Numerous vegetarians and even more vegans have a problem when it comes to suckling their new-born babies. This is because lots of vegetarians and most vegans are opposed to the intake of animal produce. This is a problem because it has been stated by the overwhelming majority of doctors and mid-wives that mother' breast milk is the best food for a baby. This is because mother's breast milk will contain a selection of protective substances against diseases and allergies.
However, if a woman decides that she cannot give her baby her breast milk for philosophical reasons, it is not a disaster, because there have always been women who cannot feed their children in this fashion for one reason or another. Typical reasons may be illness or malnutrition. There are preparations available to give your baby everything it requires, so there is no need to worry.
Whether you breast feed or not, make sure that your baby gets sufficient vitamin B12. It will also need lots of vitamin D, which comes from sunlight. There are different estimates of how much exposure is enough, but ten minutes a day or so is about average. The one thing that all medical personnel will agree on however, is that the baby ought to not run any risk of getting sun burn and if the sun is strong, the eyes should be shielded as well.
Iron is an important aspect of anyone's diet and breast milk can provide enough for a four to six month old, because breast milk is not particularly rich in iron. After that time, food should be chosen that has a higher iron content. Meat will supply the iron for a meat-eater, so a vegetarian mother has to take this into account. The advice of your GP, midwife or dietitian will be invaluable here as elsewhere.
A great deal of parents give their infant rice cereal fortified with iron as one of the baby's first foods. Check with your doctor, yet it is usually a good idea to continue with your breast milk or formula feeds even if you are feeding rice cereal. Other grains and cereals such as oats, barley and corn can be used too, however they should be passed through a blender first and mixed with fruit or / and vegetable pulp.
You might be advised that the iron content of these foods is still not adequate, in which case it is quite standard to be given an iron supplement to add to the baby's food. It is about this time, after the baby is happy eating cereal, that fruit and vegetable purees can be given in their own right. Make sure that the fruit and vegetables are well pureed or mashed.
Bananas, avocado, apples and canned peaches or pears are all good choices here as are vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, and green beans, although they have to be cooked first, naturally. There are lots of decent recipes on the Net or at your GP's surgery to ensure that your baby gets all the nutrients it needs from a vegetarian diet,
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