Vegan Toddler Losing Weight - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 05-21-2014, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello All,

 

I don't come to the forums often and did a quick skim of the first page and didn't see this topic so I thought I'd ask. If there's already a similar thread, please feel free to move it to the appropriate space.

 

So, my husband and I are vegan, and so is our 15 month old daughter. Well, I'm 98% vegan because I do get lazy around some pastries and started eating yogurt, etc. when I was pregnant. My husband has been vegan for nearly 20 years and will never be anything but. I spent most of my life eating meat and animal products and went vegan a year after meeting him nearly 8 years ago. I am vegan only for ethical reasons--I don't think animal products are nutritionally evil. But my heart aches for animals. And yet, I have this underlying anxiety about my daughter not getting everything she needs from what we eat. And, while I'm not an anti-soy person, I am concerned with overloading her on any one food so we don't eat tofu daily and we eschew more processed vegan foods. So, she eats and loves beans (including tofu and tempeh), grains, fruits, veggies, nut butters, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, added oils to each meal and no juice, only 2 or 3 sweets her entire life, and soy milk when she's with her dad or sitter, water or breastmilk with me.

 

She's happy, bright, super social, a total sweetheart and she looks healthy to me. She is cruising but not walking on her own. We had her evaluated by a physical therapist per her pediatrician at 12 months because she still wasn't pulling up to standing or taking steps and the PT said she was fine and offered us suggestions to get her moving more. We implemented all of them and she's made great strides with her gross motor development. Her fine motor skills are fine--she feeds herself, plays with rings and blocks with no problem, etc.

 

Today was her 15 month visit and she's lost more than a pound and her head circumference was exactly the same. To his credit, our ped was very nonalarmist about this. He said to just give her more cow's milk, cheese, yogurt and that this weight slump is common in breastfeeding toddlers. He didn't suggest I stop nursing but he did say she needed cow's milk in addition to my milk. He said he wasn't worried but that we should do a weight check in a month and a half and go from there. He mentioned Pediasure (I really don't want to give her that crap but whatever it takes, even if temporary). 

 

He knows we're at least vegetarian but when we broached veganism with him when she was a newborn, he was less sure of that. It's my fault, but he thinks she's only vegetarian. I just don't want to get into it with him and since her growth and development has always been fine, I didn't think it was a discussion worth having. 

 

But now I'm worried and I feel sick that I haven't given my beloved child the best start. My husband, of course, thinks she's fine, and I'm overreacting but I was like, we have got to at least get some cheese and eggs into this girl. She is not a picky eater but honestly, I struggle with coming up with a variety of things to feed her daily and feel like she basically eats oatmeal, tofu, beans and grains everyday. I'm not a super cook and I'm honestly very tired most days. I'm just, I'm out of ideas. I'm about to go out buy whole cow's milk and I will give my child a leg of lamb if that's what it takes to keep her healthy and thriving. 

 

But my heart is vegan. And so, I want to know if any of you have experienced this and what you've done. I know, avocados and coconut oil. I'm on it! But what else? How can I do this? I'd really appreciate your actual experiences with vegan toddler weight loss. Thank you for helping me with the freak out I'm having! :)

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#2 of 10 Old 06-02-2014, 10:50 AM
 
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I don't know much about how toddler's should eat but I was vegan in high school and lacked a lot of nutrients when I first started out. I understand your hesitation to give your daughter cows milk, it's really not as healthy as people make it out to be. It sounds like your doctor is trying to suggest a higher fat diet which she's not likely getting with beans and grains (doesn't mean she's not perfectly healthy). Those are great for her but incorporate more vegan fat such as walnuts, avocados, canola oil, coconut oil, etc. If you can, start making high fat vegan recipes (so many online) that way she's getting a variety of these things and you can control exactly what they are. It's tough with toddlers because they can't supplement like adults can when we lack specific nutrients. I hope this was somewhat helpful. Good luck!

Brenna and William - April 11th, 2013
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June 18th, 2014

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#3 of 10 Old 06-02-2014, 11:02 AM
 
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Cow's milk is not needed. You can give her flax/goal/amound milk. I would give her health fats.

