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Thread: Vegetarian Needing Guidance

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    15

    Default Vegetarian Needing Guidance

    My baby is 4 wks old and still hasn't gained back his birth weight. He does have GERD, and his older brother also had GERD. Older brother ate only enough to survive and my milk supply dropped, so with my new baby I bought a Medela Double Select and pump 2-3 times a day opposite him eating to try to keep an eye on how much is being demanded/produced. In the am it's about 3 oz (one side) but by night it's down to 1 oz. His GERD gets worse at night.
    I was told to stay away from milk, and I have been trying to watch my protein sources carefully, but lots of people keep questioning my milk quality, as well as my supply. I really want to BF, but am worried. Since a veggie diet is naturally lower in fat than a non-veggie diet, might I be producing milk that is too low-fat for my baby? I've been a veggie since 1997, and will eat meat if my body really craves it, but without a strong craving I can't digest meat well and always make myself feel sick. I know my body has plenty of fat stores it can burn, but how can I know my milk is good enough for my baby?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Vegetarian Needing Guidance

    Hi there!

    Usually a vegetarian and even a vegan mother can eat a balanced diet and make a good milk supply for her baby. However, it is concerning that your baby hasn't gained back his birthweight at 4 weeks. What was his birthweight? His lowest weight? What is his weight now? How are his wet and dirty diapers looking?

    Here is a good guide to tell if your baby is getting enough. Pumping is not a good indicator of supply:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/enough.html

    Here is an article about the vegetarian breastfeeding mother that you may also find helpful.
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/llleade...nJul97p69.html

    I'd strongly suggest you find a LLL Leader or IBCLC in your area that can evaluate you in person. Like I said, it is pretty concerning that your baby still hasn't regained birthweight.

    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Vegetarian Needing Guidance

    can you pump after feedings and give your son what you've pumped throughout the day at night? or pump at night every night at the same time after your son goes to sleep and supplement with the ebm that you pump?? that's what i do...i'll try to pump every night at 10:30pm and at 1am..just keep pumping at times you are low and your body will make more during those times. as for being a veggie ..my friend is a veggie and she has nursed to babies successfully ..are you eating tofu and other protiens? try drinking drinks with electrolytes in them..like Recharge and Smart Water...are you taking any DHA supplements? that could maybe help. i'm not a veggie so i don't really know what else to suggest..i just know when i was a veggie i didn't seem to eat very well so really try to eat more and drink more liquids* ALSO...if you don't already have this you should get a bra that holds both breast shields so you can pump both bb's at the same time..you'll get way more milk.. www.easyexpressionproducts.com ..i would say that that was one of my best investments! also after i rented the medela classic hospital grade pump i get way more milk than my other medela which is the pump in style..so you might want to check out renting a pump for a week and see what you get*
    Last edited by mommason; June 3rd, 2006 at 10:30 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Vegetarian Needing Guidance

    LLL LactoJen,
    He was born 8 lbs 12 oz, at the 90th percentile. He was 8 lbs 4 oz when we left the hospital, dropped to 8 lbs at 2 wks old, held there for a week, and at 4 wks he was 8 lbs 8 oz, down to the 25th percentile.
    I have trouble getting him to eat well. Sometimes he nurses fine, other times he will fall asleep and unlatch with milk dribbling off his chin. I try to play with his feet and ears and anything else I can to keep him awake, but it doesn't always work. Even when he wakes he just nibbles, doesn't nurse. Other times he comes off screaming and arching back- probably the reflux. I try to keep his head above his stomach at all times, but sometimes even that doesn't help his reflux.
    I vary my proteins, not so much tofu, but between meatless "meats" like veggie burgers, chicken, not-dogs and eggs (free range, naturally fed) and cheese (in moderation). I also get some protein from nuts and my whole grains. I used to drink milk and eat yogurt, but was asked to stop milk and the like in case the lactulose was transferring and causing a problem. I still eat some cheese, but not much, and not often. My DHA sources are the eggs and nuts, primarily. I drink about 3 32 oz glasses of water/flavored water each day.
    His wet diaper counts are usually 7-8. On really fussy days wet diapers drop to 5-6. BM's were all liquid mustard yellow color at first, no seeds or any solid matter. Now they are normal mustard yellow with seeds. He has wet farts that I don't count, but usually 2 poopy diapers per day.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Vegetarian Needing Guidance

    Just going by his wet/soiled diaper output, I would say that you have plenty of milk and you are doing fine. I have heard of GERD babies having gaining problems, so it might be worth looking into a little more. Also, if your baby has an allergic condition like Celiac disease, or a malabsorption issue, this can cause weight gain to be slow or even stop. Your milk supply doesn't seem to be the issue, however foods you are eating very well could be causing a problem. My best advice is to talk with your ped first and see what they think, then go on an elimination diet and see if there are any changes. Good luck!!!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Vegetarian Needing Guidance

    Okay, so his weight is on an upward trend again. 8 oz in one week is a GREAT sign! When was the last time he was weighed? I'd urge you to go in soon and have him weighed again, just to make sure that the weight is continuing to go up.

