I just have to start off this post by saying I never thought I would be that mom who says my daughter is ‘14 months old’, and that I would just simply tell everyone she is one. I did start off this way, as soon as she turned one, but people have started questioning me “she’s only one?! Wow she looks older”. I’ve begun to realize that people literally think one year old is only 12 months old, and not the months following. Plus, there is a HUGE difference between a 13 month old and a 22 month old, and technically both are still one.
With that being said, Norah is 14 months old, and has been a whole foods vegan since she was a wee lil’ seed inside me. What exactly does it mean to live a ‘whole foods plant based lifestyle’? Very simply put, she eats REAL food! I find list formats always much easier to understand:
Norah eats an abundance (as much as she wants) of;
- Legumes (i.e. black beans, chickpeas, lentils)
- Grains (she doesn’t eat wheat/gluten, but she does eat rice, quinoa, oats)
Norah does NOT ever eat;
- Anything that once was an animal (meat)
- Anything that came out of an animal (butter, milk, cheese, eggs etc)
- Processed sugar (brown sugar, white sugar, powdered sugar)
If you wonder why we stick to this lifestyle, you can read back on my other blog posts, “What’s The Deal With Dairy”, “What’s The Matter With Meat” and “What’s The Explanation For Eggs.” Consider watching What The Health, and other vegan documentaries like it. It is my job as her mother to take as good care of her as I know how, and this is how I know to do it. I want her to grow up to be strong, healthy and happy from the inside out. Good habits start young, I involve Norah with as much as I can when it comes to preparing her food, she especially loves to make smoothies and i’m so overjoyed that she is excited to participate!
I decided to throw together a quick little sneak peek into what Norah typically eats in a day, obviously it totally varies from day to day, but this was just today;
- Norah gets up with her dad anywhere around 6:30-7am, and he gives her a banana to snack on, until I roll out of bed between 7:30-8am, then she nurses. A banana first thing in the morning, and then breast milk is always a constant.
- Right after she nursed, I started making us breakfast. Today was super cold, and so I decided to make warm oatmeal. Norah’s had a dash of cinnamon and diced organic strawberries in it, with ground walnuts, hemp seeds and almond mylk on top.
- A couple of hours later she breast fed again, and had a little bit more banana and strawberries right afterwards.
- After her nap we made a smoothie, she is such a great helper, and loves to taste each item before she puts it into the blender! Today we made a smoothie with bananas, frozen mango, frozen blueberry, spinach, almond mylk, coconut water, a splash of homemade elderberry water, hawaiian spirulina, and barley grass juice powder.
- A couple of hours later she nursed again, and then right after I made her a plate of dates, orange slices and some black beans. I just put this on the coffee table in our living room and she’ll snack on it for an hour or so. She also stole some of her dads dehydrated mango slices.
- She had more breast milk right before I began making dinner, and for dinner we had a vegetable ‘cheeze’ soup. It’s one of her favourites and it’s basically blended (cooked) vegetables (sweet potato, carrot, celery, onion, broccoli) with water, nut mylk, some spices and nutritional yeast.
- After playing more, and her bath time, I nurse her before she goes to sleep, which usually is around 8pm.
- Norah wakes up anywhere from 2 – 4 times per night still to nurse, although, only one of those feedings I know is really necessary for her. She’s been going through major teething for a while now, and can’t seem to get much of a break before the next tooth is pushing through. So, I notice she nurses more during the night for comfort, when she’s teething.
That’s what a typical day of food might look like for our little girl! It goes without saying that she gets fresh water constantly throughout the day, we just leave it out in her Hydroflask water bottle. Like I said before, of course it changes day to day, but bananas and smoothies are an everyday thing for our family. All three of us love them, and so we go through lots of bananas and smoothie stuff!
It’s super important to us that Norah is eating as well as possible, so many illnesses and diseases stem from food, and what you eat tends to stem from habits. I know I feel my best when i’m eating tons of fresh fruit and vegetables (I cannot wait for the warmer season), and so that is how we feed our daughter as well, she deserves the best.