I b/f all 3 of my kids and they never had cow's milk.

sorry for mistakes my 2yr old is all over me.
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#4 of 10 Old 06-02-2014, 10:40 PM
 
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:)

Burritos and nachos? That's what makes me gain weight

I personally would not do cows milk, but if you were not opposed I would maybe add yogurt to her diet. Super powered smoothies if she will drink them (we do fruit, almond milk, a scoop of nut butter, banana, frozen fruit, bee pollen, acidophilus, sometimes yogurt, chia seeds, sometimes kale, etc)

It's great that your Dr. is relaxed, and not gaining is no big deal, but loosing would worry me a little. Has her iron been tested? Do you think anything nutritional could be going on?
Does she take any supplements?
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#5 of 10 Old 07-13-2017, 04:39 AM
 
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Almond Milk is a great option against cow milk. But you should mostly breastfeed her as she is a toddler. In the initial years of a baby mother's milk benefit them the most. and its important for you to be healthy first to feed her your milk. Fats play an important role in anyone's life. Include in a lot of iron rich food and make sure to see the doc regularly.
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#6 of 10 Old 07-18-2017, 05:39 AM
 
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Non-dairy formula could help

I have to respectfully disagree about almond milk, which is very low in fat and protein compared to the liquid content, so it's like enhanced water (which is fine, but not a replacement for breast milk). Toddlers nead dense nutrition as close as possible to breast milk, and other animal milks are closer, but far from the only option.

I live in France and almost all toddlers here drink a 3rd stage "growth" formula starting at 12m and going up to 3 years -- it's enriched with vitamins minerals oils etc and usually based on cowsmilk but not always, which is very interesting given that 12mo are given cow's milk in the US. The idea is that they need more nutrition that what's in cow's milk which isn't close enough to human breast milk. (I tried both with my first kid and cow's milk just gave her constant runny nose even though cowmilk-based formula didn't.)

Anyway my point is that there are plant-based *formulas* (go for the 6-12m ones) which will be much richer than any of the alternatives you are considering, and are the closest you can get to a replacement for your own milk and ensure she's getting enough nutrients while staying vegan.
For example, I often used a formula based on rice protein (bought in a pharmacy - NOT the watery rice milk you can buy in stores), partly since soy formula is almost inexistant here. I don't know the brands or options in the US, but I would encourage you do explore this, and maybe to consult with a doctor you trust sharing this information with!
The reason there are formulas for different ages is that their needs change and your milk changes, but my understanding is that there is generally no problem with giving a toddler formula for a baby a few months younger - although you'd want to be very careful in the other direction - if anything the formula for younger babies will be richer in nutrients which is exactly what you want right now!

I know there are major cultural differences but French kids are generally very healthy. Good luck!
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#7 of 10 Old 07-18-2017, 10:28 AM
 
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Is your daughter a vegan? Or is she simply a child who is eating the vegan diet which is provided by her parents - the only option she has been given? I have several friends who are vegan, and they all consider it an ethical or philosophical stance. Would it be easier to make recommended additions to her diet if you stop thinking of her as a "vegan" and simply view her as a rapidly growing child?

You've told us that your child's doctor "knows we're at least vegetarian but when we broached veganism with him when she was a newborn, he was less sure of that. It's my fault, but he thinks she's only vegetarian...."

Is it fair to say that your doctor has been lied to, by omission? If I understand correctly, he is basing his advice, his diagnosis, and his recommendations for any testing and diet modification on the belief that you are eating a typical vegetarian diet, when in fact you are not. Is withholding information from you doctor a good idea?

You yourself are not a strict vegan. You eat pastry which usually contains eggs. Is it reasonable to suggest that perhaps your growing child might also be given this option to have eggs and/or cheese in her diet? Or whatever other food a doctor or nutritionist who is fully informed about your diet and educated about vegetarian toddlers might recommend?
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Last edited by Claudia Chapman; 07-18-2017 at 10:59 AM.
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#8 of 10 Old 07-18-2017, 03:49 PM
 
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Question:

I missed the part before about you being willing to give her eggs and cheese or even a leg of lamb. I apologize.
The following is just a question to ask yourself; I wouldn't expect you to answer here.
Are you feeling conflicted because you'd like to try adding these foods to your daughter's diet but it might create tension in your marriage to contradict your husband's food beliefs? Would your husband be upset if you started to feed your little girl eggs and cheese, or even some chicken or fish?
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#9 of 10 Old 07-18-2017, 04:58 PM
 
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@claudia Chapman this thread is from 2014.
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#10 of 10 Old 07-19-2017, 08:27 AM
 
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Thumbs up

I have been a vegetarian for 20 years, today I discovered a vegetarian recipe, it completely changed my life and my family. I strongly believe it, you try it
I have been a vegetarian for 20 years, today I discovered a vegetarian recipe, it completely changed my life and my family. I strongly believe it, you try it
This is a book that changed my perception: "20 Minutes Ketogenic Vegan Cookbook: 50 Quick & Easy Vegan Recipes For A Healthy Life" on Amazon
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