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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:
BertieBotts · 15/07/2017 14:27

"saying... this mother as a vegan is producing high quality milk or even milk that contains everything this baby needs is as daft... as saying all mothers can produce high quality milk"

Neither statement is daft, it's HUMAN MILK. Confused By definition it's high quality and contains everything a baby needs (aside from some small tastes of solids) at 7 months.

It would be the same if the mother lived on Domino's Pepperoni Pizza and Big Macs, by the way. You have to be dying of starvation before your milk will become poor quality.

siblingproblems · 15/07/2017 14:29

Loads of babies are small, not just vegan ones. I have a friend who is a big meat eater and she has an 18m old who eats loads (and a good range of different foods) but is still in 9-12 clothes, no health issues, just tiny. None of your business.

ZippyCameBack · 15/07/2017 14:30

so there are some vegans who don't do a great job.
That's true of any group, really. The difference is, other groups are less likely to be singled out and accused of failing to feed their children adequately.
I'm not vegan, but as a shameless overbreeder I do have plenty of experience of babies of various sizes. Sometimes they are just small. In our family, there are about 50% really tiny people and 50% hugely tall ones, so our children are also a very mixed bunch. After the first, none were weighed after a few days old, but we did keep an eye on their size and it's fairly obvious if a baby isn't growing at all.
I do think it's interesting that you don't seem able to raise your "concerns" with the mother directly for fear of upsetting the friendship group, but you'd be fine with going behind her back and speaking to a HV. That doesn't say anything great about your character.
It's quite possible that her HV is not well informed on veganism anyway, and perhaps is a busybody. I'm quite sure that there are some excellent HV's out there, but I've met some real horrors!

insancerre · 15/07/2017 14:30

Op's update still doesn't make sense though
The baby has a normal diet but is small for its age
So, its got nothing to do with a vegan diet
Op is just worried baby is small
I wonder if the op would be as concerned if the mum wasn't vegan

Blahblahy · 15/07/2017 14:33

Everything I want to say has been said so just Biscuit and mind your own damn business.

Blahblahy · 15/07/2017 14:34

And I say this as a mother who had her ds drop from 50th to -3. Luckily none of my 'friends' felt I was being a shitty mother and went behind my back.

Whoknewitwastrue · 15/07/2017 14:38

TickIn - all babies should be monitored to ensure they are growing and developing properly, but babies that have dropped centiles or are small should be weighed regularly.

The op says baby was born average weight and is now looking small for size, which suggests centiles have been drop. A symptom of lots of health issues is small stature and poor weight gain. These are just medical facts and weighing regularly helps identify these children and intervene early.

Could all be perfectly fine of course but could be an underlying issue too. I've had two babies drop centiles, one was fine, the other has a chronic health condition and remains small. A seven month old should be weighed every couple of months just to check things are fine, especially if there have been previous concerns about weight.

Whoknewitwastrue · 15/07/2017 14:40

And I would add, the vast majority of parents do that naturally. I still monitor my five year old regularly as do most parents I know.

StiginaGrump · 15/07/2017 14:45

You can be low in calcium and you'd milk will be fine sand as iron levels

You can be a shit chip eating vegan and make great milk.

nocoolnamesleft · 15/07/2017 14:46

Hopefully, the mum 1)intends to prolong breast feeding for quite some time yet, 2)is on a decent vitamin/iron supplement herself, and 3)is educated on how to provide appropriate nutrition to a young child who is otherwise vegan. Clearly if she stopped breast feeding, it's a whole other story.

However, vegan mother or not, if the baby is literally smaller than an average 3 month old (rather than smaller than one very specific high centile 3 month old!), having been born on an average centile, then they should at least be getting weighed occasionally to make sure that they're sticking to a new centile, rather than continuing to fall off them. How tall are mum and dad? If they're both very short it would be a lot less worrying. If they're both very tall, it really is worrying.

Blazedandconfused · 15/07/2017 15:01

This has been quite an insightful thread. Ds1 was mostly, unintentionally, vegan for nearly a year, with an egg and dairy allergy. Just occasional tastes of meat. Many babies are for 6/7 months or so

Are babies still technically vegan though, if consuming human milk?

