So, you’re sweet babe is around 6 months old, sitting unassisted, and showing interest in your food. Awesome! Now is a great time to start solids. Baby-led weaning has been all the rage for quite some time now. And I totally understand why – babies eat what you eat, you don’t have to buy or make purees, they feed themselves, and they are introduced to a variety of textures.
While it’s a little messy in the beginning, baby quickly learns how to feed herself. This is one of the wonderful things about BLW – you can sit and enjoy a meal with your baby instead delaying your meal to feed her.
Now, you may have noticed that the title of this post is VEGAN BLW – not just BLW – so I’m here to offer examples for starting your baby on a vegan diet. There are several compelling reasons to raising a vegan baby.
Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor, nor a dietician – just a well-informed mom doing what I think is best for my babe.
Through the first year, breast milk or formula needs to be your baby’s main diet – solids only complement milk until baby turns 1.
Vegan BLW really isn’t so different from regular BLW. Most babies start off eating similar things:
• Sweet potatoes (steamed or baked)
• Carrots (steamed or roasted)
• Broccoli (steamed or roasted)
• Zucchini (sauteed or roasted)
• Yogurt (almond milk, flax, etc)
• Pears and apples (baked)
As your baby gets older and more experienced with chewing, you can start offering her food with a little more texture:
• Nut butter
• Toast (crust removed)
• Beets (steamed or roasted)
• Asparagus (steamed or roasted)
• Mashed beans
• Green beans
• Spinach (steamed)
Then, your baby develops a pincer grasp and can eat even more:
Onlookers, or you yourself, may be concerned with your baby’s protein intake. This is where vegan BLW differs from non-vegan BLW. Lots of babies try eggs, cheese, shrimp, chicken, etc, which satisfy their protein needs.
Don’t fret, mama, there are lots of nutrition specifics that most parents don’t know about. For instance, dairy inhibits your baby’s ability to absorb iron. Protein isn’t the only concern for herbivores and omnivores, alike.
To calculate the recommended daily amount of protein for your baby’s size, multiply .65 x your baby’s weight in pounds. This calculation is approximated for babies 6-12months.
So, if your baby weighs 17lbs: 17 x .65= 11.05. Your baby needs 11.05g of protein per day.
Breast milk contains approximately 2.5g of protein per cup. Your vegan baby can easily get the remaining protein they need from beans, tofu, lentil pasta, hummus, grains, and bread. Serve a protein, vegetable, and fruit with every meal. Check with your doctor or nutritionist if you’re concerned.
These are just a few examples – and remember that it’s a great idea to start seasoning baby’s food from the beginning. Just don’t add salt to their food until they’re 1.
Mrs. Dash’s seasonings are full of flavor and contain 0mg sodium – try using a variety of blends for baby’s foods.
What were your vegan baby’s first solid foods? Tell me in the comments below.