Vegan Infant Formula - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 05-10-2007, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The recent news story about the baby who was starved to death got me wondering about vegan infant formulas. This particular couple seemed to be completely clueless about infant nutrition, and I'm sure that omnivores can be just as neglectful. It's a real shame that the news spun this story the way they did- veganism didn't kill this baby- starvation did.

But I am wondering if part of the reason they fed their baby apple juice and soy milk because there wasn't a commercial infant formula they felt comfortable using. I'm wondering what choices there are for vegan parents if breastfeeding isn't an option or if supplementation is needed.

Are soy formulas truly vegan?

Are there any commercial infant (or toddler) formulas available that are truly vegan?

Are there any recipes for homemade vegan infant formula?

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#2 of 17 Old 05-10-2007, 07:30 PM
 
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Last I read, there were no totally vegan formulas in the US. I believe there is one on the market in the UK.

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#3 of 17 Old 05-10-2007, 08:02 PM
 
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Well, obviously the best food to give a vegan baby is straight from the mama. It is so strange that some people do not consider breastmilk to be vegan. :

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#4 of 17 Old 05-10-2007, 08:11 PM
 
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Vegans do consider breastmilk to be vegan. That mother believed her milk to be tainted by toxins she consumed before becoming a vegan.

ETA: Newborns should not be vegan. If they cannot have breastmilk they MUST have milk fats from an animal source, it is essential for brain development.

Amy: Certified Professional Midwife and mom to Max (11) and Stella (6).
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#5 of 17 Old 05-10-2007, 08:27 PM
 
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Farley's make a soya formula from birth onwards. (they may be the UK company that Angela mentioned above - they are one of the "big names" in formula and jarred baby food over here.) They claim that it is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. I just did a google search for it because I couldn't remember the name of the company and it came up with a whole load of recall notices as a batch had been contaminated with milk products! Not good!!!!

I had problems breastfeeding my 3rd baby and I used a goats milk based formula to suppliment with. I think if I was vegan I probably would have done the same thing. I don't think I'd be happy with my babys diet consisting only of soya for the first 6 months to a year. But if you are a strict vegan who can't breastfeed then I don't know what else you could do. I doubt that customs would allow you to import Farleys soya formula over to the US.

I was really sad to read the news story you mentioned. I feel so sorry for the baby, and for the parents too. I wonder where they got their ideas about nutrition? I read in one news report that investigators found they had no food in the house. I wonder what they ate? I wonder what their definition of vegan was and where their information came from.
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#6 of 17 Old 05-10-2007, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by vermontgirl View Post
Well, obviously the best food to give a vegan baby is straight from the mama. It is so strange that some people do not consider breastmilk to be vegan. :
Which is exactly why I asked what options vegan families have if breastmilk is not available or if supplementation is needed. Most women can breastfeed sucessfully with the right information and support. Not all women get that support. Some women cannot breastfeed exclusively even if they do everything "right." Donor milk is not always available in sufficient quantities, so sometimes formula must be used.

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#7 of 17 Old 05-10-2007, 08:43 PM
 
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AFAIK there is not a vegan artificial breastmilk that would meet the essential fat needs of a newborn.

Amy: Certified Professional Midwife and mom to Max (11) and Stella (6).
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#8 of 17 Old 05-10-2007, 09:15 PM
 
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IIRC, the only thing that's not vegan in many soy formulas is the vit. D. Is this correct?

I have to say, among the vegans I know, I can't think of a one who wouldn't give their dc formula with non-vegan vit. if they couldn't bf.
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#9 of 17 Old 05-10-2007, 09:40 PM
 
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so basically, they would choose killing their baby over a formula that isnt totally vegan? wth?! what, did they actually think that their baby could thrive on what they were feeding it? :
this is really madening.

DS 5-11-06
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#10 of 17 Old 05-10-2007, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by nataliachick7 View Post
so basically, they would choose killing their baby over a formula that isnt totally vegan? wth?! what, did they actually think that their baby could thrive on what they were feeding it? :
this is really madening.
I have no clue what, or even if, that couple was thinking. Their story just sparked my curiosity about vegan parenting in general, and what normal vegan parents would do if formula was needed.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#11 of 17 Old 05-10-2007, 10:33 PM
 
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I am vegan and when our bf relationship was ruined I did look into vegan formula. I couldnt find anything. After a lot of thinking we put him on a milk based over a soy based. Soy is scary to me, as well as dairy is. Now that he's turning 1 I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Our options are either continue formula, soy milk, or I'm going to search for a local goats milk. We werent prepared for any of this because we had planned on CLW.
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#12 of 17 Old 05-10-2007, 11:15 PM
 
