Parenting is hard enough as it is, especially year 1, but living a vegan lifestyle and wanting your child to follow in your footsteps always adds a little wrinkle to your already hectic schedule. Granted in year 1 it’s not like parents are chopping up burgers and hot dogs or bacon (please god I hope they aren’t) and feeding it to your baby and most of the level 1 foods are fruits and vegetables but there are always the tough decisions on what formula is the best, do you want it to be Vegan? Will you make an exception to give your baby the best brand that might not have a dairy free option? What about eggs? Will you feed them a substitute or will you only use tofu? What if the doctor recommends something you don’t agree with?
There are hundreds of questions you can ask yourself day in and day out but these questions will only get harder as your child gets older and they are the ones starting to ask the questions. I also want to note that I never want to force anything on my daughter, I want her to be a strong independent woman and make her own decisions, we can only steer her in the right direction.
At least during the early years you can kind of dictate the diet you want. I would say the toughest decision my wife and I had to make during this first year with our daughter was whether or not to let her have eggs. Our doctor who always respected our vegan diet said if there was one thing to make an exception on it would be eggs which can provide a good source of iron, protein, fat, and other nutrients. After a lot of back and forth we decided to let her have eggs. Not only are they easy to prepare but they are easy to eat for her and can help the baby to practice grabbing and feeding themselves. It turned out she loved eggs and it’s a normal part of her dinners now. Her Iron was low when she was younger and I think eggs have helped those levels get back to a normal level. I will say this that I think this will be the only exception we will make until she is ready to make her own decisions; we can only hope that she sees the positivity veganism has brought to our lives and that she can follow in our footsteps.
Other than the eggs she has always had a diet of all organic fruits, vegetables, oats, and tofu and now that she is 1 we feed her bits and pieces of whatever vegan dish we order when we are out. Blueberries and watermelon are definitely her favorites but she has never been fussy and I think offering her different varieties of fruits and vegetables have helped her to enjoy them all as she grows. She is a healthy and happy baby and I think it’s a testament to staying as vegan as possible and introducing new things as much as we can but also as hard as it is making a concession for the betterment of her development if/as advised by a trusted pediatrician.
Please share some of your stories as raising kids as a vegan parent.