It’s fair to say that most women want to attempt breastfeeding their baby, it is after all one of the many incredible things our bodies were designed to do. It is an amazing bonding experience, has so many nutritional benefits for your child, and even can help reduce your chances of having breast cancer! Not only that, it’s a great excuse to sit quietly, relax and stare at your baby. After giving breastfeeding a try, some women decide to stop and there can be a variety of reasons for that. Of course, the most important thing is that our babies are warm, fed and that mothers everywhere encourage and love each other, regardless of their feeding style.
Norah has been breastfed since the day she was born and still is, at over 14 months old, we have never given her a bottle and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want to encourage the mothers out there who are really wanting to breastfeed, but might be struggling or unsure of what they’re doing. News flash: no one knew what they were doing in the beginning! It’s a learning process for yourself and your baby, you’re both figuring this out together. Eventually you’ll understand your baby’s cues and find what works for you two.
Your Milk Coming In: for the first couple of days it may not seem like you have much milk, but you will have colostrum. Colostrum is also known as ‘liquid gold’, it is super high in protein and antibodies, this is plenty of food for your baby until your milk comes in. Breast milk starts to come in anywhere from 1-5 days after you give birth, your boobs will feel full and hard and you may leak and spray! If you find that your baby is gagging, unlatching, gulping fast, making a clicking sound or tends to be very gassy and spit up often, chances are that your milk is coming out too fast. Now, you don’t want to reduce your milk supply, as this first couple of months are crucial to establishing your milk supply for the next couple of years. However, I suggest nursing while leaning back slightly, or laying on your side. Gravity will help pull the milk back a bit, so it is not so overwhelming for your baby. Stopping halfway through the feeding session to burp them can help relieve gas, limit spit up and ensures that their bellies are full of milk, not air. You can also unlatch your baby when the milk starts to come down too fast (and often can spray everywhere!) and wait until it slows down a bit.
If you find that you are leaking from the opposite breast than your baby is nursing from, I cannot speak highly enough of the HaaKaa suction breast milk catcher, it is a genius invention. While you’re nursing, you simply suction it onto the breast that your child is not eating from and watch as it fills, this will help to relieve some of the fullness. This milk can be stored in the freezer, as I always like to have a small freezer stash, just in case. This is not technically ‘pumping’ and will not create an oversupply, the cup is simply catching the milk that was coming down anyways. Because when your baby sucks, both breasts respond and milk is let down on both sides, ready for baby to eat. Having your baby eat their complete meal from only one breast per feeding, ensures that the baby is receiving all of the nutritious fatty milk at the back of the breast, it also is a great way to avoid an oversupply.
It is totally normal for the first couple of weeks for your nipples to feel sore! I mean, you are having a little human sucking at them 8-12 times a day, for half an hour at a time. This can be a difficult time, but applying coconut oil (or other natural nipple balm) can be a lifesaver and remember that it will not feel like this for long. Mastitis and plugged ducts are different, if you are feeling a hard painful lump on your breast, reach out to your midwife or lactation consultant about the best ways to help relieve the discomfort. The quicker that you recognize you might be having a problem, the easier it is to treat it and the faster you will recover.
Women who have powered through the first few months of breastfeeding, can often find themselves stuck when they find their supply beginning to diminish.
Common reasons that a woman’s supply takes a dip are:
- They’re feeling good enough to begin working out again and are keen to get their pre-baby body back. Exercising too much and too intensely can cause a massive dip, as you burn so many calories. Working out is a fantastic thing to do, but you should very slowly ease back into it, to allow your supply to adjust.
- Not eating enough calories, you burn an extra 300-500 calories per day just by breastfeeding. You need to eat enough food to sustain your own body, and create enough milk for your baby as well. Great high calorie, milk producing foods are oats, flax, avocado, spinach and almonds. Avoid thyme, peppermint, parsley and cabbage.
