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What foods should I feed a baby when we starting out on a vegan lifestyle?

We are going through a phase where we are changing from meat to vegetarian/vegan. I've seen many babies that don't eat milk or meat and are perfectly healthy if not more so than normal. It's not easy to give them all the nutrients they need in a vegan way though.

What healthy and vegan foods should I feed my baby?

Age is 6 months to 1 year.

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Here's some of the UK NHS's advice on feeding babies, with the non-vegan bits edited out.

Your baby's first foods can include mashed or soft cooked fruit and vegetables like parsnip, potato, yam, sweet potato, carrot, apple or pear, all cooled before eating. Soft fruits like peach or melon, or baby rice or baby cereal mixed with your baby's usual milk are also good.

[Cut food into p]ieces about the size of your own finger. Try grabbable bits of soft, ripe banana or avocado.

Once your baby is used to the foods above, they can have soft cooked pasta, noodles, toast, pieces of chapatti, lentils and rice.

To replace those non-vegan bits, focus on giving fat- and protein-rich foods like avocado, pulses, and well-cooked and cooled beans.

Foods that are common allergens like nuts, seeds, soya, celery and mustard should only be introduced one at a time and in very small quanties to reduce the risk of baby developing an allergy (the same applies at any age; there is no benefit to waiting until they are older to introduce these foods). Nuts and seeds should be ground into a paste or butter. These help to provide nutrients that would otherwise come from meat, eggs and dairy, so it is a good idea to try to introduce them.

Avoid any foods with added sugar or high in salt.

Keep breast feeding while introducing food, if possible. Vegan infant formula is a tricky topic and soya, oat and almond milk, (which may be introduced as drinks from 12 months) can't replace it. Breast milk would be the only source of B12, for example, until baby is old enough to start eating fortified foods or suitable supplements. You should consult a doctor if you can't breast-feed.

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A vegan diet is not recommended for babies. There are many things which could go wrong and lead to delayed development. Please only do this while closely consulting a doctor with regular checks. Also, you should at least breastfeed till the age of 2 and take supplements of vitamin D and B12. Please read the following links for further info.

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/04/17/is-veganism-good-for-everyone/a-choice-with-definite-risks

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10966896

  • Appropriately planned vegan diets are healthy for all ages. Note that breastfeeding is vegan – nloewen Mar 31 '17 at 20:18
  • this may work out, or may not. I do not recommend to do it. – Pem Mar 31 '17 at 20:30
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    All diets have nutritional pros and cons and may or may not work out. A good answer to this question would address the concerns specific to a vegan diet, not discourage it. – nloewen Mar 31 '17 at 21:05
  • This isn't exactly an answer to the question that was asked. Are supplements the only way to meet the nutritional needs? – Erica Mar 31 '17 at 21:09
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    Downvote because it portrays vegan diet as a flawed concept, also because newspaper articles are just opinion pieces to sell papers, worse still, propaganda. – David S Apr 2 '17 at 11:06

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