A vegetarian or vegan mother does not need to take any special dietary precautions as long as she is maintaining a diet with adequate amounts of vitamin B12, calcium and zinc. This is something that mom needs to do for herself, even if she is not breastfeeding. If you are avoiding meat but eating any other type of animal protein eggs, milk, cheese or other dairy products, fish, poultry you will normally get enough vitamin B If, on the other hand, you are consuming no animal protein at all — no fish, meat, poultry, eggs or dairy products — you will need to make sure you get enough vitamin B12 to prevent your baby and you from becoming deficient in this vitamin. Vitamin B12 supplements and vitamin B12 fortified foods are available. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers do not need more calcium than normally required for their age group —the Dietary Reference Intake DRI for calcium for women aged is mg per day.
Yes, You Can Be Vegan or Vegetarian and Still Breastfeed
What Vegan Breastfeeding Is Really Like
Since a breastfeeding child gets all of her nutrients from her mother's milk, it's wise to be conscious of what you eat if you're nursing. If these nutritional needs are not met with your vegetarian, vegan, or another diet, some dietary supplementation may be necessary. Mature breast milk contains water, fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, and over 20 different amino acids. Others, however, must come from the foods you eat.
November is National Vegan Month so you may have heard more about eating a vegan diet recently. Mothers, and others, often wonder if a vegan diet is sufficient to support the nutritional needs of a breastfeeding mother and her baby. It may be useful to consider that in many parts of the world a vegan diet is the norm and mothers and babies in those cultures have been healthy for thousands of years.
Studies prove vegan and vegetarian diets can be safe while breastfeeding, as long as Mom is consuming key nutrients. Experts explain what to focus on when breastfeeding on these diets. Courtney Papanicolaou became a vegetarian in after her dermatologist advised a plant-based diet could help boost her immune system and in turn treat her tinea versicolor , a fungal skin condition that causes discolored patches of skin.