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Thread: Vegetarian baby?

  1. #1
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    Default Vegetarian baby?

    Hi everyone!
    I was wondering if anyone has raised a vegetarian baby, and if so, can I have a few pointers? My daughter is almost 6 months old and I will be starting her on cereal soon. But later on, when she starts eating more solids, I really don't want to serve her meat as I'm a vegetarian and personally feel that starting her on veggie. foods will be more nutritious. Which foods have you found that agree with your veg. babies and give them enough protein? Or should I offer her meat? I'm not nervous about starting solids, but I'm a teeny bit confused.... Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Vegetarian baby?

    Hi There!
    Congratulations on your choice to raise a vege child! As was noted in a different thread (one regarding how defensive non-bf moms can be regarding bf'ing), the whole vege baby thing brings that out as well and you will probably get lots of supposedly well-intentioned input from your non-vege friends and family members. We're in the same boat... We are vege (ovo-lacto) too and are raising our son that way as well. He is now 11.5 months old and happy, healthy and goin' strong. That's not to say it hasn't taken some effort!
    DS started on some solids about a week before his 6 month point - since I knew his pediatrician was going to want to hear that at his 6mo check up! We did the cereals thing and then gradually started adding organic produce. I make about 95% of DS's food myself, the other 5% are things that are out of season but I still want him to have so buy an organic brand of pre-made with no additives, etc. We have never done meat of any kind - and the only reason to really have any concerns about going this route is not protein, but iron. Somewhere between 6-9 months, the iron reserves that baby is born with start to get used up and s/he needs to have that replenished by diet. If you are taking an iron supplement, baby will still get iron through your breastmilk. That iron - while not a HUGE amount - is very highly bioavailable, so it's a great source. The rest of your (vege) baby's iron can come from iron fortified cereals, iron fortified yogurt (when baby is ready for that; YoBaby makes a fruit and cereal organic produce that has 45% of a day's iron in itl DS loves this), lentils, beans, tofu, some veggies.

    We added boiled organic pureed lentils (cook with a little bit of vege broth - but keep salt content low!) to DS's diet at the point that other folks would have added meat. Now he loves cooked lentils and eats them as finger food. We did the same with organic black beans and boy, do I get a chuckle out of seeing J stuff handfulls of black beans into his little mouth! He also loves cooked (again, in a light vege broth; PM me if you want recipes) bits of tofu. Plain, straight cooked tofu did make him cry , I should mention, so you might want to flavor it somehow! J also loves scrambled (with cheese) egg yolk, though hard-cooked egg yolk was never something he would eat. Edemame is a new one we're trying and that's going over OK. Since he is old enough for a wider variety of things, a lentil/brown-rice/cheesey dish is also on his line-up. Oh, a super-favorite is something called "tofu balls" - it's kind of like meatballs but made with tofu. I'm happy to share that recipe. It's easy.

    I should also mention that when J had his iron level checked at his 9 mo check-up, it was on the low side. This was before he was consistently eating his lentils and beans and he had had about 3 weeks of refusing ceareal. Our doc had us try a liquid vitamin supplement and that was horrible. We could get it in him just fine, but he had such horrible reflux that after 2-3 days we had to stop since he was miserable and got to the point of not wanting to eat at all, poor baby. We worked hard with foods and I really increased my iron intake (with the OK from my own doc) so he'd get a bigger boost thru my milk and all that got him on track. His levels were normal w/in another 3-4 weeks. We now add a crushed 1/4 of a chewable multivitamin to one of his meals every day (at doc's suggestion), to keep him covered.

    Whew; that was alot - but YES, it can be done and it's not that hard. PM me if you want more specifics and/or recipes. Good luck.....have fun.....and congrats on your choices!
    Jsmom
    Last edited by jsmom; March 8th, 2006 at 01:25 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Vegetarian baby?

    i was just going to post a question similar to this one....so thanks for the insights. i've been a vegetarian for over ten years and don't want to feed dd any meat.

    jsmom--does your son have gas from the blk beans and lentils? this is my biggest concern.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Vegetarian baby?

    Thanks for all the advice Jsmom! It's nice to know that there are supportive and helpful people out there! If I could get some recipes from you that would be great!! Especially the tofu balls...those sound really good!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Vegetarian baby?

