Should You Raise Your Baby Without Meat?

If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, should you raise your child as one? Many celebrity parents, such as Alicia Silverstone (vegan) and Bethenny Frankel (vegetarian) are raising their babies to follow their own nutritional beliefs.

In France recently, a vegan couple was charged with neglect after their toddler daughter died as a result of a vitamin A and B12 deficiency. The mother fed her daughter solely on her own breast milk, which was void of the essential vitamins that her daughter needed to grow. So, is a vegan or vegetarian diet safe for baby?

The jury is still out

There is great debate when it comes to which camp is correct, the carnivores or the vegans/vegetarians. Even doctors don't have a collective definitive answer when it comes to which diet is best for babies. Some stand in favor of vegan/vegetarian diets and others feel a meat/dairy diet is essential for babies to receive all the nutrients they need to properly develop.

Trust your instincts… and do your homework

Before you embark on any nutritional plan for your child, speak with your pediatrician or your child's health care provider to get expert advice on how to ensure your child receives all the essential vitamins and nutrients she needs. Remember that no two bodies are the same. Some foods that you love may disagree with baby, or she may enjoy foods that don't agree with you.

Let your baby decide

There is absolutely nothing wrong with presenting your child with a variety of healthy, lean and nutrient-packed foods (whether animal- or plant-based) and letting him make his own decision. Healthy babies get their essential nutrients and vitamins from a variety of different foods.

The bottom line

Regardless of how you choose to feed your child – with or without meat and dairy products – you need to pay special attention to the essential nutrients your child needs, such as DHA, vitamins A, D, and B12, omega-3 fats, protein and iron, whether via animal-based or plant-based foods or nutritional supplement.

More on baby nutrition

How often should I feed my baby
Homemade baby food: a fresh start to healthy eating

Healthy eating time-line for baby's first year

Tags: vegan baby

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