The question is, “Can a baby have vegan diet?”
Vegetarian diets can be healthy for children in general, as long as their nutritional requirements are met. When it comes to a vegan diet for a small child or infant, however, Manisha Panchal, M.D., a pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, says the topic gets more challenging.
What can you read in this article?
- Can babies be vegan
- Is a vegan diet safe for babies
- Baby vegan diet
- Vegetarian babies risks
- Do you need to consult the doctor
Baby vegan diet. | Photo by Viktoria Slowikowska from Pexels
Can babies be vegan
Vegan diets exclude all animal products, including eggs and dairy, and this offers certain particular concerns for babies and toddlers, according to Dr. Panchal, due to their quick growth rate.
Infants and early children, according to Dr. Panchal, require more protein, calcium, and vitamins D and B12 than adults. Milk and milk products contain a lot of these nutrients, which vegan diets don’t allow.
You may ensure a healthy vegan diet for your newborn for the first year by nursing or providing a soy-based infant formula that has been recommended by your pediatrician. Sometimes vitamin B12, vitamin D and iron supplements are given during the first year, but be sure to ask your pediatrician.
When your child starts eating meals with other kids, he may start to question your dietary choices. Parents can assist by discussing why they chose a vegetarian or vegan diet. Discuss your eating habits with your child.
Is a vegan diet safe for babies
It becomes increasingly challenging to maintain sufficient nutrition on a vegan diet after your child turns one.
Babies and toddlers require high-fat, high-protein, low-fiber meals, which are the polar opposite of many vegan diets. Make sure your kid eats cooked beans, lentils, tofu, avocados, soy yogurt, and almonds.
Because picky toddlers may resist these limits, some parents choose to supplement their children’s diets with organic eggs and milk from farms that adhere to strict animal welfare standards.
Adult nutrition guidelines cannot be immediately applied to a baby or toddler. If you’re serious about your child eating a vegan diet, contact a pediatrician and a nutritionist who can help you. Otherwise, your newborn or toddler is highly likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies.
Baby vegan diet
Meal planning for vegan babies diet will most likely be more difficult. Protein, fat, and carbs are the three macronutrients that should be considered in all diets. The correct proportions of protein and fat are especially important for vegan newborns.
Dr. Amy Chow, pediatric dietitian, says that plant-based proteins (beans, peas, lentils, tofu, nut/seed butters) can usually substitute animal proteins in a vegan diet, but only if animal proteins are sufficiently supplied. Feeding your child low-protein vegan milk alternatives like almond, coconut, or rice milk should be done with caution. These are not suggested for newborns and toddlers since they will fill their little stomachs without providing much nutrition.
Getting enough fat also helps babies’ bodies and minds grow. Chow also recommends using vegetable oil, nut and seed butters, hemp hearts, crushed flax seeds, chia seeds, and avocado as healthy plant-based fat sources.
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Vegetarian babies risks
Baby vegan diet. | Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
On a vegan diet, the nutrients to be concerned about are those that are found in smaller concentrations in plants than in animal sources. Vitamin B12, iodine, iron, and calcium are among them, but they aren’t the only ones.
The micronutrient vitamin B12 can be found in meats, eggs, and dairy products. Many fortified foods, such as morning cereals and soy milk, are high in B12, so make sure to give your kid lots of these.
Although seafood, eggs, and milk products are the finest sources of iodine, it can also be found in some cereals and grains. Lastly, because fortified salt accounts for a large portion of our food supply, you may need to supplement this nutrient in your child’s diet.
According to Dr. Chow, because additional salt is not normally suggested for kids under the age of 12 months, vegan babies may be at risk for iodine deficiency. Babies’ iron requirements are highest between the ages of 7 and 12 months due to their rapid growth rate.
Non-heme iron derived from plants, on the other hand, has a limited bioavailability (has less of an active effect in the body). Furthermore, the higher fiber content of a vegan diet — notably, some chemicals found in grains and beans — may reduce the active effect even further.
Moreover, a vegan diet may fill your baby’s small GI tract with too much fiber. This can result in not just gas, diarrhea, and increased fussiness, but it can also have other, less evident repercussions. Too much fiber can prevent key elements like iron, zinc, and calcium from being absorbed properly.
Do you need to consult the doctor
Photo by Alex Green from Pexels
There are situations when parents should seek assistance from a dietitian and consult their child’s pediatrician:
- It’s possible that if a child isn’t gaining weight or isn’t meeting developmental milestones, it’s because he or she isn’t getting enough calories or nutrients.
- Anemia can develop in a youngster who does not get enough iron. Lack of energy, tiredness, headaches, and frequent colds are all symptoms of anemia.
- Lack of energy, weakness and pale skin are all symptoms of a B12 deficiency.
Here at theAsianparent Philippines, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advise or medical treatment. theAsianparent Philippines is not responsible to those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend to consult your doctor for clearer information.
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