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Old 10-27-2012, 07:25 PM   #11
TrennaII's Avatar
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Location: Portland, OR
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Re: anyone not giving babies animal products? need advice

The reason they are recommending it is because children need saturated fats for proper brain development, and Social Service agencies see a lot of children with brain damage from being given a vegan diet too early. My mother was a child development specialist in a community with a lot of vegans and vegetarians, and avoiding animal products had to be done very carefully.

Breastfeeding helps some, but as you supplement with other food, it's not necessarily safe to completely avoid animal products at this young an age. I'm pretty sure plant based saturated fats don't cut it but I forget why.

Consider this: When you breastfeed 100%, 100% of the food is properly balanced. If you breastfeed 90%, then you've got 10% that's missing essential fats.

It's possible there has been newer research on plant based saturated fats, and you could be OK with coconut oil, but I wouldn't be sure without checking.

The problems that arise from lack of saturated fats are quite severe: It prevents nerves from being properly myelinated.

I'm probably getting a few details wrong but the point is, you should probably seek information from a doctor who is pro-vegan. Seeing a naturopath might not be as expensive as you expect it to be, and it could be a tremendous investment in making sure your baby is healthy, while your family follows a diet consistent with your values. A naturopath could also help you transition your child to a vegan diet when it's appropriate.

Also, the WIC recommendations have to do with vitamins and minerals. They're set up to provide all vitamins and minerals without supplements, since low income people often skip supplements. A naturopath could also help you use animal products as little as possible while making sure your kiddo gets enough nutrients. Even breastmilk is deficient in some important nutrients.

If your child has never been exposed to dairy it is very unlikely she has any sensitivities to it. Children develop sensitivites to things over time, especially with constant exposure. has a great food introduction schedule for families concerned about food sensitivities. Lamb and I believe turkey are OK at 7 months even for allergenic babies, but meats tend to be hypoallergenic anyway. All of the top 8 allergens (milk, soy, chicken egg, peanut, tree nut, shellfish, wheat ... the 8th escapes me ...) are ones that should wait.

(But yay for you for continuing to breastfeed).
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