Veganism is a great path in life to take, fighting for animal rights, the environment, and ethical practices. But, when you have kids, you have to put all other things aside and focus on the health of your child.
This is where it gets tricky. You may be vegan, but kids are very delicate, they have specific nutritional needs and if not met they can stunt growth, affect their health, and even endanger their lives.
It would be wonderful if all the protein your kid needed was in a plate of kale, but it just doesn’t work that way. So, I am here to tell you that while being vegan is awesome, we have to think about our kids first.
Let’s dive into the facts together, shall we?
Is It Wrong To Raise Your Child Vegan?
Generally, yes, it’s wrong to raise your child vegan.
I am sorry, but not only is your child their own person who will make their own choices, but as a young child, a plant-based diet is not enough for their nutritional needs.
I have a nephew called Simon, the parents knew they would have to make sacrifices for him. Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t like it, and using animal products really didn’t feel good, but Simon needed them to grow and be healthy.
We have to love our kids first, and put their needs first, and sadly… This is one of those things.
Why Should Children Not Be Vegan?
At their baby/toddler age, they should only need your breast milk or formula, so at this point, they’re neither here nor there with animal products or plants.
Most parents should introduce solids around 6 months of age. Now, it’s not necessarily difficult to keep animal products off their plate, but you have to ensure they get the right amounts of protein and fats.
Protein is usually met through lentils, peas, beans, and so on, and vegan milks. But these do not always support the amount they need, which is a lot.
Fat is also imperative, it supports their brains, and nuts, flax seeds, and avocado. But it’s hard to get enough.
Is It Ethical To Raise A Child Vegetarian?
It’s not exactly bad to raise a child vegetarian, but you cannot push this on them, allow them to make their own choice about it. They should start life with a ‘traditional’ diet, and make their choices later down the road.
Note that kids’ nutritional needs are different from adult needs, and forcing them on any diet can affect their health.
Do Vegan Babies Develop Slower?
You can have a healthy vegan child, but I recommend not doing this.
A vegan diet can hamper their growth, they might not achieve their full growth, and it could dampen their intellectual development, which will harm their overall quality of life or potential.
This is why the parents begrudgingly allowed Simon to take his own path. It was hard for them, as I imagine it would be for any of you, but it was the right thing for him, and they know as he grows up he will follow whatever path calls to him the most.
Do Vegan Mothers Have Smaller Babies? The Facts
Having a full vegan or vegetarian diet during pregnancy is closely associated with infants which are smaller at their age of gestation (aka. birth), compared to those whose mothers ate an omnivorous diet.
There are no other health conditions that are yet associated with this.
But, during the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, we ladies are meant to put on more weight, when you are vegan or veggie this may not happen so easily and as a result, the baby ends up being born smaller, which can be problematic, but not always.
Do Vegans Raise Their Kids As Vegans?
This is hard to say. It depends on where you stand. It is best to let your kids make their own choices, even when they are young. Present them with the option of having a diet like Mommy and Daddy.
They may take it.
A vegan diet is okay for a kid, but you have to make sure you do it right. Simon chose to have a vegan diet like his parents when he turned 4, and he loves running into the kitchen and seeing what is for dinner. But, you need to plan a kid’s diet and make sure they get their nutrients.
Honestly, it feels better knowing Simon chose to be vegan, instead of his parents forcing him. What’s better is he is a really healthy kid, with so much energy, because they let him choose to be vegan with them.
Is It Illegal To Make Kids Vegan?
In some countries, like Belgium, it can be illegal to make your kid vegan. But not in most, it can be frowned upon though.
I will say this, though, you should never MAKE your kid do anything. Allow them to make choices, and it will help them grow into well-adapted young people who are ethically minded.
The Pros Of Raising Your Children Vegan
So, what is good about raising a vegan kid? From my experience with my nephew Simon, who chose a vegan diet, these are the pros.
- Family meals are easier, as we all eat the same.
- Healthier options.
- Less saturated fats.
- Less risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.
- Growing their compassion.
- No dead animals or animal cruelty involved.
- Much lower risk of obesity.
The Cons Of Raising Your Children Vegan
What is bad about raising a kid vegan? I know someone who raised her kid vegan from his birth, and this is what I noticed:
- Vitamin deficiencies are possible.
- Harder to balance in youth.
- Smaller babies.
- Mental growth drawbacks.
- Physical growth hindrance.
- Nutritional deficiencies are possible.
The best thing to do is ensure balance if you want to raise your baby vegan.
Although I personally do not support raising your babies vegan, that doesn’t mean you cannot do that, and that your baby won’t grow up healthy.
I definitely know parents who had their baby and it was grown on a fully vegan-friendly diet.
Unfortunately, I also know cases of parents who also raised their children vegan, and some of them have some terrible illnesses.
When you are a parent, you don’t think about yourself and your own beliefs, you think about your child. You want the best for your child, so let the child decide. Remember, children tend to follow in the footsteps of their parents.
If you both eat vegan, then the chances that your child will go vegan as well, are pretty high!