- Not hydrating enough!! I can’t even begin to explain how crucial this is. Breastfeeding women should consume over 90 oz of water per day. Make your water more exciting by adding ice and cucumber and lemon slices. Drinking pure (no sugar added) coconut water helps incredibly, as does eating water dense foods, such as watermelon. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Not feeding on demand, or making your baby wait. Milk is a supply and demand type of thing, if you force your baby to wait (which you should never do), your body will tell itself that it doesn’t need the milk right now. Over time, you’ll create less and less milk, which ends up being a problem when baby goes through growth spurts, cluster feeding, or just decide that they want to nurse more- this does happen.
Getting a good latch is key to having a painless nursing session, limiting your chances of mastitis and ensuring your baby isn’t swallowing any air. Be sure your child’s mouth is wide open when you go to attach them and that your entire nipple goes into their mouth. Keeping their chin up and away from their chest will help to ensure that the milk goes down smoothly, think about it, nobody can comfortably drink with their chin toward their chest. Avoid introducing bottles and pacifiers for as long as possible, some babies can get nipple confusion and end up with a bad latch. The milk from a bottle tends to just trickle out on it’s own, so sometimes if a baby has had a bottle too soon, they will realize they don’t have to do much work and will prefer it over the breast. If you find that your baby is quite gassy or spits up more than normal, take a look at your diet. Gluten, soy, dairy, sugar, caffeine, spices and even too much garlic and onion, are all things that can upset a brand new little sensitive tummy.
It is never a bad idea to hire a lactation consultant, find a breastfeeding group and talk to other moms about their experience. Remember, your body was designed to do this and you absolutely have the ability to feed your baby. It’s an incredible experience and one worth fighting for. Trust your body, listen to your baby and nourish yourself in order to nourish your baby.
A resource that can be helpful: https://www.llli.org
With my husband being from California and myself being from British Columbia, we have been traveling back and forth more times that you’d care to count! Currently, we live in Northern California, and it is extremely important for me to see my family back home on a regular basis. Norah is almost 14 months old and has been on 12 airplane rides, from as early as 10 days old and about half of these plane rides I did without Tyler. Traveling with little ones can be a bit overwhelming and stressful at times, and so I have compiled tips that I found helpful! Now, this can be relevant to small babies as well, but I am mostly gearing it towards more mobile kids who are eating some solids.
- Prepare The House In Advance! And by this I mean a few days before you leave, stop buying groceries, eat all the perishable things in your house, start washing and packing the clothes you are bringing, slowly start cleaning certain areas of the house. This helps ease the ‘night before you leave chaos’.
- Give Yourself PLENTY of Time! I know everyone says this, but it’s true. Give yourself time for those blowouts on the way to the airport, unloading and loading everything back up at security, meltdowns, bathroom lines, nursing time etc. Just trust me on this- give yourself time.
- Let Your Child Be Wild! Okay, maybe that sounds a bit extreme. But once you’re at the airport and through security, don’t keep your child strapped into the carrier or stroller. This one I learned QUICKLY! I let Norah run all around the airport, talking to people, walking in circles, climbing onto and off of chairs. Do it all! It may be exhausting for you, but it really helps get her jitters out from being in the car. And once she is on the plane, she is usually ready to sit and play with me, or read a book (and sometimes even have a nap!!)
- Food And Drink! I feel like this is another obvious one for kids. Unfortunately you can’t bring liquids and certain fresh food through security, but bring your own water bottles to fill up at the water bottle station. Norah prefers fresh food, so once we get to our gate, I buy her things like veggie platters with hummus to dip. She runs around the airport expelling her energy, while her hummus covered face smiles at everyone and shows them her celery. I try to have her eat before we board the plane (another reason I give myself extra time), because I find it to be really squishy and messy to try and feed a one year old in such a tight seat. I also make sure to nurse her during take off and landing, if she wants it, in order to help the pressure in her ears.