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Honestly, babies NEED things that only breastmilk of some mammal can provide. If I couldn't breastfeed and WOULDN'T give cow/goat/etc milk I would seek out a wet nurse or milk bank. Babies NEED things like cholesterol.
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#13 of 17 Old 05-11-2007, 01:08 AM
 
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Here's the order I would go (or my husband, if I died or something...even if I were comatose, I want him to pump me):

1)vegan friend
2)non-vegan friend
3)vegan stranger donor
4)non-vegan stranger donor
5)soy formula (TEMPORARILY)
6)small farm goat
7)cow in an absolute emergency

I would only use a non-human if there are no other options at all. My husband and I would take out loans, newspaper ads, LLL, church, milkshare, wherever, whatever, to get him the good stuff. The thought of not being able to feed my son makes me so sad (in fact, I'm feeding him right now ) I hope to get a good freezer stash just in case too.
I want any family (esp vegan/organic families)to know I am lucky enough to have a good supply and would be happy to share.
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#14 of 17 Old 05-11-2007, 01:17 AM
 
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I absolutely do not believe in vegan infant formula. No way. Infants were made to drink milk- -human milk-- but in the absence of human milk they need to drink some kind of milk. Soy should be reserved for babies who cannot tolerate other kinds of milk. It is egineered to resemble milk but it is not milk. It is made of beans, and the last time I checked, babies were not meant to process beans as newborns.

My daughter is on a medical formula (food) for very food allergic people. It is probably vegan. It has basically sugar, vitamins, and amino acids. No proteins. I suppose the vitamins might be animal derived . . . they are so processed that it's hard to tell. But as far as I can tell it's vegan. If those people were that extreme they should have asked for someone to give them breastmilk and if they were unable to find someone to do that they could have considered soymilk or this amino acid based medical formula.

In the back of my head I'm wondering if this baby didn't have a feeding problem-- I doubt it if she was only offering it juice and soymilk. But a baby could still at least grow a little bit on those things if it was given enough of them to at least get some calories and turn that into fat. The baby would have lacked some essential vitamins, developed rickets and other things, but it would not have starved that fast. I think they must have either severely limited the caloric intake of the baby or it had some major feeding problems. In any case, there is no excuse at all for allowing it to starve like that.

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#15 of 17 Old 05-12-2007, 04:19 PM
 
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There are vegan formulas. The soy Farley's formula that was already mentioned and can be imported from the UK. And I think Heinz does or did manufacture one in Australia.
As a vegan if my breasts got chopped off or whatever, I would first offer donor milk from another vegan, followed by donor milk from a vegetarian, then vegan soy-formula, then donor milk from a non-vegetarian, followed by an elemental formula, followed by an organic soy-formula.
Enough donor milk can be found if you know where to ask, but it is quite an ongoing chore. But I would exhaust myself trying for sure if I absolutely could not breastfeed.
(FWIW I had a few veg mamas offer milk to me if I needed it for my second son when my milk took 5 days to come in...I didn't end up needing it, but I was surprised at how I received such generous offers just from mentioning my possible quandary within days of giving birth. These were mostly local mamas too.)

Sheena - You may feel that newborns should not be vegan, but I can assure you that most vegans disagree. And most do very well on vegan formula if breastmilk is not available.

I didn't see this particular news story, does anyone have a link? So sad for that baby.

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#16 of 17 Old 05-12-2007, 04:32 PM
 
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Sheena - You may feel that newborns should not be vegan, but I can assure you that most vegans disagree. And most do very well on vegan formula if breastmilk is not available.
Oh no, that's not my feeling or even my opinion. There are glycoproteins, glycolipids, and numerous other glycoconjugates in milk that cannot be duplicated in soy formulas.

I'm not saying other animal products are necessary for humans to live but a newborn human needs animal bases milk in order to grow their brain to it's full potential. Sure, a newborn could technically survive without adequate milk fats but why would you compromise them?

Amy: Certified Professional Midwife and mom to Max (11) and Stella (6).
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#17 of 17 Old 05-14-2007, 04:18 PM
 
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IF this mama was, um, altered (for lack of a better word) enough to not breastfeed because of the toxins in her milk prior to the pregnancy then she sure as hell isn't going to seek out donor milk (when she has no idea what the donor is consuming) I don't agree one iota with what they did, but clearly veganism had nothing to do with it. THey were just not all there.

veganf-Vegan formula hasn't been around very long, and it hasn't been available in most countries. We really have no idea what the outcome will be of the babies using it. Given that breastmilk is an animal product (considering we are animals) why do you think most vegans would agree? I knew my baby needed this animal product, and clearly better from me than a cow or goat especially since I wouldn't deprive the poor babies from their own mama milk. I don't know. I think most vegans would agree that breastmilk is what a baby needs, and if you break it down what is found in breastmilk isnt' found in soy formula-veg or not.
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