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Thread: Nursing and raising kids vegan

  1. #1

    Question Nursing and raising kids vegan

    Hi,

    I am just starting out as a vegan and as a parent. My daughter is almost five months old so right now it is just up to my diet while breastfeeding her. I try to do the best I can as far a health goes, I take regular veg prenatals, vitamin B-12, and when I was pregnant an iron supp. I drink soy milk fortified with DHA. It seems that at every turn though I find out something else I am eating is not healthy. I am being told now that soy is terrible for you. I was having soy milk everyday, tofu, and lots of soy meat replacers (which I realize probably aren't that good anyway because of all the processing). I have also recently realized that when I thought I was being healthy by eating wheat bread, I was only adding more high fructose corn syrup to my diet. It is also in ketchup and grape jelly, which I will be abandoning for the organic versions.

    When she starts solids I suppose it will be easy because she will still be getting most of her nurtition from breastmilk and with little babies you usually only give mashed up vegetables and fruits anyway. But for me nursing and for her later on, I am worried about putting together balanced meals.

    I have a lot of concerns, obviously, so what I am looking for is any advice you can give. Meal plans, recipes, general advice on rasing vegan kids, how to deal with peers, other caregivers, family, etc.


    My partner is non-veg but he is supportive. He looks up recipes and cooks for me. He totally gets the lifestyle and how I will be raising our daughter. Somehow though I have rubbed off on him very little though. He still eats meat and dairy. There is very little meat in our house, some frozen chicken strips and a can of meat ravioli, but I never cook it for him. Sometimes his mother gives him meat and he always eats it at fast food places. There are no eggs or cheese in our kitchen because I am recently vegan enough to miss it, but there are products he eats which contain such.

    I wonder someday how I will explain it all to my daughter. We don't eat meat or dairy because we love animals and don't want to hurt them. But daddy doesn't. Is daddy bad? Is daddy evil? It is all very confusing.

    I already face criticism and challenges from family members. My mother, who is a veggie but not vegan, became super concerned and upset when I was pregnant to the point that I went to a dietician, who was of absolutely no help with meal plans or anything but assured her that it could be done safely. My baby eased her fears when she came out healthy 8 lbs 12 oz and is now above the 97th percentile for weight and in the 97th for height. She is a chunky veg baby! My brother relentlessly teases that he is going to take my daughter out for her first steak someday. And that is my family, my partners is MUCH WORSE!

    So, how has raising vegan children been for you? What kind of meals do you prepare in a typical week? Have your kids ever tried meat or dairy at other people's houses? Do they champion your cause? Do you have problems from in-laws or other family/friends? Has anyone ever fed your young, unaware child meat or dairy? What are the day to day challenges you face? Are your kids healthy? Do you get problems from your pediatrician? Do your kids take vitamins (all the childrens vitamins in my supermarket contain gelatin)?

    Do you have any other tips, tricks, or advice to being a veg parent?

    THANK YOU

  2. #2
    Cake Fairy Cherry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nursing and raising Kids Vegan

    One step at a time That's my advice.

  3. #3
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nursing and raising Kids Vegan

    Welcome!

    For starters, maybe have a look at the other thread in the Parents' subforum?

    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Nursing and raising Kids Vegan

    There are lots of vegan parents here!

    Ask one question at a time, and read a bit, and you'll find answers. It is really quite easy if you just change the way you think. (As if that was easy)

    But it can be done!

    I've got two vegan (since before pregnancy) kids that are 3yo and 5yo. Both are really healthy (other than the diarriah that just hit the neighborhood). Heck, they're good showing helped our pediatrician go vegan too! It can be done, and it can be really healhty.
    context is everything

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Nursing and raising Kids Vegan

    The www.vegetarian.org.uk gives free advice on nutrition,
    by a senior nutritionist.

    I'd highly recommend you write to them asap.

    There are a lot of myths on soy. They may help you clear some up.

    Also, tell those annoying people who criticize you, that Many (if not most)
    children get terrible colics because their mothers drink cow milk and dairy,
    so you're actually sparing your child that pain.

    Also, just tell them how meat is full of antibiotics etc etc
    and you know? you may even get to their level and make THEM
    feel like bad parents or whatever for feeding their children
    some bad food or take milk away from mother cows (if they care about animals)..

    As for your husband....
    that's not nice for sure. I can see why you're worrying about future explanations.

    you know...
    i think your daughter will figure out what the answer is by herself....

    It's good enough he's supportive.
    But it sounds like he may think it's not " a male" thing, to be vegan.

    I think your best bet, (if he's not the jealous kind) is for you to find a male
    friend or colleague etc who's vegan (or vegetarian) and who is pretty cool
    and fit (fitter than your husband would be great).

    Then, without even having to rub it in, he'd get the message that it's actually healthy AND cool to be a male vegan, and he may strive to look good and get into
    competition mode with that fellow and turn vegan quite suddendly.

    the problem is finding a male vegan around you i guess!

    anyway, all the best.

    You made the best choice of course.
    just take your time to find out information.

    as for a good vegan book, I am absolutely loving
    "the joys of vegan baking".
    I already tried at least 10 recipes there and they are all amazing.
    Both you and your child will love them!
    My nephews do !



    but really, write to the nutritionist on the website (i think
    you have to register first, but they gave me advice for free anyway when i asked).

    bye good luck

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Nursing and raising Kids Vegan

    I have lots of little vegan children, and another one on the way! My first piece of advice is - follow your instincts!
    Read as much as you can, ask many questions, and ignore criticisim.

