had about EBF to 6 months!). I don't want to insist too much with DP as BLW was my idea (not heard of here in Italy) and although he is generally enthusiastic about it he has his anxious moments, which is fair enough as really we are the ONLY people we know who have not started weaning at five months with baby rice and stuff. Some docs here (including SIL's) give you a chart to tell you day by day what to feed them!

It seems like the general consensus is that you prepare veggie but it's fine if someone else wants to prepare meat for them and they want to eat it - I can live with that. DP is quite happy to prepare meat for him so I suppose I'll just let him do that - no minging veal in jars though, there I draw the line!

QueenOfFlamingEverything Wed 11-Nov-09 21:43:02

You could always <<whispers>> lie to the health professional/other interferingested parties about his red meat intake.

scalise Thu 12-Nov-09 19:57:57

I have no idea what baby led weaning is excuse my ignorance, but as a veggie (propper veggie ie no fish) I have had the same trauma of veggie or meaty child. I have started to give my daughter meat (she's 9 months old) after the health visitor told me she would get rickets (my daughter not the health visitor) if I didn't give her meat once a day. In a panic I caved in, but I only give her meat meals that are organic from companies such as hipps, plum and ela's kitchen and she only gets them a few times a week. I couldn't face cooking meat regularly.

I have given my child some releat vegemince for dinner this eve and I've just seen the postings on this forum about it being high in salt. So I feel a small panic coming on as I dont want to destroy her poor little kidneys! My understanding was a small amount once a week was ok? She also has tofu once a week or is that bad for babies as well?

At the end of the day I think that you will know if your baby is benefiting from meat or not and what types of veggie food works for them. Do research, but take some of it with a pinch of salt

QueenOfFlamingEverything Thu 12-Nov-09 21:12:54

Scalise - baby led weaning is essentially waiting until your baby is 6 months old and then weaning them onto table scraps family food. No need for mashing, just let 'em get stuck in.

Anyway IMO your HV is talking crap. Rickets is caused by vitamin D deficiency - major sources include dairy produce, eggs, fortified margarine/cereal, and sunlight. I suspect she is mixing up vegetarian and vegan, as vegans do need to take extra care with diet to ensure sufficient vitamin D.

There is no need for babies to eat meat if they are getting a reasonably balanced vegetarian diet.

cara2244 Thu 12-Nov-09 21:36:49

Rickets, jeez, my 11mo baby will get that then as he doesn't eat meat every day! Some days all he has is fruit, yoghurt and BM...

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