Last weekend, together with my wife, we visited our vegan friends to congratulate them on their first child. And officially, for the first time in our closest circle of friends, we have a vegan baby with vegan parents.
As usual, after the initial courtesy greetings and wishes for health and happiness for their baby, we immediately opened a conversation about babies and veganism. And there is always the non endless moral dilemma about the difference between vegan and non-vegan mothers.
How to proceed further with the vegan lifestyle and how to apply it painlessly to the baby of our friends.
Let me start to explain that Vegans are not against the recommendations of WHO about the evidence-based importance of drinking milk. The netizens of the new vegan society is not against the milk that comes from the human species.
Ethical concerns aside, milk from other animals are not healthy for humans to be consuming. Scientific evidence are showing to us that consumption of cow’s milk at an early age is linked with all kinds of disorders and diseases, as well as those developed later in life.
But maybe human breast milk is not always a perfect formula for human babies, just as cows milk is for calves.
The biggest drama is behind the famous B vitamins that contain mother’s milk. In 2001,World Health Organization, Department. of Nutrition for Health and Development made a report of the expert consultation of the optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding. The report evaluated the nutrient adequacy of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and the overall consultation concluded a possible negative effect of exclusive breastfeeding on iron status.
The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that infants who are not breastfed should consume iron-fortified infant formulas rather than cow or goat milk until 12 months of age.
One reason for this may be fear of discouraging breastfeeding if milk is found to be lacking in nutrients, because the breast milk content of nutrients usually associated with growth, such as zinc and phosphorus, is unaffected by maternal status according to the study from Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University College, Cork Ireland.
While we are still on this subject of milk and B vitamins I would love to clear the fog that accentuates the fact that B12 vitamin has a purely animal origin and is used as a contra argument. This is not true and here is why.
B12 is not found in animal based foods only. There is plenty in fungal food like brewer’s yeast, from which commercial B12 supplements are extracted. Brewer’s yeast is often cultured on Molasses, which contains Cobalt, the essence of the name Cobalamin.
With all these undeniable facts Vegan mom should be more than comfortable breast feeding her child! It’s how nature wants to be done. Human breast milk for babies is ultra vegan because it does not come from another species. Vegans choose to breastfeed if they can, so that their baby is consuming a real vegan milk. It’s the cow’s milk formulas that are not.
Multiple external factors will shape my vegan parents friends food choices for their baby while they are adapting to the parenting process. The availability of different vegan products, the marketing activities of baby food businesses, and price. Parenting education alone cannot push their behavior in the opposite direction. Therefore, the governments of the leading western countries should put more importance on implementing healthy vegan parenting policies and start building social friendly environments to support and promote healthy vegan parenting lifestyles.