Breastfeeding and Vegan?
First of all, I apologize if I should have posted this in the breastfeeding Q&A post -- I wasn't sure if I should have or not, so decided to make my own post.
I am a vegetarian exclusively breastfeeding my one month old. I found out today that she is allergic to dairy and possibly soy. Her pediatrician wants me to cut dairy out of my diet and limit soy. I am nervous to do this because, when I had to cut out dairy while breastfeeding my son who had a dairy allergy, my supply went down. I'm not sure if that is because of me not getting enough protein or because I never had an abundant supply to begin with with him. With my daughter, I do have a good supply. So, any ideas on how to eat a good diet with enough protein and nutrients? I just need support from other moms who have gone through this. Does less protein in the diet mean a lower milk supply? Thanks! :)
You should be fine. If you are eating a HEALTHY vegan diet, you should get all the protein & other nutrients you could ever need without stressing over it.
I went through my whole pregnancy as a vegan (w/o prenatals), breastfed my daughter until age 2 (w/o any problems or lack of milk), and now have a very healthy 7-yr-old vegan.
Good luck! You can do it & make it awesome. :)
What Quintess says is very true. Eat a good balance of vegan foods - legumes (including or not including soy), whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. You'll get plenty of protein as long as you are eating all of those foods and eating enough calories.
I'm breastfeeding my very healthy 13 month old. Also had a vegan pregnancy. I actually had oversupply issues for the first 4 months. Since then I've always made the perfect amount for her.
I breastfed my daughter for a little over 3 years on a vegan diet. What the others say is true. I also had oversupply problems at first.
I've never heard anything about a lower protein diet reducing milk supply, and there is no reason for you diet to be reduced in protein anyway. Almond milk is a good soy-free substitution and is readily available these days.
From my limited circle of friends, most supply problems seem to come from mild dehydration of the mother, pacifiers, and use of a bottle. (For every bottle your child drinks, you need to pump the same amount out, or you won't produce enough.)
Oatmeal is supposed to be good for your milk supply too. I frequently had people ask me how I was going to make milk if I don't drink it. I'd just ask them where the cow got it from. Mamma cow does have to drink mild to produce milk. She eats grass, hay, corn, soy, whatever. I'd be very surprised if you have any trouble at all.
I had to cut out dairy, soy, eggs and nuts because of my daughter's allergies when I was breastfeeding. (This was when i made the switch from vegan to vegetarian) I had to COMPLETELY cut these things out of my diet for her to stop reacting, so if your daughter is still having problems with small amounts of soy you may have to do that as well. My supply was fine and I nursed my child until she was 27 or so months old. Fequent feedings, and enough calories were important, as I believe fats are too. I kept a food journal making sure I was getting enough calories, protein, calcium, and fat. Fat can come from olive oil, coconut milk yogurt, (its soy free) by So Delicious brand, Earth Balance (margarine, has a soy-free one in the red containers,) avocados. During this time i ate TONS of quinoa, (it has lots of protein and calcium), beans and avocados. It was actually the healthiest I have ever eaten, and I wish I would have eaten like that throughout my whole pregnancy. As far as the nuts go, my doctor had me go on a complete elimination diet, eating only several/ not common allergy foods for two weeks, than adding back in others as I went. I'm sure it depends on the severity of the allergy, and if you have already found that dairy is the cause and that nuts do not have an effect than its probably fine, but if she continues to react nuts can also be a common food allergen.