When you’re a new parent, you are constantly thinking of the health and safety of your child. You often put your own health and safety on the back burner, because your so laser focused on you child.
It’s one thing if you (adult) are plant based/vegan, but what about your kids, what about your newborn? It can be a little intimidating and loaded with uncertainty.
Just like a lot of situations in life, we fall into traditional lifestyles when raising our kids and it varies from food to religion and everywhere in between. But, for the sake of this post and my scattered thoughts, we’ll stick with diet for now.
When it comes to feeding babies a vegan/plant-based diet, there is quite a bit of confusion and uncertainty… and rightly so because traditionally, plant-based nutrition has not been a real topic of focus for medical professionals.
Personally, my youngest son has never had any animal products. When he was born, my wife and I were vegan for about 2 years. So we just carried on with him being vegan as well, along with our 13 year old, at the time.
Were we skeptical of our decision, even though we knew the health benefits of plant-based eating? Sure we were… This lifestyle was fairly new to us, but we pushed forward and the results have been eye opening, to say the least.
All the questions/concerns we may have had on our decision to raise our baby this way, soon were all answered as we hit milestone after milestone.
What do the Doctors say?
So, will you lean on you physician or pediatrician to recommend or even advise you and you’re family on plant-based foods. How could they, really? This is foreign to most physicians. They don’t want to veer to far off the FDA guidelines, the way they were taught or even the old fashion way of living, following traditions.
It makes sense that most pediatricians teach and advise on what they were taught, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that such advice provides the only or best way to feed your child.
There is no need to take our little one to the pediatrician much lately, he’s got all the shots he needs and doesn’t get sick much at all. But, when we were going for check-ups and shots, we got all the questions about diet, even given us advice on diet and it had nothing to do with a vegan diet.
We weren’t mad at all, that’s just part of the traditional routine. We just nodded and said “yes, he’s eating well and drinking plenty of milk” ( soy, that is )
Fortunately, times are changing and doctors like Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Michelle McMacken and Dr. Garth Davis are leading the way.
But, historically it was thought that a vegan diet was not a sufficient source of nutrition for adequate development and growth during the infant period (0-2 years) where there is a lot of cell proliferation and maturation of vital organs and systems, however we now know a well balanced vegan diet is perfectly fine for an infant from birth. In an article published in the Journal of American Dietetic Association.
Diets of vegan children meet or exceed recommendations for most nutrients, and vegan children have higher intakes of fiber and lower intakes of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than omnivore children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated this too, confirming a balanced vegan diet can be a perfectly healthy form of nutrition you choose for your baby.
So how are the kids today?
I will remove my Daddy goggles for the next few paragraphs.
Our youngest, who is 3 years old is thriving. He speaks in complete sentences, loves to learn, has a fantastic personality, great temperament, loving, caring young man.
Our oldest, is now 17, is thriving as well. He also speaks in complete sentences too! All, kidding aside. He is a very smart young man, great athlete, baseball player and practicing body builder.
So, if you were like me and had questions about raising your baby or children vegan/plant-based, do you’re homework. Listen to other experiences, don’t fall into the traditional beliefs. The benefits are amazing, not just for health. You’re kids will grow up being aware of the positive environmental impact they’re having in the world along with growing up with compassion for animals.