Today's post on raising vegan children comes from our new FREE African American Vegan Starter Guide. Before we jump into the post, I'm thrilled to let you know that nearly 10,000 people have already checked out the guide since we unveiled it a few weeks ago. As one reader said, "This is amazing and one of the best guides I've seen! I will be sharing!" The guide has been featured on VegNews twice, on Easy Vegan with JL Fields, and in an awesome video produced by renowned journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell.
So, if you haven't already downloaded the guide, you can get it here. (It's free!) And please help us spread the word so we can help empower thousands more people to live longer, healther lives.
Now on to today's post, which comes from an article in the guide called Raising Children Vegan, written by board-certified pediatrician and preventive medicine specialist Ruby Thomas, MD, aka The Plant-Based Pediatrician:
Many women who are vegan and become pregnant wonder if they should adjust their diets to ensure a healthy pregnancy, but a vegan diet can be totally healthy for you and your baby. In fact, it may actually help lower your risk for some pregnancy-related complications such as pre-eclampsia (elevated blood pressure) or gestational diabetes. The key is to eat as many nourishing whole foods as possible from each plant-based food group, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, as well as healthy fats. There are a few nutrients you want to make extra sure that you get adequate amounts of during your pregnancy. These include folic acid, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D and iron. These can be found in your standard prenatal vitamin. Your doctor may also recommend an extra vitamin D supplement because many women are deficient in this vitamin. Otherwise, while pregnant, make sure you are drinking plenty of water and eating a variety of healthy food to help nourish you and your growing baby.
Vegan Diets for Infants and Children
Once you have your baby, it is normal to have many questions about how and what to feed your baby, and this anxiety can be magnified if you are also adopting a vegan diet for your child. However, a vegan diet can be one of the best ways to ensure a healthy start for your baby. In fact, a vegan diet during childhood can help decrease the risk of obesity, heart disease and cancer later in life. Vegan children may also have fewer problems with allergies and digestive problems.
Breastfeeding is best for your baby during the first year of life. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 4-6 months is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. All exclusively breastfed babies should also receive a vitamin D supplement since it is very important for bone health and development. Vitamin D deficiency is very common in the United States, and breastfed babies and African Americans are at increased risk for this deficiency and its complications.
When it comes time to introduce the first food to your child, you can start with pureed fruits and vegetables. Avocado is a great first food for vegan babies due to the high amount of good fats that it contains, which are important for brain growth and development. Bananas and sweet potatoes are also great food to start your baby on.
To read the full article, download the guide and check out page 10. And if you know someone who has questions about raising children vegan, please share this info. They'll be glad you did. :)
Have a great rest of the week, fam!