Breastfeeding as a Vegetarian/Vegan: What You Need to Know

For new mothers, life is anything but easy. From juggling errands and maintaining their health to ensuring their newborns are safe and healthy, being a caregiver is a more than 40-hour-per-week job that can cause women to fall into bed every night from total exhaustion. And when faced with breastfeeding their children for the first time, their eyes may begin to glaze over.

Although you may feel like giving up and calling it quits, there’s hope for vegan and vegetarian mothers to strive in the face of adversity. If you’re ready to reclaim your power and nurture your child with an abundance of vitamins and minerals from all-natural sources, here’s what you need to know.

The Must-Have Superfoods Every Nursing Mother Needs in Her Home

Mothers are, without a doubt, one of the most versatile creatures on the planet. Our ability to bring life into this world, maintain our wits, climb the rungs of professional success and maintain enough vibrance to nurture people around us acts as a testament to our superhuman skills.

Once you take off your cape from saving the world, there comes a time to replenish yourself with foods that not only recharge your energy, but transfer essential ingredients to your child via breastfeeding. In the same way that our makeup and hygiene products get absorbed by our internal systems, the calories we consume in leisure transfer to our offspring.

While we could bore you with scientific literature surrounding certain food items, we’ll give you a checklist to consult with when visiting the store or farmer’s market. These food items taste great, flood your system with essential minerals and keep your baby happy and healthy while nursing:

  • Avocado

  • Beans

  • Lentils

  • Chickpeas

  • Tofu

  • Cashews

  • Chia

  • Granola

  • Oranges

  • Quinoa

  • Soy-based products

Each of these products will provide boundless energy and help promote post-partum weight loss and improved fitness.

Extracurricular Supplementation

As vegans, we pride ourselves on going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the health of ourselves and the people around us. Keeping this philosophy in mind, newfound mothers can provide additional nutrition to their baby while breastfeeding by supplementing with essential products that ensure their baby’s health and wellness.

To kick things off, let’s talk about calcium. Although calcium may not seem seductive to discuss, providing this element to your baby through nursing helps their systems produce healthy bones, strong teeth and gives their system the nutrients to support a sturdy frame.

More importantly, calcium-rich foods, such as broccoli, cabbage, sesame seeds, kale and collard greens, helps your baby’s body communicate through their nervous system with greater efficacy. And while you’re at it, you can’t go wrong with incorporating vitamin D, folic acid, iron, AND iodine FOR good measure!

The one vitamin that is essential to supplement in a vegan diet is vitamin b12. this vitamin is naturally only found in animal products. Please incorporate an appropriate vitamin b12 supplement in your diet.

Know When to Ask For Help

Listen up, mom: although you’re capable of great things, never shy away from asking for help from the vegan and vegetarian community or your pediatrician. Dr. Chheda has been a lifelong vegetarian and understands the limitations that certain diets can have. Seeking assistance from these professionals will provide the insight you need to make intelligent dietary choices that have a positive impact on your child’s well-being.

And, as you already know, nothing is more rewarding than seeing your child grow stronger day by day, week by week. In the blink of an eye, they’re finished nursing and running around the house, laughing and playing in the euphoric moments that encapsulate toddlerdom. Although we may find ourselves stressed from time to time, nothing compares to being a healthy, active and loving mother. Good luck out there, ladies!