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Concerned for ebf/vegan baby

107 replies

NotTheCoolMum · 15/07/2017 12:38

More of a WWYD. Namechanged as identifying. Mum is vegan. Baby is 7 months old, ebf, sitting and playing, no developmental issues. But absolutely tiny. We hang out in the same playgroup and the child is smaller than a 3 month old. Mum has now begun weaning and says only vegan food.

This is not a debate about veganism. I get that mum has beliefs about diet and respect that. It is the size of the child that concerns me. Mum has said she was under increased monitoring for child dropping percentiles but is very much of the opinion that HV are just busybodies who know nothing. Not being monitored anymore, don't know the full story of why or when monitoring stopped. Baby was born at an average weight apparently. Mum thinks her child is just naturally small. I don't know if HV are aware that mum is vegan or is weaning with vegan foods.

I am worried because the tiny size could be a coincidence or it could be linked to the diet.

I'm not going to say anything to her as it would upset the friendship group. I could only report if the mumsnet wisdom is to report, would need help on how to do that if that is the right thing to do. WWYD?

OP posts:
Berylliuum · 15/07/2017 13:26

How is that article to the OP relevant, BlahBlah? Do tell. Baby in article wasn't breastfed, and parents self diagnosed and included gluten free, as well as lactose free milks etc etc.

Quite deeedeee!

QuackPorridgeBacon · 15/07/2017 13:26

Love how everyone likes to give the op a hard time. She asked for advice, has taken what everyone has said yet still people keep piling on. Calm down, do something exciting if all you can do is beat a dead horse.

BloodWorries · 15/07/2017 13:27

I think you're all being a bit harsh. There is a difference between explaining something to someone who doesn't know and taking the piss.

Personally if I saw a child that wasn't growing 'typically' and the mother referred to HVs as busy bodies etc I would be concerned about the child too. Clearly the OP doesn't know much about being a vegan, and if the mother isn't eating much in the way of protein or fat how do you expect her to produce quality milk?

Yes most vegans know quite a bit about nutrition. But saying vegans are well aware of nutrition, and this mother as a vegan is producing high quality milk or even milk that contains everything this baby needs is as daft as saying that meat eaters know little to nothing of nutrition and sit eating cheeseburgers all day or that all mothers are capable of producing high enough quality milk for the dc to thrive.

Of course the mother's milk in this situation is most likely fine, the mother most likely knows about nutrition, and the HVs have most likely signed the baby off because their weight is increasing steadily. But OP was just asking for advice.

PunjanaTea · 15/07/2017 13:30

blah the baby in the story was not being fed breast milk, from that brief story it seems there was a lot more going on there.

The majority of 7 month old babies will be following a vegan solid food diet supplemented either by breast milk or formula.

Berylliuum · 15/07/2017 13:31

She asked for advice, has taken what everyone has said yet still people keep piling on.
She said she would 'butt out' but also OP, in second post, still seemed to think there was a problem with a vegan diet.

corythatwas · 15/07/2017 13:36

"To clarify of course I am aware that first foods are fruit and veg so of course vegan

What I meant to say and obviously failed to communicate clearly was that mum intends to feed only vegan food full stop."

What you actually did say was that you weren't sure if there was a connection between the diet and the baby's small size.

So what did you mean?

That there might be a connection between intention to observe a certain diet in the future and current small size in a baby that is fed exactly the same foods as other babies?

Because that really seems a bit odd Hmm

kaytee87 · 15/07/2017 13:37

Her being vegan won't affect her breastmilk btw Hmm

My ds didn't have any meat / cheese etc. until he was about 8 months old. We gave him lots of different veg and fruit first.

What do you think babies should be weaned on?

Oliversmumsarmy · 15/07/2017 13:38

DD was ebf until she was 3. Raised as a vegetarian. She wasn't interested in food. She is taller than both myself and her father.

Being vegan is not a problem.

ragged · 15/07/2017 13:39

At least the vegan mom is engaged with HVs. Plus she goes to toddler groups & the "it takes a village" rule is in operation. So she is in contact with people & health professionals who should notice if things really are going wrong.

I weaned DC at 4 months (not vegan) & they were still "petite".

ExpatinBah · 15/07/2017 13:41

Barbarann - most unpleasant opening comments.

hopsalong · 15/07/2017 13:42

There isn't a problem with the baby being vegan, as others have said (many babies will be effectively vegan in early stages of weaning). But I think there could be problems with the mother being vegan and EBF if she doesn't take very good care over her diet/ vitamin supplementation.

