toddler holding a bowl of raspberry

Top 10 Things to Know about Raising Babies on a Vegetarian Diet

  1. It is possible to raise a healthy child on a meatless diet

Many doctors and nutritionists are absolutely clues about vegetarian diets for babies. However, just like vegetarian diets for adults do, vegetarianism for kids has a number of advantages that are consistent with the latest scientific discoveries. Both the American Dietetic Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that vegetarian diets can work for children.

  1. Milk is the ideal food for the first four to six months of life

All human begin their lives as vegetarians because milk is the first food. Babies do not eat or want to eat chicken nuggets or steak. Humans make milk for human babies just like other mammals make milk for theirs. Babies do not need other food during the first four to six months of their lives

  1. Breastfeeding is the best way to go

Breast milk is the best baby food because it has a unique combination of nutrients. Even baby formulas can’t replicate breast milk completely. It is even possible that breast milk contains healthy elements that science hasn’t discovered to this day.

  1. Breast milk of vegetarian women has a number of advantages

The biggest advantage is that milk of vegetarian women contains fewer contaminants because vegetarian women eat fewer foods that have pesticides and other chemicals in them. The pesticides are mostly concentrated in animal tissues and animal fat which are not present in vegetarian diets.

  1. You can replace breast milk with baby formulas

Some women can’t breastfeed and that’s when baby formulas should be used. Just like with breast milk, babies only need their formula for the first four to six months of their lives. Most formulas have cow milk as a base. Some formulas are soy based and don’t contain any animal products.

  1. Know when to introduce solid foods

You should introduce solid foods when your baby is 13 pounds of weight or more. Another sign that you should start thinking about feeding the baby solid foods is that the baby wants to breastfeed eight or more times during a twenty-four hour period. There are no rules set in stone about starting to feed babies with solid foods, just general guidelines.

  1. Know how to introduce solid foods

Baby rice cereal is probably the most popular first solid food in America. Rather than immediately replacing breast milk or formula with solid foods, start alternating gradually milk and small amounts of solid foods. You can begin with mixing rice cereal with the formula or milk and later start adding other foods.

  1. Don’t forget your own vitamins

A woman needs more calories when she is breastfeeding than when she is pregnant. For most breastfeeding women this number is five hundred more calories per day. Breastfeeding women also need more vitamins and minerals. This is especially true about vitamin B12.

  1. Your child will probably have food jags

Young children are known for wanting to eat one food for prolonged periods of time. Fixations on specific foods are absolutely normal for young children and may last for weeks or even months.

  1. Go with nutrient dense foods

Vegetarian diets for adults usually consist of large amounts of non-nutrient-dense foods such as leafy greens. Young children have much smaller stomachs than adults, which is why you want to feed them more calorie-dense foods and plant sources of fat such as sandwiches with a few slices of avocado or nut butters.