DS2 now drinks cows milk but would happily eat veg/ lentil/ chickpea curry with rice. Or pasta in tomato sauce, for most if his meals. We tend to avoid the foods that DS1 cant eat, so often choose non creamy, no egg things.

If I'd decided to breastfeed DS2 for longer, or chosen a non dairy milk (of which there are lots easily available and fortified for toddlers), he could easily be vegan too. And very healthy with it.

I think it is easier and more common than you would think, to be very well nourished, and vegan.

Giddyaunt18 · 15/07/2017 15:02

lovedlost Grin

ItWentInMyEye · 15/07/2017 15:27

Might just be a small baby! My DD was vegan due to many food allergies/intolerances but was a healthy weight and size for her age.

LittleIda · 15/07/2017 15:35

If it was veganism affecting breast milk you were concerned about it says this on the nhs site
Breastfeeding on a vegan diet
If you have been taking vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplements as part of your vegan diet, continue taking it while you are breastfeeding.
You should be able to get all the other vitamins and minerals you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

anchor9 · 15/07/2017 16:10


ffs really. i've seen some dummies on the internet in my time but πŸ‘ŠπŸΌβœŠπŸΌπŸ‘ŠπŸΌβœŠπŸΌ

SkintAsASkintThing · 15/07/2017 16:14

Why's everyone leaping on the op ?? Children on strict, vegan diets have died from does happen. Id be wondering about fats etc.too, especially if a child is very small.

SunnySkiesSleepsintheMorning · 15/07/2017 16:16

MN: "yes!"
OP: 'ok ill mind my own."
Pile in people: and continues to berate OP.

I mean, I think she was about as unreasonable and nosy as they come but some of you are just being silly now.

Gileswithachainsaw · 15/07/2017 16:27

Aren't alot of babies effectively vegan besides the odd chunk of cat food or insect at 7 months?

Aren't the two countries (uk and usa) most obsessed with neat and dairy also the ones with the highest obesity and heart disease rates?

Any diet can be shit and any diet can be healthy why people worry about vegans over those who's kids live off orange food I don't know.

corythatwas · 15/07/2017 16:27

Skint, the child isn't on a strict vegan diet: she is breastfed and is only having fruit and veg as introduction to solids, the way all babies do.

Gileswithachainsaw · 15/07/2017 16:44

And skint you can be fat and malnourished too.

You hear of far more children with poor diets and who are overweight by school and /or end of year six shown by the national measuring programme than you hear of dying vegan babies.

Places like macdonalds are always heaving. Every restaurant has a kids menu full of cheap processes shite because of the assumption and increasing rates of children who only eat breaded items you see obese children several times a day daily. Kids under one holding bags of quavers or happy meal toys. What you don't see is collapsed vegans on the ground.

People on restricted diets are more likely to cook from scratch And try to balance the meals. Precisely because they can't reach for the birdseye and instant mashed potato.

TabascoToastie · 15/07/2017 16:50

There was one famous case where a baby died after being raised on a "vegan" diet, but the parents defined vegan as no breast milk, so the baby was being raised on things like soy milk. The parents were convicted and jailed, and the case got a huge amount of international attention. Unfortunately I think that one case created a lot of ill will towards vegan parents, and created the false impression that vegan babies are not breastfed.

Gileswithachainsaw · 15/07/2017 16:53

I think one of the cases wanted far as no medicines and vaccinations too. That of course is a problem woukd he regardless of vegan or omnivire status. It is rarely down to a vegan diet alone there are usually other factors

reuset · 15/07/2017 17:15


True. Though I think most people mean the baby is no more vegan than other babies drinking their mother's breast milk and in early stages of weaning. Possibly anyway Grin

reuset · 15/07/2017 17:17

Why's everyone leaping on the op ?? Children on strict, vegan diets have died from does happen

Links, stats, Skint?

SmileEachDay · 15/07/2017 17:21

[[ ]]

Breast milk is vegan. Link above explains why.

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