Raise Baby Without Meat

If you and your partner follow a specific eating or lifestyle choice, should you raise your baby to do the same? As long as baby is getting the nutrients he needs, why not?

baby breastfeeding

Milk

Milk is considered vegetarian but not vegan. If you’re breastfeeding, you’re in luck because it is vegan. If you’re not nursing, you can try to get breast milk through an approved milk bank or ask your doctor about a soy-based infant formula for your baby. However, note that vitamins in soy formulas contain a trace amount of animal products. If you have concerns, contact the product’s manufacturer. Most doctors will suggest you avoid giving your baby animal milk until the first year.

First foods

All baby’s first foods – fruits and vegetables -- are naturally vegan and vegetarian. If you can, buy organic produce and make your own baby food to ensure the integrity of the food for your baby. Most of baby’s first cereals, such as rice and oatmeal, are vegan and vegetarian friendly as well. Make sure to check all labels and if you are raising baby to be vegan, mix water or breastmilk with the cereal instead of cow’s milk. Ask your doctor before substituting breastmilk or water for soy, almond and coconut milks or otherwise.

Stage two foods

When it’s time to start introducing baby to the next stage of foods, introduce vegan and vegetarian proteins like mashed cooked beans, tofu or tempeh. Cut or mash the foods until baby is ready for more solid bites.

It’s not just eating, it’s a lifestyle

For many vegetarians and vegans, the methods go beyond simply what you put into your mouths. Consider vegan baby shampoos, lotions, blankets, clothing and shoes.

Talk to your doctor

Speak with your child’s health care provider before deciding on any diet plan for baby. Your child’s development is of utmost importance in his infant stages so you’ll want to proceed with any lifestyle change with caution.

More on feeding baby healthfully

Homemade baby food: A fresh start to healthy eating
Concentrations of certain toxins in breastmilk are low
Sensitivity to dietary proteins in breastmilk causing colic

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