My husband (fairly new vegans) are raising our now 17 month old daughter vegan in San Diego, California.
We made the decision to go vegan only a few months ago. I began by becoming vegetarian first and my husband soon followed.. I had only mild hesitations raising our daughter vegan mostly due to lack of knowledge on how to tackle the lifestyle safely. Now that I have read and researched as much as I have I have absolutely no hesitation. I absolutely LOVE that we are raising our daughter in such a cruelty free home. She eats so healthy and well rounded and absolutely LOVES animals and I love that she can hug these animals knowing they will not end up on her plate one day. She is absolutely thriving and we could not be happier :)
We deal with naysayers pretty frequently. Many people feel that if we want to choose the "lifestyle" for ourselves that is fine, but is it a "fair" decision for our daughter? My answer to them will vary depending on if they are curious about why or are just plain negative. Generally I explain that we want to raise our daughter to be kind and gentle to not only humans, but to all living creatures. We want her to understand that the planet and all of it's inhabitants need love and respect. I also explain to them that we put extensive thought and effort into her diet and want her to be healthy and happy and we feel that eating veg is the way to accomplish that. She does not eat processed food, fast food and of course no meat or dairy. Our family is slowly coming around, but certain family members struggle with our decision. I just generally repeat myself and try to win them over with yummy vegan food :)
Our daughter is still young to try to explain her vegan lifestyle. We often expose her to all kinds of animals and work with her on being gentle and often saying "friend not food" ;) to her. As she gets older and enters school we both know we will have social challenges. We are prepared to help her meet these challenges head on. We will read helpful books ad continue to remind her why we live the way we live. We have promised each other that we will not judge her if she decides one day to stray from her vegan life or abandons it altogether. We can only hope that as we raise her with our morals that they stick and stay when she feels weak or pressured. But if she begins to question us as she gets older we plan to discuss it with her and help her find a path that fits her. :)
Breastfeeding was so splendid with my little one. We were so at ease with one another. I began working again when she was five months and between lack of nursing and my inability to pump as often as I would have liked, my milk unfortunately dried up :( I was only able to breastfeed until 6 months:( Although my plan was at least 12 months. This was in our pre-vegan days and she was switched to cow's milk. She now strictly drinks almond or flax. With our next child I plan on a vegan pregnancy and hopefully will have the opportunity to breastfeed well past 6 months. I absolutely LOVED breastfeeding. My daughter and I were able to experience a closeness unlike anything in the world. I very much miss those late night feedings where the world was asleep and it felt as if we were the only two in existence. We are so very proud of our little one. She is a little vegan wonder and we cannot wait to continue. We are growing our own garden, have really began to love the kitchen again and love watching our daughter thrive on a diet and lifestyle that is often times completely misunderstood. Thank you Alicia for all that you do. You are truly an inspiration and your book is literally our bible in our home. With love from the San Diego Veg family!
I personally think it is awesome that you are raising your child vegan. I have only recently decided to look more into the veg life and I was curious how your ped doctor felt about changing your daughters diet to vegan only? My daughter just recently turned two and I'm afraid my ped doctor is going to look at me like I'm crazy (like everyone else around me) when I bring up taking her off cows milk. I know most people would say switch doctors but we have Medicaid (gov't med assistance) and I don't think we have too many ped doctor options.
Thank you for your time and good luck with your vegan future! :)
Hey there Maghijo! Thanks for the sweet complements :) We are lucky in that our doctor has been fairly understanding. She did suggest that we test our daughter's blood for signs of low iron and we appeased her and of course her blood counts were just fine. We do supplement her a few days a week with B12 and our doctor did ask if we give her a multivitamin and we don't. We explained we feel she is getting her nutrients and vitamins (aside from B12) from her food. My advice to you is to raise your daughter how you see fit. I would not let the opinion of your pediatrician sway you in any way if you feel strongly enough about it. The vegan diet although slowly becoming more mainstream is still very misunderstood even by our medical professionals. I would know this first hand because I am a nurse myself :) You might be surprised and find that your pediatrician is very supportive or they may try to talk you out of it. I would suggest being armed with some good solid facts before your next appointment. If they throw the calcium thing at you. Point out that generally the alternative milks (Almond, flax, soy etc) tend to have more Calcium than cow's milk and it is complete misconception that we veg's don't get enough protein. It is a tough decision, and it is never easy to go against the grain. I commend you for taking the step to consider this as a possibility for you and your family. I would suggest continuing to do research. There are some amazing books out there with adequate research behind them to help guide you in your decisions. And like I said, your doctor is there for your daughter and you and that entails supporting you both in how you want to raise your child. Good luck!
Hi Haley !! I also live in San Diego great place to raise a vegan baby I would like to ask you a few questions about your baby's diet since i have a 13 mo old boy and raising him vegan my concern is if he's getting enough protein since i don't want to feed him beans and lentils every day my question is where do you get your menu options can you suggest me a book as a reference guide.
Hi all! I just came back from seeing a GP for my 8month old son as he developed an allergic reaction to the weetbix and soy milk I fed him this morning. The GP asked me why I fed him soy and I said because we're vegetarians (recent converts of a month, haven't decided whether we will go full vegan or ovovegetarian) & he said 'why you do that? You want to make him vegetarian! He is too young and will not get enough iron. Dont do that.' Then told me not to feed him weetbix and soy milk. Now I am wondering whether I am doing the right thing going vegetarian. I wanted to feed him weetbix because it's iron fortified and soy because it's fortified with B12 and has more fat and protein than rice milk. Now I don't know what to do to insure he has adequate iron and B12. It's not that he eats a lot at the moment anyway, about 2 tbl per meal. He's eating mashed veggies (carrots, pumpkin, zucchini, spinach, sweet potato, broccoli and cauliflower, peas and corn so far) and fruit. Needing advice on how to introduce more foods such as tofu, lentils and beans, and making sure he gets enough iron and B12.
Hi all, thanks so much Haley for starting this theme, i got a lot out of reading your share about raising your vegan wonder! sounds amazing, you've given me a lot of hope and strength today. I'm pregant (though very early on) and I've received very direct questions about being vegan and pregnant, like it's a bad thing. I thought I was ready but I'm still shaken by such comments. I think I need to write down a few points for myself (why I'm vegan, the benefits, where my sources of nutrients come from) so that I firmly know these things. My partner seems to be better at retaining the information! But I'll be facing more comments no doubt so I'll prepare myself so as to get the stress out of it. I'd be interested in responses to Mei's questions. Yes there must be a lot of resistence in the medical community. We live in Slovakia and haven't informed any health professional yet about being vegan and not looking forward to that ('no milk or cheese even? WHAT!?'). I'm so glad this website is hre, thank you Alicia. It can be lonely as a vegan xx
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