Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Weaning


Hi! Todays blog entry is a little different because today I am asking for your advice. As the title of the blog tells you, I am a new vegan mom and that means I don't have answers to a lot of questions. Each day is a learning process for me and my family but this topic is one that has me well and truly confused! I have researched the issue and get conflicting refults so I thought maybe the best thing to do was ask you! I know I have non vegans and non vegetarians who regualrly read (and great to have you!) but I also know there are many experienced vegan mothers out there too who could help me with this one...and for the curious I hope you will read any comments that come back to help you too!

So, the topic is weaning. I did begin weaning Miller when he was 9 months old and at the time the advice I found said that he was too young to be put on soya or rice milk and that the only alternative to breast milk was standard formula. So, I began substituting one feed, the another, until I was only nursing him twice a day. I will add that my decision to wean was due to Miller beginning nursery twice a week and my work commitments, I am not a full time stay at home mom. However, when Miller had a stomach illness in the New Year, he would not tolerate food or formula and would only accept my milk so I began re-establishing breastfeeding and was lucky that I was able to do that. it took time and a lot of body contact between the two of us but my supply returned. I am now nursing full time again which is great but things may now need to change...

Firstly, Miller is at nursery twice a week and I find it difficult to express the same as he drinks, maybe I get one bottle where he would have two or three so I cannot store enough and soon my freezer supply will run out. Also I am taking the yoga girls on a yoga holiday for a week in June and the children will stay home with Matthew. So what are my options?

I have introduced soya milk and although Miller turns his nose up at it most of the time he will drink it occasionally. he does not like rice milk and they are the only two alternatives I have here. I could try him on formula again but last time I tried him he threw up. The research I did stated that as a vegan, it was best to breastfeed for minimum 2 years or use formula...it didn't say what to do if you can't do either of these things! I have never tried Miller with cow's milk and don't really want to, it makes me so sad. (See my entires on cows and dairy)

I have also read reports about too much soya milk being a concern...is there any truth to this?

I would really welcome your thoughts on this... At home with Heidi today making flapjacks and destroying the kitchen!

11 comments:

half pint pixie said...

Hi, I'm vegan but I haven't weaned littlepixie yet, I'm a stay at home mum.

The main reason that regular soy milk isn't recommended as a main milk until after 2 years is due to the fat not being high enough for the baby, same with rice milk. I think even regular cow milk isn't recommended at that age either.

Could you use a soy formula or goat formula? I know the goat is the same as cow, vegan-wise, but if you decide to use formula I've heard it's gentler than cow formula.

Good luck, hopefully some more people will be able to help!

Jill Forrest said...

Thanks for the info. I cannot get soy fomula here, I wish I could as it would be my preferable option and living nextdoor to a goat farm where I see newborns being killed doesn't make me want to try and get goats milk formula...I'm still wondering if there is anything I can do about those little helpless goats... let's see if anyone else has any bright ideas..!

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Billy said...

Hi,

I found some information on VegSource: http://www.vegsource.com/parent/growing_vegans.htm

I hope that helps.

vegatee said...

Weaning doesn't necessarily mean "switching" to an alternative for mother's milk. Weaning, by its very definition, means changing over from breastfeeding to foods which the child will incorporate (hopefully) into his or her life long diet.

That being said, if Miller is under one year of age and breastfeeding is not possible, weaning can take place earlier with no ill effects. I suggest reading the information provided on PCRM.org's website. Here's a quick excerpt:

Doctors recommend introducing solid foods in the middle of the first year of life. The best weaning foods are soft plant foods such as ground, cooked cereals, mashed fruits, and well-cooked vegetables.

[...]

When breast-feeding is not possible, commercial soy formulas are nutritionally adequate. There is no need for infants to be raised on cow’s milk formulas.

[...]

Infants do not need any nourishment other than breast milk or soy formula for the first half year of life, and they should continue to receive breast milk or formula at least throughout their first 12 months. Breast-fed infants also need about two hours a week of sun exposure to make vitamin D—a great motivator for Mom to get back into a walking routine. Some infants, especially those who are dark-skinned or who live in cloudy climates, may not make adequate amounts of vitamin D. In these cases, vitamin D supplements may be necessary.

At about 5 to 6 months of age, or when baby’s weight has doubled, other foods can be added to the diet. Pediatricians often recommend starting with an iron-fortified cereal because, at about 4 to 6 months, infants’ iron stores, which are naturally high at birth, begin to decrease. Add one simple new food at a time, at one- to two-week intervals.

The following guidelines provide a flexible plan for adding foods to your baby’s diet.
5 to 6 Months

* Introduce iron-fortified infant cereal. Try rice cereal first, mixed with a little breast milk or soy formula, since it is the least likely to cause allergies. Then, offer oat or barley cereals. Most pediatricians recommend holding off on introducing wheat until the child is at least 8 months old, as it tends to be more allergenic.

6 to 8 Months

* Introduce vegetables. Potatoes, green beans, carrots, and peas are all good choices. They should be thoroughly cooked and mashed.
* Introduce fruits. Try mashed bananas, avocados, or strained peaches, or applesauce.
* Introduce breads. By 8 months of age, most babies can eat crackers, bread, and dry cereal.
* Introduce protein-rich foods. Also by about 8 months, infants can begin to eat higher protein foods like tofu or beans that are well cooked and mashed.

[...]

1- to 4-Year-Olds
Whole Grains, Breads, Cereals: 4 servings
Vegetables: 2-4 tablespoons dark green vegetables , 1/4 to 1/2 cup other vegetables
Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, Non-Dairy Milks: 1/4 to 1/2 cup legumes, 3 servings breast milk, soy formula, soymilk, or other non-dairy milk
Fruits: 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups


Also, at the bottom of the page at pescetrianlife.com page on child care is a list (with links) of dairy free formulas. On the same website, on the food shopping page are some soy-based formulas as well.

I realize you may not be able to get those in stores where you are, but maybe you can purchase them online if you feel Miller must have a substitute for mother's milk at this point.

How old is he now?

Jill Forrest said...

Thanks for the info..checking it out :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am Vegan as well. I am also looking for info on weaning. I just wanted to let you know about the soy milk and formulas. The reason why they are not recommended is because in young boys to much soy, can cause impotence later on in life, and they can also become sterile. I don't know exactly why, but it is scientifically proven. Also I know that in Asain cultures they never ate or processed soy the way we do in america today. They always eat it with fish or seaweed. Never in weird powdered form, and soy milk never cold. Just some info you might like to know.

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