You are here

What to do after Formula?

My little sister is not vegan but a vegetarian with an 11 month old. My niece has been on vegan formula since she was 6 months (my sister had problems nursing) and the doctor told her today that in a few months she should be able to take her off formula totally because she is eating food so well. Well my sister is worried because the doctor said switch to milk, which she does not want to do, she is trying to go vegan. She was wondering what should she start giving her to drink now to replace the formula in the bottles, soymilk? We were thinking that too much soy might not be good, has anyone done rice milk? She is in a small town and the doctor went crazy when she mentioned the baby being vegan (I will not say where she lives but she was afraid they would call social services when she told them and I would not put it past this town).  Any help from all the vegan Mommy’s out there would be so greatly appreciated. Thanks!

If it were me, I would keep the baby on a little formula for a little past the normal weaning age - cow's milk provides several nutrients that soy and rice and nut milks don't - usually. And since the baby won't be transitioning to cow's milk, that will help provide the nutrients. Then, I would choose a fortified vegan milk. One of the brands we had in the healthfood store had a table that compared their milk to cows milk, nutrient for nutrient - so you could see it was nutritionally pretty equivalent. There are also kiddie nutrition drinks. I think Balanced makes one.

Here's a good article, too. http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/kids.htm

0 likes

all my children transitioned to edensoy extra (plain)
It has the most protein of all of the soymilks

0 likes

I'd stay with some formula for a while, too.  And later I would suggest a mix of soy and rice milks, b/c I too worry about too much soy.  Also, she'll want to make sure that baby is getting enough fats.  Toddlers typically transition to whole milk, because they need fats for proper brain development.  Umm, avocadoes are good.
Oooh, check out Dreena Burton's Vive le Vegan.  There is a whole section on feeding vegan babies and toddlers.

0 likes

When we transitioned from breast to cup, we used soy and other nut milks. To make sure he was getting his Linoleic acid (fat) which everyone was concerned about, I added flax oil to his milk, and still do sometimes. It makes it ugly so I call it "moon milk". This was before the days of Silk Enhanced (which I quit buying because of price).

She could also be supplementing with Hemp oil, which I think is a more complete Omega 3/6 formula. Not too much because the taste is really strong. My 6 year old doesn't like it, but maybe he would if I had started earlier. I do sneak it on to his peanut butter sandwiches though!  

She could also sprinkle some whole food supplements into hot cereal (I use wheat germ, brewer's yeast, kelp, and nutritional yeast-already mixed together in a little spice jar). He doesn't even notice it.

There is also a commercial product called Nature's One that a friend of mine who adopted used until her daughter was a toddler. May I ask what kind of vegan formula your sister is using?

0 likes

My daughter drank formula till 12 months also, after that she was only on solid foods.  I am vegan, but my wife and daughter are vegetarian.  My daughter will not drink anything out of her cup except water.  She does not like milk (soy, rice, cow), or juice.  You may find that formula is the only stuff she will drink.  My daughter gets her calcium in a few different ways: soymilk in her oatmeal every morning and either some whole milk organic yogurt or a smoothie with rice or soy milk for a snack.  If it were just me I would be inclined to raise her vegan, but my wife doesn't think it is realistic for her as a child and can decide that when she is a little older.  I feed her organic everything and try to get her to eat a lot of Ca in her veggies, but she is picky and doesn't like a lot of different vegs, so I imagine that it would be difficult for her to get all her Ca on a strictly vegan diet. 
You may also want to continue to give her formula out of a sippy cup (ween the bottle) for her Ca needs, there is nothing wrong with that.  A lot of women breast feed into the toddler years and if it's the healthiest think for your child (sisters) then do it.
Kevin (stay at home dad)

0 likes

I think fortified soy milk is just fine-- you may just want to watch the sugar as there's more in soy milks especially 'vanilla' etc than cow's milk and brush their teeth 1 - 2x a day and also not let them get "bottle mouth' (fall asleep with bottle)....As far as being concerned about soy, I personally think soy is fine and that's a decision your sister has to make and research. I have found that a lot of the anti-soy articles and studies are private-interested-funded and just a ploy to get everyone to support the dairy/meat industry....now dairy and meat, I think that's what kills people. Here are some links on soy:

http://www.bryannaclarkgrogan.com/page/page/3476771.htm#where
http://www.foodrevolution.org/what_about_soy.htm
http://www.foodrevolution.org/mothering.htm

0 likes

I personally understand the fear of soy and can understand why some might want to avoid or limit it.

However, personally, I would NOT choose to raise a child to be both vegan AND soy free.  I think there are good things in cow's milk, I think there are good things in soy milk, I would not feel comfortable feeding my child a diet devoid of both items.  This is solely personal preference.  Possibly, it can be done - surely it has been done - but it's not a lifestyle many parents happily embrace.

