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Thread: vegan and breastfeeding

  1. #1

    Default Breastfeeding? But want to go vegan?

    Okay. So, it started out as a bet. My husband and I were watching a documentary on veganism and he bet me I couldn't go vegan for a month. I bet him I could.

    Anyways, we agreed it would start on January 1st and last the entire month of January. To prepare myself, I started reading and watching videos, and I found out a lot of stuff that really scared me! And now, I find myself wanting to make the switch permanent.

    However, I need help. The thing is, I'm breastfeeding. My son started having issues around 5 or 6 months into exclusively breastfeeding, and so I cut most dairy out of my diet. It seemed to help, but then it got worse again (I'll admit, I wasn't watching the dairy as closely...) and so we started him on solids in conjunction with breastfeeding. He seemed okay at first, but then he started getting worse. And he screams and screams and screams. I put him back to exclusive breastfeeding with no solids, just breastmilk yesterday.

    I'm suspecting he has a gluten allergy. I'm not sure. But I'm worried that if I have to cut gluten out AND go vegan, then I won't have anything left that I CAN eat. And that worries me! I have to keep my nutrition up because of breastfeeding, and I still have to have decent fat intake for the breastmilk... I'm 5'6" and 125 pounds, so I don't have much on me, you know?

    I need some help and some guidance. I don't really know what I'm doing, but I know that I really want to do this. I appreciate any help you can give me!

  2. #2
    baffled harpy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Default Re: Breastfeeding? But want to go vegan?

    Hello there - I think it is quite possible to be vegan and gluten-free as well. There are grains that don't contain gluten. Also some people can handle certain types of gluten but not others I gather (e.g. some people get on better with spelt than typical wheat). Fat shouldn't be a problem as things like nuts contain "good" fat and no gluten.

    If you search the forum there are a few threads with ideas, like this one I thought there was also a wheat-free section but I can't find it.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Breastfeeding? But want to go vegan?

    Hi Samantha - welcome, and congratulations on having taken the first steps towards a healthier, kinder and more environmentally-friendly life for you and your son. Here are my thoughts, for what it's worth, though I am not a medical doctor or nutritionist:

    1. If your son is having problems with solid foods, you really need to see your paediatrician or health visitor sooner rather than later so that you can make any necessary changes to help your son continue to grow and thrive. Please don't make a guess about gluten intolerance or any other food allergy - it's too important not to get an expert involved.

    2. Being vegan and breastfeeding are totally compatible - there are lots of threads on this site to help you if you're in transition and learning about what foods and in what quantities are appropriate for you when you're breastfeeding. There are also threads about the Dieticians Society of America (or whatever it's formal name is) confirming that a vegan diet is appropriate during lactation and for infants. There are also some wonderfully supportive and informed parents of vegan babies and children on the site.

    3) There's a whole Gluten Free section to the website - again, it's not at all uncommon for people who have adopted a vegan way of life to also be completely gluten-free and eat completely healthily - but again, I'd avoid cutting out gluten until you're sure that it's a gluten intolerance that's the root of the problem.

    4) Don't worry about losing too much weight as a vegan - it can go the other way too, you know! Have a look through some of the recipe threads (particularly the cakes, cookies and sweeties) - there's the potential for as much post-baby-bulge as you want!

    Hope you get a lot from the hundreds of threads on the board - dive in, and don't be afraid to shout if you have questions.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Breastfeeding? But want to go vegan?

    Thanks for all the helpful info.

    I dont know if I mentioned this... but I'm in very rural Alaska. I have taken him to the doctor and all the idiots told me was "switch him to formula." And trust me... thats NOT happening.

  5. #5

    Default vegan and breastfeeding

    Hi, I've been breastfeeding our LO for 9months and he's doing really well. Also doing well with baby led weaning. however, wondering
    a) if he's getting enough food - he seems to be having more milk feeds now than at 4 weeks.
    b) am I getting enough food - I feel so run down and knackered -had a week of flu, but been feeling bad for a while before this- but can't think what else i need to be eating.
    c) what importance is omega 3 for growing babies and (once i stop breast feeding) can we make enough from plants sources?

  6. #6
    fortified twinkle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Midlands, UK

    Default Re: vegan and breastfeeding

    Hi moia.

    a)Are you getting your son weighed/seen by health visitor/GP? If you're worried I'd say get him checked out.
    b) Apparently breastfeeding requires 500-600 extra calories (I am looking forward to being able to nosh unlimited pies! Just kidding...kind of) on top of what you'd normally be eating - if you're not sure how much you should be eating normally there are plenty of online calculators that should tell you how many calories you should have to maintain your weight based on your height. Also, are you getting enough iron? I keep seeing women (mostly pregnant, because that's the section I'm on most at the moment ) on Mumsnet saying they've been feeling knackered and breathless and it turned out they were low on iron - I've got Floradix I've been having a bit of when I remember to! But it's difficult to know what to suggest unless you want to post a typical couple of days of your food intake, and even then you might be better off seeing a GP to get some blood tests done?
    c) There is quite a bit of info on omega 3 on here if you do a search for it, but it takes a lot of wading through! At the moment I'm trying to have plant sources like walnuts, hempseed oil, a small amount of flax seeds, apparently pinto beans are a pretty good source too, but I'm also taking a V-pure capsule to try to cover all my bases
    "If you don't have a song to sing you're okay, you know how to get along humming" Waltz (better than fine) - Fiona Apple

  7. #7

    Default Re: vegan and breastfeeding

    Hey, thanks for your kind message. I was feeling a bit below the weather yesterday (just getting over flu)and things seem more positive today! He is certainly getting enough of one food or another as he is a healthy size and weight. I've started giving him a morning snack on top of his 3 meals and he seems to be nursing a bit les today - defrinitely slept better tonight and last night too and that's just one extra rice cake a day!!

    I've restarted my multivitamins (solgar prenatal) which i kept forgetting to take and had a lot more to eat myself today too. I don't know about now but during pregnancy my iron levels were good - I was taking crushed linseed every day for the omega 3 and it's also high in iron as well as the vit pills. Think i am probably just feeling run down and getting over a virus. Will get some pinto beans in - they're really nice

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