Vegetarian parents may want their children to follow their diet. With some planning, babies can be successfully weaned onto a vegetarian diet that provides all the nutrients they need for growth and development. However strict vegan diets are not generally recommended for infants.
Tips For Vegetarian Weaning
To make sure your little one gets all of the nutrients their growing body requires, their vegetarian diet needs to include:
- Breast milk or formula until they are at least 12 months of age
- Solid foods; these should be introduced no later than around 6 months. A variety should be given to your baby. Iron-fortified rice cereal, without this vegetarian diets don’t provide babies adequate iron
- Alternate sources to meat for protein, such as tofu, legumes, eggs, nut pastes, cheese and pasteurised yoghurt (please be aware of possible allergies)
- Other grain foods, such as bread, pasta and rusks
- A variety of fruit and vegetables.
The texture of the foods should be suitable to the infant’s stage of development. Start with pureed foods and progress to lumpy and then normal textures during 6-12 months of age.
Tips For Vegan Weaning Diets
When no animal products (milk, eggs or cheese) are included in your baby’s diet it can be more difficult to meet their requirements. It is recommended to;
- Speak with a dietitian about your baby’s diet to ensure they are getting everything they need. Your baby may require nutritional supplements, particularly iron and vitamin B12
- Breastfeed your baby for 2 years or longer. If partially breastfeeding, a soy-based infant formula is recommended for the first 2 years.