Personally I view rice milk as kind of a worthless crap food...  it tastes good, it has uses, but it pretty much amounts to carbs and sugar.  I would not view it as a nutritious major food source for a child, and truthfully, for the first 2 years or so of like, and often longer, milk is the major source or nutrition for a child.  Kids are picky, picky, picky and seem to get the majority of the calories and nutrients from the milk they drink, so be it breast milk, formula, soy, or dairy, you have to give them some sort of good milk.  (Even at 3 1/2, some days it seems my son is living on milk...)

Nut milks MIGHT be ok but now and then you will encounter "But that can cause allergies..."  FWIW I don't know if I believe that, but if there are any family nut histories, it is something to consider. 

What is your sister feeding her child formula wise?  I thought there were no truly vegan formulas, or they were hard to come by?  I would agree with the suggestion of sticking with the formula a while longer, but it seems to me that a good formula is going to be soy or dairy.  Going with a fortified soy milk would also be acceptable - the norm is usually to switch off of formula at a year, especially as it is $$$...  many people then transition to a "step up" formula which I think is partly a plow from the formula companies to keep money coming in.  The AAP suggests breastfeeding at least a year but lots of women go longer, till 2 or even older.  Switching at a year is safe, anything longer is like "so much the better."  Up to your sister.

Again, it could be possible to give up both and raise a healthy child.  Surely people have done it.  This is all just my personal opinion, but I am coming at it as, I like to think, a reasonably sensible and intelliigent mom here.  :)  Barring medical need - and there are some kids who truly can't have either soy or dairy, and I feel horrible for their parents! - I would not voluntarily seek to cut out both of these foods from my child's life.  Once she is a little older - 2, perhaps -  and eating a wider variety of solids, it's not such a big deal.  But again, kids get so much of their nutrition from milk, they need a good choice in the milk department!  Soy, breast, dairy, formula.  Should be one of thise, till at least age 2 - just my personal opinion.

0 likes

I would also recommend supplementing with multivitamin drops with iron

0 likes

My boys switched to rice and soy milk without problem.  We are l/o so they also eat cheese.  We have not tried oat milk.  As soon as we rule out nut allergies, I'll also try almond milk.  Everything in moderation, right?

I'm just looking at the "Nutritional Facts" for our rice milk.... 10%RDA for Vit.A, 30% Calcium, 45% Vit.D2, 25% Riboflavin, 50% Vit.B12, 10% Zinc.  So its a little bit better than "worthless crap food" as YinzerMama suggested. It does have 10g of sugar per serving... but I think cows milk has similar sugar content.

K^2

0 likes

My boys switched to rice and soy milk without problem.  We are l/o so they also eat cheese.  We have not tried oat milk.  As soon as we rule out nut allergies, I'll also try almond milk.  Everything in moderation, right?

I'm just looking at the "Nutritional Facts" for our rice milk.... 10%RDA for Vit.A, 30% Calcium, 45% Vit.D2, 25% Riboflavin, 50% Vit.B12, 10% Zinc.  So its a little bit better than "worthless crap food" as YinzerMama suggested. It does have 10g of sugar per serving... but I think cows milk has similar sugar content.

K^2

Rice Dream enriched by chance?

There is (practically) no protein in it...  I know it looks milky and tastes creamy/milky and works on cereal and all but really it's a carby-sugary water with some vitamins added to enrich it.  Breastmilk is a mix of fat, carbs, and protein.  In an ideal world, a child would be nursed for the first 2 years of life.  Infants and toddlers need the things in breastmilk.  However, the world isn't ideal, and often another food must be substituted at some point during these 2 years.  This substitute should approximate breastmilk - fat, carbs, protein.  For the first year this substitute should be formula; after a year it could be formula or it could be cow's milk or soy milk.  Milk (in whatever form) often ends up as a liquid meal replacement for kids so whatever milk you use should be more or less meal like in its make-up.  Rice milk simply isn't. 

Again this is just my opinion.  I would not give a child rice milk as that child's primary "milk."  This is not the same as saying I would not give a child rice milk ever.

My son had breast milk till 14 months and then went on cow's milk with some soy milk.  I consider these two to be about equal to each other.  But I don't consider rice milk to be equal due to lack of protein.  (I am also picky about the soy milks we buy because some of them are so watered down and sugared up I feel they have little to no health benefits...  "milk" on the label does not a healthy drink make)

I'm not saying rice milk is bad but I put it more in the same camp as fruit juice.  A "sometimes food" but not a primary dietary component.  (Truthfully better than juice for all that due to less sugar - but still not on par with breastmilk, cow's milk, soy milk, or formula.)

0 likes
Log in or register to post comments

More Posts Like This