At the time of writing, my vegan baby is nearly 9 months old so she is still reliant on breastmilk for nutrients, as well as comfort.
The reason I decided to do this post is because I have found it sooooo difficult to find advice on how to begin weaning my baby, let alone advice on how to wean my vegan baby!
Whilst most of the official guidance out there seems to be pretty similar, each organisation gives recommendations that differ ever so slightly. For example, the NHS recommends babies aged upwards of 10 months should be eating 3 meals a day, whereas the WHO recommends 3-4 meals a day from 9 months of age and complementary snacks ‘as required’.
Now I’m probably sweating the small stuff, BUT when you become a mum, I feel like sweating the small stuff becomes part of your daily life.
Anyway, I think the last 3 months have made me realise that it is important to do your own research and then make sensible decisions about what works best for you. Therefore, I hope that this small insight into what one vegan mum feeds her vegan baby in a day is helpful and/or reassuring.
Supplements for vegan babies
In the UK, it is recommended that babies over the age of 6 months take a supplement for vitamins A, C and D.
At first, I couldn’t understand why a vegan baby would need to take a vitamin C supplement. I kept saying to my partner, everything our daughter eats contains vitamin C. However, vitamin C is sensitive to heat and water, meaning you can essentially cook out the vitamin. A lot of food that you may give your baby in the first few weeks and months of your weaning journey will be cooked to soften it so it is definitely important to give your baby a vitamin C supplement.
At the moment, we give our daughter Wellbaby’s multi-vitamin drops, which have all the vitamins I think a vegan baby should consume, except for omega 3. The liquid is a horrible dark brown colour and honestly, the first time I opened it, I had to google the colour because I was scared to give it to Poppy – yes, it is supposed to be that mouldy colour.
These particular drops are not labelled as vegan, however, the packaging boasts that they are suitable for vegetarians and cruelty-free. I can’t see any ingredients that wouldn’t be suitable for a vegan diet, but do proceed with caution and feel free to get in touch if you do know of any ingredients that aren’t vegan.
Iodine is one of the nutrients not included in these drops and we have chosen not to supplement this in Poppy’s diet. This is because she does drink a lot of breastmilk still, which naturally contains adequate levels of iodine, due to my own dietary supplement.
As I mentioned above, the drops that we give our vegan baby do not contain omega 3. At present, we don’t supplement this, but we will be looking into this soon. I am mindful to include lots of vegan omega 3 rich foods in our diet, including flaxseeds, kidney beans and hemp seeds.
Vegan baby breakfast ideas
Breakfast might be yoghurt, oats, cereal or toast. This is always accompanied by fruit, which I try to incorporate into the meal. For example, peanut butter and banana on toast.
I initially tried to do this because I was scared that she might develop a food aversion due to having her foods presented separately. Having researched this, I can’t really seem to find any studies [recent or old] to support this so perhaps it could just be an old wives’ tale…who knows?
When choosing what yoghurt to buy, I opt for one that has no added sugar and lots of fat, such as one of The Coconut Collaborative’s big pots. I sometimes serve coconut cream (the top part of a can of coconut milk) in place of yoghurt because it has a high fat content and I personally find it very yummy.
Vegan baby lunch and dinner ideas
Lately, we’ve been eating quite a lot of different soups, as they freeze well and are quick and easy for me to make in bulk. I always use Kallo’s very low salt stock cubes when cooking because a low salt diet is essential for a baby’s developing kidneys.
If I’m organised enough then I plan out our meals for the whole week at the start of the week so lunch will often be leftover dinner from the night before. Though I keep a stash of frozen veggies and sachets of microwavable lentils, grains and veggies so that I can whip up a healthy meal at a moment’s notice if needs be.
With every lunch and dinner that I make for us, I try to ensure that it contains one serving of either nuts, tofu, beans or lentils. Before Poppy came along, this definitely wasn’t the case. We would eat fake meat and cheese and processed foods so it is safe to say that our diets have definitely improved a lot lately. We do still eat these foods, but we tend not to share them with Poppy because we feel that the additives, salt and sugar aren’t necessary for her. However, everybody is different and you may not feel the same way. You know your child best and I’m sure you will make the best decision for your family.
As a family, we now eat lots of different meals, such as pasta dishes, curries and pies. I aim to not cook the exact same meals all the time so even if we make the same curry sauce as the week before, I try to change up the veggies, protein and sides.
My advice on how to wean a vegan baby
Be confident! You’ve got this!
As long as you’re doing your research and following the advice given to you by your doctor and other medical professionals then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Good luck and enjoy your weaning experience!