Friday, 6 July 2012

Being a Vegan Mummy

So, my daughter is now 7 weeks old today. She's passed all medical checks with flying colours so far, and not so many 'vegan' issues have come up as yet. I've not faced any misconceptions from any professionals, but it'd be nice if people in general were more informed. Not many people would bat an eyelid at raising a child vegetarian these days, but I've found many people remain suspicious about veganism.

I'm not the kind of person who tells people unsolicited about my veganism in real life. If it comes up, or I'm asked I'll happily talk about it - but I'm careful not to overdo it. I'm totally proud and happy in my lifestyle choices, but I've just found through experience that talking to some people is fighting a loosing battle. So when the issue of weaning was discussed recently at a group, it inevitably came up. Mostly I received intelligent and genuinely inquisitive questions, but as due to medical problems I'm not breastfeeding I was asked 'the big question' about which formula I use. This is what the Vegan Society have to say about formula, but in the absence of a completely vegan option in the UK I'm using the next best thing. The two currently on the market are Cow & Gate's Infasoy and SMA's Wysoy - both contain Lanolin derived vitamin D but otherwise have no other animal ingredients. I was really disappointed that Heinz no longer manufacture the Nuture Soya which contained vegan vitamin D. Obviously I know breastfeeding is the best option for your baby, but sometimes when issues get in the way it's important to have a vegan option as stories such as this and this are incredibly sad and caused by ignorance of nutrition by vegan parents. It's also very sad that these are the types of stories about vegan parents that get reported in the news, so people who know nothing else of this lifestyle eye you with suspicion when you mention you plan to bring your child up as vegan.

In fact whilst writing this @mrflibbletweets pointed out that recently somebody I've never heard of named Tom Parker Bowles has been in the Daily Mail for stating that having a vegan child is 'child abuse'. Which is pure uninformed rubbish. The article can be read here. It's idiots like him who just because they are vaguely famous get given a platform in the media (but let's be honest we all know the Daily Mail never publishes REAL news anyway) and cause trouble for the rest of us. You never see them writing about the many happy vegan families out there with thriving children that would give the public a more realistic view, just the odd few who don't do their research/ make bad choices and things end badly for them.

I've tried to seek as much advice as possible and the Vegan Society have lots of helpful information and advice which can be found here. The book which they also publish is a good start (Feeding Your Vegan Infant With Confidence) as well as The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Guide which I read whilst pregnant.

Aside from all that I'm doing well, a little sleep deprived but extatic that she seems happy and is thriving. Now a healthy 11lbs (she was 8lbs 9 at birth) and becoming very smiley :) Now past the initial 'omg I actually have a baby now' stage I can happily say it's wonderful to be a mummy.

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