A mother has been arrested for child neglect because she didn’t want to take her baby to the hospital or heed the call of her paediatrician, insisting that she wanted her child on a vegan diet.
After doctors told her that her baby was dehydrated and needed to go to the hospital, Sarah Anne Markham refused to give her baby any formula or medicine doctors prescribed because they were said to contain animal products. She also said she had given the baby soy formula but had not checked if it was safe beforehand. She said she assumed that since the product was organic, it was okay to give her child. The woman was arrested for not cooperating and a family member took the baby to the hospital. You can read more about this story on the Bay News 9 website.
This news story has now led to questions about the safety of a vegan diet for infants. Although this case is certainly exceptional, it does raise some important tips for parents wanting to raise healthy vegan children.
- 1. Organic Doesn’t Always Mean Better
Although organic products contain healthy ingredients, this doesn’t always make them the right choice for babies. This is why it’s important to check with a doctor before starting a baby on a vegan diet. When it comes to organic milk, it is said to contain more omega-3 fatty acids than regular milk, however, which can be good for the heart and brain. Organic vegetables and fruits have lower pesticide residue, so these are worth feeding your baby. However, always wash produce very well just to be on the safe side as one can never be 100% sure of what happens during the planting and harvest of produce.
- 2. Soy Needs Limits
You can’t depend on soy as the only protein source that you’re giving your baby. Soy has been said to possibly prevent the growth of a baby and even prevent the absorption of various minerals the child requires.
- 3. You Need a Full Spectrum of Vitamins
It’s not just vegan babies that are at risk of not receiving enough nutrients from their diet - all babies need to be given essential vitamins daily in order to grow and be healthy. Although you don’t need animal products for your baby’s calcium and protein since there are other sources of this, you need to be informed by your paediatrician of what nutrients your baby needs and make it a daily mission to combine the right foods so that they receive the full rainbow of vitamins. It can be very beneficial to speak to a nutritionist who can help you find the right vegan foods for maximum nutrient content.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.