Many vegetarians and even more vegans have a problem when it comes to feeding their new-born babies. This is because lots of vegetarians and most vegans are opposed to the intake of animal produce. This is difficult because it has been stated by the vast majority of doctors and mid-wives that mother’ breast milk is the best food for a baby. This is because mother’s breast milk will contain a selection of protective substances against diseases and allergies.
However, if a woman chooses that she cannot give her baby her breast milk for philosophical reasons, it is not a disaster, because there have always been women that cannot feed their children in this manner for one reason or another. Typical reasons may be illness or malnutrition. There are preparations available to give your baby everything it requires, so there is no need to be anxious.
Whether you breast feed or not, be sure that your baby gets enough vitamin B12. It will also require lots of vitamin D, which comes from sunlight. There are different estimates of how much exposure is enough, but ten minutes a day or so is around average. The one thing that all medical workers will agree on however, is that the baby should not run any risk of getting sun burn and if the sun is strong, the eyes should be shielded too.
Iron is an important part of anyone’s diet and breast milk can supply enough for a four to six month old, because breast milk is not particularly rich in iron. After that time, food should be selected that has a higher iron content. Meat will provide the iron for a meat-eater, so a vegetarian mother has to take this into account. The advice of your physician, midwife or dietitian will be priceless here as elsewhere.
A lot of parents give their infant rice cereal fortified with iron as one of the baby’s first foods. Check with your medical doctor, but it is normally a good idea to continue with your breast milk or formula feeds even if you are feeding rice cereal. Other grains and cereals such as oats, barley and corn can be used as well, but they should be passed through a liquidizer first and mixed with fruit or / and vegetable puree.
You may be advised that the iron content of these foods is still not sufficient, in which case it is fairly normal to be given an iron supplement to add to the baby’s food. It is about this time, after the baby is happy eating cereal, that fruit and vegetable purees can be given in their own right. Make sure that the fruit and vegetables are properly pureed or mashed.
Bananas, avocado, apples and canned peaches or pears are all good choices here as are vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, and green beans, although they have to be cooked first, naturally. There are lots of good recipes on the Internet or at your medical doctor’s surgery to make sure that your baby gets all the nutrients it needs from a vegetarian diet,
Owen Jones, the writer of this article writes on several topics, but is currently concerned with quick vegetarian recipes. If you want to know more or check out some special offers, please go to our website at Vegetarian Sandwich Recipes.