Sunday, September 17, 2017

Is it Ethical to Raise Vegan Babies?

In May of 2017, a 7-month-old baby in Belgium tragically died as a result of the strict vegan diet his parents fed him (Link). In another instance in 2017, an 11 month-old baby died in France from a B12 deficiency (Link). The baby was breastfeeding, but the deficient vegan mother did not pass along any B12 to her baby through her breast milk.

These and other deaths have resulted in a lot of necessary debating over the merits of raising vegan babies. Of course, there are also those who have raised healthy vegan babies (Link). However, these successful families were more intentional about providing the baby with essential nutrients such as calcium, iron and B12. Fortified plant-based milk options as well as longer breastfeeding from a mother who isn't deficient in B12 are some helpful options.

"In addition to Vitamins B12 and D, vegetarian and vegan diets are at risk of deficiency in a few other key nutrients, including iron, zinc and Omega-3 fatty acids. To ensure that your baby gets enough of these key nutrients, you could give her a vitamin supplement, choose fortified cereals and juices, or look for plant-based alternatives" (Link).

Personally, if I had children, I would probably not choose to deprive them of free range eggs and / or free range cow's milk. However, I also understand that there are vegans who would never purchase any animal products. For the sake of their children, these parents must humble themselves and examine the risks and the necessary supplements to take for both themselves and their children.