    Hi Mayasmom and Autumnsmom! Just a quick response for the moment; I'm leading the new students in my research group through an experiment today (oh, the joys of trying to lead a complicated life!) so will respond in full detail later tomorrow. BUT, for now, some quickies... regarding gas.... yes, some. But not as bad as I would have expected and frankly, it doesn't seem to bother him. We started off slowly with bean and lentils, little bits at a time, to get him acclimated. First we did purees, then gradually have moved to whole. It's interesting to note that he did not really like the purees but once he got to being able to eat either as finger food/feed himself, he has loved them. And I always cook them in a little light vege broth to add some more flavor. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but I *think* that having yogurt in his diet has also helped his digestive coping! Oh, also...if you start with dried black beans, soak them for 24 hours and change the water at least 2-3 times to help remove some of the gas-causing sugars. Lentils don't have to be soaked, just rinsed well first.
    We sometime eat 'harvest burger for recipes/crumbles' (the adults in the family, I mean) as something in a tomato sauce or some other way (again, I'll share recipes when i can sit still longer) and while J loves those (just microwaved, plain, nothing added), THOSE give him gas that actually does seem to bother him - so we cut back on those to less than 1x per every couple of weeks and will see if he outgrows the gasiness. Those are mostly texturized vegetable protein and couldn't be easier. Oh well for now!

    The book 'Super Baby Food' by Ruth Yaron is worth reading, IMHO. It's very much presented from a vegetarian/organic point of view and has some great ideas and recipes. It's worth adding to your knowlege base, anyway!

    I promise more info - and the tofu balls recipe (those wind up being sort of like a cross between a dumpling and a matzoh ball soup matzoh ball-like thing!) in the next day or so.
    best regards............jsmom, aka linda
    Last edited by jsmom; March 9th, 2006 at 04:02 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Vegetarian baby?

    I purchased a lll book called Whole Foods for Babies and Toodlers byMargaret Kenda and it goes into detail about what your baby can eat.It talks about the obiesty epedemic and of corse THE VEA GIE BABY. It tells you that you're not to start on cereals, but bananas or sweet potatoe or avacotoe first. Hope this gives you some incoragment on what dr say too. A lot of times drs go by what the pyramid says. It's not so. Especially with a new tummy that is used to breast milk.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Vegetarian baby?

    I am so happy to see this thread!! I've been wondering the same things.
    DS is almost 10 months now and is thriving on breastmilk and fruits, veggies, and yogurt and I'd like to keep it that way. Thanks for all the tips.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Vegetarian baby?

    Within about a week of starting on rice cereal, we added avocado. Then sweet potato. Then banana... Avocado is still a near-daily part of the diet and DS really enjoys it. The fats are so good for the developing brain and extended nervous system. J certainly has always been way more into the produce than the cereals. The only reason we did try to incorporate cereal was for the iron value, since that is important starting at around 6 or so months....
    jsmom

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Vegetarian baby?

    OK....sorry it has taken me several days to come back here....but finally, as promised, here is the tofu-balls recipe. (I hope it's not a problem to post this here; it's part of this thread, even if this is a recipe and should maybe go in in the 'recipes' area??)

    Original recipe (with some of my discoveries in parens):
    1 lb firm tofu (I use a 20 oz block and that's fine)
    4 TB grated cheese
    2 TB soy sauce
    1 ts garlic powder (or one clove fresh)
    2 ts basil (1/4 ts dried oregano works great, too)
    2 beaten eggs
    1 C breadcrumbs or matzoh meal
    4 TB flour

    Put everything into the bowl of a food processor and blend until fairly cohesive. Shape into ~1 inch balls (or close to it; no need to be too precise!) and bake on an oiled cookie sheet (or, you can cheat and use a sheet of parchment paper - much easier cleanup) for one hour at 350 F.
    Simmer in tomato sauce for about 30 minutes.

    Modifications for feeding to baby younger than one year....
    (1) Cut the soy sauce amount in half, down to 1 TB. No need for baby to get more sodium than necessary. Also, this balances out if you 'broth them' (see below).
    (2) use two beaten egg yolks instead of whole eggs
    (3) add abt 4 TB water (more, if you need) to make up for the lost moisture in the eggwhites
    (4) skip the tomato sauce part for baby until they are OK with tomato! The simmering, however, softens the outter part of the tofu ball that can get kind of crunchy from baking. The options that I've worked out are these.... either peel the outside off and give insides to baby, OR, simmer for about 15-20 minutes in a light vege broth! This softens and adds more flavor.

    The first time DS ate these, he was interested, but not a huge raving fan. Now, he absolutely loves them and will eat 2 or more (torn up, of course) while doing his happy-dancing-in-the-highchair routine!

    One other thing...if you use matzoh mean instead of breadcrumbs (I happened to have this around after playing with a friend's matzoh ball soup recipe and didn't have fresh breadcrumbs on hand), note that baby may find this a little...binding. You may have a day or so of firmer stools, therefore. I'm not talking constipation by any means, but just an obvious change in texture...so bring on the fruit as dessert!

    In all the years I've made these, they never have lasted long enough to freeze, but I've just this weekend made a batch solely for baby and put them in the freezer. I'll report back in a week or so after seeing how they fare with thawing, then brothing, then serving!
    best regards,
    Jsmom

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Vegetarian baby?

    what age did you start giving the tofu balls?

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