For vegan and vegetarian mothers, it’s crucial to ensure that their diet fulfils all the essential nutrient requirements for their little ones (Image: Shutterstock)
By making a few mindful adjustments and informed choices, breastfeeding on a vegan diet can become a rewarding and beneficial experience
Breastfeeding establishes a unique and nurturing connection between a mother and her baby. For vegan and vegetarian mothers, it’s crucial to ensure that their diet fulfils all the essential nutrient requirements for their little ones. By making a few mindful adjustments and informed choices, breastfeeding on a vegan diet can become a rewarding and beneficial experience. Here are some valuable tips to guide you through this remarkable journey.
Enhance Your Protein Intake
Protein is an essential nutrient for both mother and baby, as it supports growth and development. As a vegan, it’s important to incorporate a variety of plant-based protein sources into your diet. Food items like beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, nuts and seeds are excellent sources of protein.
Follow a Calcium-Rich Lifestyle
Calcium is crucial for healthy bones and it’s important for both the mother and the baby. While dairy products are a common source of calcium, as a vegan, you can opt for fortified plant-based milk alternatives like soy milk, almond milk or oat milk. Include calcium-rich foods such as leafy greens and those that are calcium-fortified.
Prioritise Vitamin B12 Supplementation
Adding Vitamin B12 is crucial for vegan mothers as this essential nutrient is found mainly in animal-based products. Without a sufficient intake of vitamin B12, both the mother and the baby can be at risk of deficiency. To ensure you meet your vitamin B12 needs, look for supplements specifically made for vegans.
Iron And Zinc
Iron plays a vital role in maintaining healthy blood cells, while zinc supports overall growth. To meet the iron needs, include a variety of iron-rich plant foods in your diet, such as whole grains, tofu, nuts and leafy greens. Meanwhile, zinc from plant sources is not as readily absorbed by the body compared to zinc from animal products. Therefore, considering a zinc supplement might be beneficial.
Optimal Omega-3 Intake
Ensuring an adequate intake of Omega-3 fatty acids is essential for breastfeeding vegan mothers, as these nutrients play a crucial role in the development of the baby’s brain and eyes. While Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly found in seafood, vegan sources can still be incorporated into your diet.