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Is A Vegan Diet Ok For Infants?

Posted at 3:55 PM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 16:55:45-04

Doctor Joseph Gigante is a general physician at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and said for the first 6 months babies need breast milk or formula before being introduced to solid foods.

Vegan diet leads to infant's death, parents convicted

Unfortunately, a couple in Belgium, Germany learned through tragedy that infants need lots of nutrition.
This week a judge there convicted the parents of a seven-month-old boy after he died of malnutrition because he was fed a vegan diet. The parents testified he was on a diet of milk made from oats, buckwheat, rice and quinoa. 

"If you can't breast feed, go with soy formula," Gigante said. 

Gigante does not recommend vegan diets for infants but said it can be done safely, "I think you have to be very careful about the intake the child is getting. Especially with a vegan diet, parents who choose to go that route really need to be informed about nutrition, be informed about the nutrients that are in the diet, in the foods and also with regard to protein."

He does advise parents, however, to be weary of fad or restrictive diets for their babies and always consult with your family physician. "If a parent wanted to do some kind of alternative diet, it's something to really sit down and discuss with their pediatrician or their healthcare provider and really detail and list what the diet is and having that individual or health care provider really look at," said Gigante.