    Don't worry too much about percentiles at this point. Those charts are usually based on formula fed babies who have different growth patterns. In these early weeks, we like to go by birthweight and how much has been gained or lost compared to that. We usually like to see them regain birthweight by about 3 weeks, so at 4 weeks, he's a little below that still, but as I said, it's a good sign that the weight is going up now. Just watch it closely to make sure it continues to go up.

    He's having plenty of wet and dirty diapers as well, another good sign that he's getting enough milk. To keep him suckling when he's drowsy try breast compressions:

    1. Make a "C" with your hand and use it to support the breast with the thumb on the underside of the breast.

    2. Any time he stops suckling, gently squeeze the breast. This will usually result in his starting to suckle again.

    3. When he starts to suckle again, let go. When he stops, gently squeeze again. Repeat, rotating your hand around your breast.

    4. When the compression fails to stimulate suckling, burp him and offer the other side. If he's still not interested or stays asleep, then he's probably full enough.

    How often is he eating? He should be eating at least every two hours during the day and every 4 at night. More if he shows signs of hunger, of course. But if he sleeps longer than 2 hrs day/4 hrs night, try to wake him and feed him. You need to do this until he regains his birthweight.

    Something else to consider is a Vitamin B12 deficiency in your own diet. It's pretty rare and it sounds like you do get some eggs and dairy, but a Vit B12 deficiency in YOUR diet could lead to a Vit B12 deficiency in your baby. You may want to discuss taking a Vit B12 supplement with your health care practitioner. Drink to thirst--your body knows how much fluid you need, and don't force it down if you aren't thirsty. And, as you probably already know, you need to make sure you're getting a good calcium intake, especially considering your vegetarian diet and the fact that you're not eating much dairy.

    Please keep us posted! I hope this helps!
    Hugs
    Jen
    "Mothers are designed to be available to their babies--to help them make the transition into this big, wide world. To teach them to trust, and love, and feel good about being alive."
    --Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq., So I Nursed Him Every 45 Minutes

    Click here to find your local LLL Group
    How to tell if your breastfed baby is getting enough milk!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,198

    Default Re: Vegetarian Needing Guidance

    From the "take care of mom, too" point of view on the vegetarian thing, you should also be conscious of how much iron-rich foods you are getting. Tofu, if you can eat it/like it, would be good to increase. Similarly, lentils and black beans would fill some gaps in your intake. Are you still taking a pre-natal vitamin? If not, consider it while you are BF! The extra iron and calcium would be good for you. I agree with the PP; discuss B12 intake with a medical practitioner.... good luck......jsmom (long-time veggie chick; w/ DS veggie too and going strong at 14+ months!)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    2,601

    Default Re: Vegetarian Needing Guidance

    I do eat some meat but mostly like a vegan bc of Thomas' allergy's. No dairy at all and no vitames BC they contain dairy, the story is too long to get in to but anyway..... My ds has always been on the small side and I seriously thought about testing myself for the B12 def, I think now that it has come back up I will ask my ob to test for it at my annual. Anyway, please do not feel that your milk is inferior or not as rich for your baby. Your milk even on a vegg diet is perfect for your baby. I agree with J's mom up your tofu and lentils if possible but please, I encourage you, as I have had to learn over the past year, to trust your body and your baby to provide and grow the way that God has designed you too. It is a rare day that this breastfeeding thing will not work for everyones benefit.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Vegetarian Needing Guidance

    hi, i am vegetarian, for 10+yrs. My little one is 5 weeks and has bad baby acne and red little dots all over his body except his diaper area. 1. has anyone had a baby with this? My Ped said to stop eating dairy, but if it isn't in his diaper area, how can it be something i am eating? We use dreft to wash his clothes too. His baby acne is starting to clear up on his face (he still has little bumps and the occasional whiteheads), but his belly has little red dots everywhere and when he gets upset they get even redder. I am worried that i am missing something. I was told to cut out dairy, soy, beans (he has bad gas), so if i do this what do i eat then?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    869

    Default Re: Vegetarian Needing Guidance

    I thought beans were okay. The reason they cause some people to get gas is the high fiber content. Fiber does not transfer through breastmilk. I think beans are probably a better option than nuts, as nuts are a common food allergy.

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