    And to answer some of your questions :

    Have your kids ever tried meat or dairy at other people's houses?
    As far as I know, my children have not had meat or dairy. My oldest daughter is now ten, so I expect that there may have been one time that she did eat it by accident (probably at a restaurant rather than at someones house).

    What kind of meals do you prepare in a typical week?
    I keep a blog where I post lots of photos and information about our diets, mainly so that I can keep track of what we eat. (I think my blog information is on my profile)
    I do not feed my children much processed food. We eat huge amounts of nuts, seeds, fruit, veg, beans and pulses.
    My main advice for food would be that variety is key! I did not feed my babies solid food untill they were at least 10 months, but that is of course a personal choice.

    Do they champion your cause?

    My 5 year old says she 'wont eat her friends' when anyone asks. My eight year old is what I would call a quiet vegan - he wont touch meat or dairy yet he doesnt make a big deal of it in front of friends. My 11 year old is very proud of being compassionate to animals!

    Do you have problems from in-laws or other family/friends?

    Sometimes but I think that as the children are so healthy, they dont really have much to say.

    Are your kids healthy?

    Yes, I think they are anyway!

    Do your kids take vitamins (all the childrens vitamins in my supermarket contain gelatin)?

    No they do not. I ensure that they get everything they need from their diets.

    I hope that helps a little!
    Mother to five vegan children
    Visit our family blog - www.dailyhealthylife.blogspot.com

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Nursing and raising Kids Vegan

    First of all, congratulations!
    We also have a baby girl, 7 months old now, after 3 boys! They're all tall in the top of the percentiles for height, started out high in height, but as the older boys have gotten older they've seemed to level off around the 50-75% in weight.
    Check out my blog if you'd like, it's mostly about the kids food: http://disposableaardvarksinc.blogspot.com/

    - Krista
    mama to Ryan (7), AJ (6), Nate (3), Maia (1), all born at home.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Nursing and raising kids vegan

    Thank you everyone! I would especially like to thank those with blogs, I will be checking them out for sure!

    Anyone know if this vegan meal planner is good, I am deciding whether or not to spend the cash:
    http://www.ezhealthydiet.com/vegan-meal-plan.html

    I saw the vegan baking book in the bookstore the other day. I will have to pick it up soon!

    Vegetarian Cat:
    Thanks for the nutritionist website! As for hubby, I do not think it is a manly thing. I think it is more of a set in his ways thing. He is one of those people who is more comfortable doing things the way he always has and accepts them to be. There must be some part of him that wants change though since he fell in love with me! Almost everything I do challenges what he (and most) consider normal, especially since our daughter was born. He stands behind me though, even against his mother. (Anecdote: he was telling his mother one day about the stuff he cooks here and eating veggie burgers, for some reason she flipped out. She said "I will not become a vegetarian (no one is asking you to, lady)" and a great line "God wants us to eat meat!" Ha!)

    Veganfamily,
    I know this is not relevant to veganism but I would like to know more about delaying solids. I seem to get conflicting info and my pedi has really been pushing them since 4 mos. I said no way until 6, but should I delay further?

  9. #9
    treaclemine
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    Default Re: Nursing and raising kids vegan

    Sandra Hood is a vegan registered dietitian who specialises in pre-parenthood, pregnancy, breast-feeding, weaning and infant nutrition.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Nursing and raising kids vegan

    Quote Bellarose View Post
    I would like to know more about delaying solids. I seem to get conflicting info and my pedi has really been pushing them since 4 mos. I said no way until 6, but should I delay further?
    Check out the book Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley.

    As for when to start solids, it should be determined by developmental readiness, not the silly chronological age that pediatricians push, who usually know very little about nutrition sadly.
    Signs that a baby is developmentally ready include:
    - loss of the tongue-thrust reflex
    - use of a pincer grasp (picking up things with thumb & forefinger)
    - sitting unassisted
    - an interest in self-feeding
    ...and some opposing teeth sure can't hurt!
    mama to Ryan (7), AJ (6), Nate (3), Maia (1), all born at home.

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Nursing and raising kids vegan

    As with anything concerning your children, you have to do what is right for them. Our personal choice to delay solids was for several reasons. We believe that it can help prevent food allergies. It also encourages more nursing, which inturn provides more immunties from illness. It also takes away some of the worry that your child will be lacking in something (because lets face it, children can be picky little eaters and when your limited to a vegan diet, it is essential that they get everything they need).

    Most of all , we listened to the child. My youngest daughter sat with us at the table at meal times for a long time when she was only nursing. She watched us but showed no interest in eating herself until about 8 months. After that she gradually began to experiment with some food, but breastmilk was sill the majority of her diet. It just gradually increased from there.

    I honestly think the best thing you can do it not to force anything. You child will naturally start to eat when the time is right.
    Mother to five vegan children
    Visit our family blog - www.dailyhealthylife.blogspot.com

  12. #12

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    Default Re: Nursing and raising kids vegan

    Hi,

    It certainly isn't easy sometimes when you want to do the best for your kids and other people give you pressure because their views are different. I think it's important to teach your kids that you are doing it because you care about their health and the way they live their lives so it has minimum impact on other beings sharing the planet.

    Everybody has a choice in life as to how they live their lives and I think that it is good to teach our kids that we respect others' choices - even if they are different to ours. This is probably a healthy way to live, not just with food choices but many other aspects are living. Kids will then grow up having respect for others but being proud of who they are and how they live their lives.

    Sometimes people can feel threatened if somebody does something different to them and they are not quite sure why. This is ok and normal to the human existence!

    Hope this helps!

    From a vegan mom of a super healthy vegan boy who is the fittest and fastest in his class - scored 7 tries in two rugby matches and is on the go all day.................!!!!

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