Weaning Your Baby The Vegan Way

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If you have decided to raise your child in keeping with the vegan or vegetarian values of your home, you may need some information about the best way to ensure your child gets everything they need to be healthy.

Weaning your baby to solid foods from approximately six months is the same process for vegetarian and vegan babies as it is for other babies. By offering your baby a wide variety of foods to try, with make sure they get all the nutrients required to grow and develop normally.

What Nutrients Do They Need And Where Can You Find Them?

Iron

Iron is found in fortified cereals, dark-green vegetables, whole grains, such as wholemeal bread and brown rice, beans, lentils, and dried fruit such as apricots, figs and prunes. These fruits should be offered with a meal as opposed to a snack between meals, to help reduce the risk of cavities.

Protein

Your child will need 1-2 portions of protein-rich food every day to ensure they are consuming enough. Children who eat some animal products could do this by eating eggs and fish though as an alternative, plant foods that contain protein include beans and lentils products, such as tofu, hummus and soya mince.

Calcium

Unsweetened calcium-fortified milk alternatives, such as soya drinks, will provide your child’s calcium needs from the age of 1, as part of a balanced diet. Rice milk is not suitable for children under five years old as it may contain high levels of naturally occurring arsenic. Other sources of calcium can include bread, leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and okra – and almond nut butter.

Nuts and allergies

If your baby or child has a diagnosed food allergy, or if there is a history of allergies in the immediate family including asthma, eczema or hayfever, always be sure to speak to your health professional before offering them foods containing nuts for the first time.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 can be found in foods including eggs, cheese and milk. If you are choosing a vegan diet for your child, ensure they eat fortified with B12 such as baby breakfast cereals, soy yogurts, and non-dairy milk such as oat and almond. At the very least they should be taking a supplement that contains it.

Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are found mostly in oily fish. Think salmon and mackerel. However, if your child does not eat fish, omega-3 is found in flaxseed (linseed) oil, soya oil and soy-based foods or eggs enriched with omega-3.

Vitamins

The Department of Health recommends children aged six months to 5 years are given vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C, and D every day. The recommendation goes further that babies being breastfed should be given a daily vitamin D supplement from birth, whether the mother is taking a supplement containing vitamin D or not.

Babies having over 500ml of infant formula a day don’t need vitamin supplements as baby formula is already fortified with vitamins.

Vitamin D2 is suitable for babies and children on a vegan diet, and supplements containing vitamin D3 derived from lichen are available. You could, of course, choose to provide children friendly gummy vitamins. Your health professional can give you advice on vitamin drops for babies and young children so always check with a health professional.

Featured image photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gail_thepinkpeppercorn/5426505181

About Heather Jones

I'm a coffee addict wife, "work at home mom", mother to two boys, blogging about the latest life hacks, recipes, DIY Projects and crazy "momisodes".

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Heather Jones

I'm a coffee addict wife, "work at home mom", mother to two boys, blogging about the latest life hacks, recipes, DIY Projects and crazy "momisodes".

21 thoughts on “Weaning Your Baby The Vegan Way

  1. I’m so glad you broke down all the different nutrients and vitamins that a baby needs once they start eating solid foods. Many people don’t realize that protein can be found in foods other than meat. I love how you explained it all.

  2. These are such helpful tips for anyone who is vegan. I actually never thought about how much more you’d have to supplement in their diet when you eliminate meats and other foods. We are not vegan but we do love incorporating meals – it’s definitely a lot healthier and we notice a difference. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. I didn’t think much about this, but I did always give my kids those gummy vitamins for added nutrients! They also ate a lot of fruits.

  4. I remember it being so scary to start giving my babies actual foods. I was not sure what was ok. I have had to pay attention to food nutrients even more so now that my daughter has decided at 8 years old to be a vegetarian. Nothing like your little one going vegetarian to make me learn all there is to know about nutrients for growing kids.

  5. My kids were not really picky when they were young. As long as there is potatoes and carrots in the mix, they’d have it. It just a while before they tried broccoli. They said they don’t eat little trees.

  6. My grandchildren would eat veggies if it is not in chunks. We have to pulse it in the blender first. Maybe when they are older, they’d appreciate chewing their veggies.

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