See here for case studies of babies breastfed by vegetarian mothers who suffered neurological damage (much more serious than just being small) due to inadequate B12. So it is definitely a worry but I would assume the mother has been given sensible advice by HCPs, and is taking vitamins.

KarmaNoMore · 15/07/2017 13:44

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Giddyaunt18 · 15/07/2017 13:47

Your concern is misplaced. It is totally unnecessary to be concerned about another child's diet when it is perfectly ok and safe for a baby to be vegan/vegetarian. You are talking as though the mother is feeding her baby crack!

YorksMa · 15/07/2017 13:50

Most vegans know a hell of a lot more about nutrition than your average omnivore - and, yes, that includes protein. Sounds like the baby is getting a healthy diet and HVs are ok with everything if they are not monitoring. Perhaps your prejudice is showing.

Whoknewitwastrue · 15/07/2017 13:51

HiJenny the charts changed to breastfed babies about ten years ago.

Op I would think about reporting or discussing it with a HV (privately) tbh. Baby is probably fine but the mum might have disengaged.

There can be lots of reasons for slow growth - allergies and coeliac disease, genetic conditions. PND and failure to thrive often go hand in hand too.

Something obviously feels 'off' about it, so go with your instincts. The vegan thing is an anomaly but small babies should be monitored regularly.

Giddyaunt18 · 15/07/2017 13:54

I wonder what the diets of all the mothers of the larger children is like. Maybe they exclusively eat sausage rolls and crap meat. Is that ok OP, as long as the baby is not small?

TuckMyWin · 15/07/2017 13:58

Whoknew - the OP says herself she doesn't know the full story. She actually has no idea if the baby was referred to a doctor, was discharged, or indeed if the baby is actually still being monitored. All she knows is the Mum is vegan and the baby is, in her perception, small. The baby is developing normally. "Small babies should be monitored"- er, why? Some babies are always going to be small. Just as some will be big, and some will be average. They can't all be the same size. Whilst on the one hand I think it's good that people flag observed concerns to the right authorities, the OP doesn't seem to have any valid concerns. My son is on the second percentile. 2% of babies always will be. I'd have been mortified if some randomer at a baby group raised a concern with my HV because of that.

SmileEachDay · 15/07/2017 13:58

Most of my DC's food at that age went directly on the floor.

That poor baby from the article was not a victim of veganism - he had nothing in his stomach when he died - from dehydration and male nutrition. He was a victim of stupid, misguided parents. I wish people would read articles before offering them as evidence. Confused

Aeroflotgirl · 15/07/2017 14:00

Yanbu at all, yes the HV are concerned about decreasing weight, hence the increased monitoring. So they are aware of issues. If you are concerned that baby looks particularly underweight, than you could anonymously mention it to the HV team.

Aeroflotgirl · 15/07/2017 14:01

Oh right, she is not being monitored anymore. Unless the baby looked very I'll I would not say anything.

user1487175389 · 15/07/2017 14:05

All my dc were vegan at 7 months old! Apart from breast milk that is. Normal diet is mushed fruit and veg and a bit of cereal at that age surely?

And there's no reason why a nutritionally aware vegan diet can't be every bit as healthy as a non-vegan one. All the protein, fat, minerals we eat in things like meat and dairy is originally derived from plants anyway. Think about it.

My dcs are amazed when I substitute flax seeds for eggs in a recipee and the result actually tastes 'eggy' - because where d'ya think chickens get their omega 3 from?! That's right, they have a diet high in linseed (flax)

user1487175389 · 15/07/2017 14:07


Lovedlost · 15/07/2017 14:11

My DD1 was EBF until she was a year old. By this time she was already talking in sentences. She'd never consumed solids. Surely this cannot be possible?
She refused formula and anything else for an awfully long time. She didn't even make any effort to crawl until she was 15 months - then just stood up and walked off!
She doesn't eat cheese, much meat at all, favouring fruit, cereals, pasta etc.
She's probably going to be hugely delayed, once she's finished her GCSEs next year. Extraordinarily good predicted results for her Baccalaureate, so at least she'll have that. Then I anticipate a dramatic decline.
Shall I dial 999?

claraschu · 15/07/2017 14:13

My kids were completely vegan and ebf at that age. One of them was absolutely monstrously fat- not sure there is a correlation.

I do know a couple of vegans who have very tiny children, and they are on the not particularly-well-balanced-eating end of vegan. It does take some extra trouble and a love of food to eat really well as a vegan, so there are some vegans who don't do a great job.

mumwhatnothing · 15/07/2017 14:18

I have not read the full thread but..breast milk is vegan if the mother is following a vegan diet.

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