Wonderful Husband and I are now in our thirties and, to our frustration, frequently asked about when we will be having children. ANSWER: When the time is right, we hope to have children… Vegan children, that is. We will not feed our children any animal products until they are of an age in which they can understand the seriousness of where meat, eggs and dairy come from. Then they can choose. However, the general view of not feeding your children animal products is seen as irresponsible. There has been a lot of negative press about raising children as vegan. To give a few examples…
In July 2015, a headline read ‘Vegan Italian parents investigated for neglect after baby son found severely malnourished’. The 11 month old child was found to be severely lacking in vitamins B12, iron and calcium. It is advised that children should be fed solely breast milk for 6 months before slowly introducing supplementary food into their diet – this was not adhered to in this case and the child had a diet of only breast milk (after refusing to eat vegetables). On top of this, the mother’s breast milk was also deemed as deficient of the appropriate vitamins for a baby. All three vitamins are very easily sourced via plant based items. This article has very little to do with veganism and instead should be focused on irresponsible parenting and failing to provide a healthy diet to a child.
In April 2011, a headline read ‘Vegan couple will serve life sentences for starving baby to death, court rules’. This article focused on a case in 2004 when a couple rushed their 6 week old son to the hospital after he had trouble breathing. The child subsequently died from severe malnutrition and starvation. The parents fed their child a diet of soy milk and apple juice. Soy milk is not an appropriate substitute for breast milk just as cow’s milk is not. The child did not die due to vegan parenting, but because of incredibly irresponsible parenting, with catastrophic results.
In 2011 a headline read ‘French vegan couple whose baby died of vitamin deficiency after being fed solely on breast milk face jail for child neglect’. The 11 month old baby had sadly died due to being solely fed breast milk. Again this article has little to do with veganism and all to do with bad parenting.
My point being… If you are an irresponsible parent and feed your child a diet solely of McDonalds (for example) then you will achieve the same devastating results.
In 2016, BBC Good Food published an article stating that vegan children can be healthy. If you don’t feel like reading it, this article can be summarised: you can raise healthy vegan children as long as you have been careful in your preparation to ensure they have a healthy, balanced diet. Surely that is the case for all diets, vegan or not? I find it odd that a diet consisting of mainly grains, pulses, fruits and vegetables is deemed as the unhealthy and irresponsible choice for your children… Or at least that is what the newspapers want us to believe.