(US/wa) Vegan diets for infants
- [Seattle Vegan Examiner]
Vegan diets are healthful at all stages of the lifecycle—and that
includes infancy. In fact, all babies start out as vegetarians. Vegan
infants who are breastfed need vitamin B12 supplements, but other than
that, their diet won't look different from omnivore babies until they
are around seven months old.
Breast milk is the ideal food for any baby and should be offered until
at least the first birthday. If breastfeeding isn’t possible or needs
to be supplemented, commercial infant formula, including soy-based
formula, can replace all or part of it in an infant’s diet.
For the first four to six months of life, babies don’t need—and
shouldn’t have—anything other than breast milk or infant formula. It
may look like a boring and unsatisfying diet, but it suits an infant’s
needs perfectly. Some vegetables can actually be dangerous to very
young babies—those younger than four months.
Babies are ready for solid foods between the ages of four and six
months. One sign of readiness is the ability to sit up and maintain
balance. Another is the ability to use the tongue to move food to the
back of the mouth for swallowing. That takes a little practice for any
baby, but very young ones can’t do it at all.
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