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Raising a Vegan Baby: The First Year

Raising a Vegan Baby: The First Year

This is such a cliché, but it seems like just yesterday that my son was born. The 40-plus hours of labor that I suffered through felt like it lasted a lifetime, but the year since then has gone by in a flash. Now that I’m celebrating my son Dylan’s very first birthday—and a rock ‘n’ roll birthday, at that—I’ve realized it’s a good time to pass on what I’ve learned as a first-time vegan parent who is raising a vegan child.

First and foremost, raising your child vegan isn’t as difficult or complicated as some sources might lead you to believe. Babies need lots of love and care during their first year, but there are only a few areas of their early life that you need to veganize.

MILK

Doctors recommend breastfeeding infants, and yep, breast milk is vegan. If you can’t breastfeed or choose not to, you can try to score breast milk from a vegan donor by going through an approved milk bank, or you can go the soy formula route. The vitamins in soy formula may contain trace amounts of animal products, but you can check with the manufacturer and decide what is best for your family. Please be sure to read PETA’s stance on trace amounts of animal products.

FOOD

A baby’s first foods are typically fruits, veggies, and rice cereal—all of which are naturally vegan.Once your baby is ready for small pieces of food instead of having everything pureed, you can introduce proteins such as tofu, tempeh, and soft cooked beans, and there’s no need for meat! Just remember to feed your baby, vegan or not, a wide variety of foods and a balanced diet.

PERSONAL CARE

There are currently a ton of options for all-natural, vegan baby lotion, bath wash, diaper cream, and more. I personally love the smell of Method’s Squeaky Green Hair + Body Wash, which is scented with rice milk and mallow. Delicious!

CLOTHING

Vegans skip fur, leather, and wool in favor of cruelty-free fabrics, but as most babies I know aren’t sporting leather pants or fur coats, this one is easy. Most play clothes are made from cotton—it’s only the dressier items that may contain wool and the shoes that may contain leather, so be sure to read the label.

The doctors and child-care providers that I’ve been in touch with during Dylan’s first year have been extremely knowledgeable about veganism and supportive of my choice. They seem to respect that every parent has the right to choose what is best for their child and raise them according to those beliefs, until the child can make his or her own choices. I realize that this isn’t the case for everyone and that some people might act like you are depriving your child by choosing a vegan diet for him or her, but who could say that this little guy doesn’t look healthy and happy?

Raising a Vegan Baby

This advice is just the tip of the iceberg, and I’d like to know what all the other vegan moms out there think too. What are your best tips or advice for parenting a vegan infant?

Peta.orgPeople for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 3 million members and supporters. PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in the clothing trade, in laboratories, and in the entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds, and other “pests” as well as cruelty to domesticated animals. PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.

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8 comments on “Raising a Vegan Baby: The First Year”

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5 Years Ago

Im confused why so many people don't understand the breast milk thing. It's for a human baby. Anyway, good for you. I know the first year vegan will be easy, and in general because i have been for ten years. But I hope you continue to write about your experience as your baby grows. I do not believe however that an all plant based formula would be a healthy start for a child. They need Mothers milk and I'm really happy, that for those who can not produce, have milk banks to turn to.


Reply
Willow
5 Years Ago

Regarding the comment on soy containing estrogen...cow milk has estrogen in it along with other hormones because it comes from a lactating mammal. If you don't like soy there is always rice milk, hemp milk and almond milk available.


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5 Years Ago

From what I understand, soy milk is high in estrogen. If eating soy can help menopausal women with hot flashes, I wouldn't feed that to my baby boy, or girl for that matter, as thier primary source of milk as an infant.


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Liz
5 Years Ago

uummmmm, breast milk is not vegan. It comes from a mammal not a carrot or a potato. I stopped reading at that point even though I'm a vegan. It was a silly statement.


Reply
Brandi
13 Dec 2011

Yes, it comes from a mammal but it is from the baby's mother just as a cow's milk is meant for her calf. It truly wasn't a "silly statement." It was actually produced for that baby, unlike cow's milk...

Jackie
07 Jan 2012

No animals were harmed in the creation of breast milk.

Sharon
29 Jan 2012

Seriously??? Why are you vegan? If it's for ethical reasons, milk that's coming from a willing mother to her young is not remotely abuse or exploitation. Environmental reasons? Not an issue here? Health reasons? Breast milk is by far the healthiest option for a newborn baby. Sounds like you're in it for some kind of purity contest or something, which really just defeats the whole purpose.



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