Did you know November 1st is World Vegan Day? It’s an annual celebration of Veganism and the benefits a plant-based diet can have on our health and the environment. In the midst of the #ClimateCrisis, veganism is rapidly growing in popularity. We understand that you want the very best for your little one, and if you’re thinking about raising your baby vegan, you’re not alone!
If you have made the transition to veganism yourself, you’ll already have a grasp on the challenges faced when leading a Vegan lifestyle. However, raising your baby vegan is sure to come with its own unique challenges. Discover our tips for raising your baby vegan.
Consider Breastfeeding For Longer When Raising Your Baby Vegan
If you’re raising your baby vegan, you can still introduce them to solid foods when they reach six months old, just as you would for a non-vegan baby. However, to ensure your baby is getting the nutrition they need, it’s best to continue giving them breast milk up until they are 12 months old.
Once your baby has reached the one-year milestone, you can switch to other types of milk.. non-dairy of course! Soy and Almond milk are great alternatives to cow’s milk, however, make sure you choose the brand that’s fortified with B12 vitamins. Vitamin B12 is usually found in animal products such as eggs, cheese and milk. It’s an important vitamin for your baby.
Added Nutrients And Vitamins Are Essential When Raising Your Baby Vegan
As long as your baby is getting the essential nutrients; a vegan diet can be perfectly healthy. So, when creating delicious meals for your little one, you need to ensure they’re packed with the right nutrients. These include iodine, Omega-3, Iron, Calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin B12, which we have already mentioned.
Iodine is usually found in dairy products and is essential for brain development. If you’re raising your baby vegan, make sure you’re adding plenty of grains to your baby’s foods. Cereals and grains are a good source of iodine. Alternatively, opt for plant-based milk that’s fortified with iodine.
Omega-3 fatty acids can improve your child’s development. Although the very best source of Omega-3 fatty acids is found in oily fish, Omega-3 is also found in linseed, flaxseed oil, ground chia seeds and walnuts. You should consult your doctor or a health professional before adding nuts to your baby’s diet.
Iron deficiency, also known as Anaemia, is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. It’s important that your baby is getting enough iron once they are introduced to solid foods. Thankfully, there are many plant-based sources of iron that you can incorporate into your baby’s diet. These include chickpeas, lentils, dark green veggies, soybeans, whole grains and dried fruits, such as apricots and figs (these are yummy when blended!).
Milk alternatives, such as Soya and Almond milk are often fortified with calcium. And much like iron, calcium is also found in green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils and chickpeas. Calcium can also be found in tahini and almond butter.
Focus On Protein And Calories When Raising Your Baby Vegan
One of the biggest challenges when raising your baby on a plant-based diet is ensuring they are getting the protein and calories they need. Protein is important for your baby’s growth and development, so try to incorporate plant-based foods that are high in protein into your baby’s diet. These include tofu, nuts and strained veggies such as lentils, chickpeas and beans. Hummus and nut butter are firm favourites for vegan families.
Guaranteeing your baby is getting enough calories is probably one of the biggest challenges when raising your baby vegan. As you know, a vegan diet tends to be high in fibre. And fibre fills up little tummies very quickly without providing enough calories. Protein-fuelled foods and iron-fortified ingredients are a great way to add extra calories to your baby’s diet.
Try To Cook From Scratch Using Fresh Ingredients
Pureed and blended foods are usually recommended for babies who have just switched to solids. Preparing meals for your infant from scratch enables you to keep an eye on your baby’s nutrient and vitamin intake. The Vegan Society has lots of delicious vegan recipes, specifically for babies and toddlers! You can also get healthy, vegan baby food that’s perfect for when you’re on the go. These delicious, plant-based pouches can be enjoyed anywhere, like from the comfort of your baby’s luxury stroller.