- Entertainment! We don’t let Norah play with phones or IPads or anything like that. Instead, I will hide a few books, puzzles, a ball and stuffed animal for about a week leading up to the trip. That way, when we pull out something for her to do, it is like new to her!
- Keep The Schedule! This can be super difficult, but I get a grumpy baby if I don’t take the time to respect her nap schedule and go back to the hotel room and let her have a proper sleep. We also keep the same bedtime routine and bring her blankets that she is familiar with and smell like home. I also keep a baby carrier with me at all times, in case she really need a nap or snuggle, wherever, whenever. I don’t keep her out late or push her to the point of exhaustion, be considerate of what they need to do, a happy baby is a happy mommy!
- Staying Green! A challenging thing to do when you’re going on a trip, but like I said above, bringing your own water bottles can make a huge difference! There are so many single use plastic cups at resorts and hotels, it’s such a waste. I bring my own stainless steel straws and utensils and Norah’s bamboo bowl and plate, that way we can purchase food at a grocery store and not need to use plastic utensils or paper plates. We recently stayed at a resort that was not near any grocery store and you had to eat at restaurants. We dined in as much as possible, but luckily they had all eco friendly and biodegradable takeout packaging, which was awesome!
- Minimal But Prepared! This is another helpful one, it took me a while to find the line between being prepared, but not having boat loads of stuff to cart around and deal with. Pack only what you think you’ll need and put as much as you can into a checked bag and check it! Honestly, checking a bag is so worth the money, especially if you’re traveling without your spouse. The only things I like to walk through security with are a baby carrier of some kind, my kid and a small diaper bag- and inside that diaper bag I keep my essentials (passports, wallet, phone, keys), a few diapers/wipes, a reusable water bottle, a change of baby clothes and a couple books. I find that when I have too much stuff that I have to keep track of/drag around, I am more likely to get overwhelmed and stressed out.
- RELAX! Kids can totally sense if you’re all tense and stressed out, they really can! At this point, you’ve done all you can to prepare for a happy journey for you all. Now just relax and try to enjoy yourself, don’t let the little hiccups cause a chaotic trip!
Protecting my daughter (age one at this time) from eating artificial sugars and completely processed foods, even if they technically are vegan, is so important to me. Not only am I an ethical vegan, but I am also vegan for my HEALTH and I think we all know that so many diseases are caused by artificial and processed foods. Especially in America, childhood obesity is at an outstanding number, it is so incredibly sad and it is definitely not the child’s fault. Certain department stores have even added a Plus Size section for children now… children! That is a huge red flag to prove that there is a serious problem with the ‘mainstream’ lifestyles these days. It is not uncommon for me to hear that I am “depriving her”, that i’m “being too strict” and I need to “let her live.” This always gets to me, because it’s completely a matter of opinion. A person may think I am be unfair to my daughter, when in fact my husband and I agree that our daughter has an abundance of amazing options that will only benefit her. There is an old saying that goes “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips” and while I don’t agree with this saying, I do agree with the concept itself. A few minutes of what might taste good to you, meant a lifetime of suffering for another animal and could mean a lifetime of disease for you. It just doesn’t make sense to me, it’s not worth it. Sugary, processed and animal foods are terrible for you and certainly do NOT make me feel good. So, in my view, I am in fact doing my daughter a favour. She will grow up loving whole plant foods that are disease fighting and will make her feel amazing.
It’s important to address that you do not have to miss out on events, parties and gatherings just because you are vegan. Although, I have said ‘no’ to events we have been invited to where I was going to have to pay to attend, and in return be served an animal based meal. Even though I wasn’t planning to eat the food, in my opinion, you are still ‘paying for a plate’. Regardless of whether or not you eat it, your portion of animal product was paid for and will either be eaten by someone else or go in the trash.
When we are going someones house where food will be served, I will find out beforehand what everyone else is planning to eat and make a healthy, vegan version of that for us. I bring large appetizers, meals, and even desserts that can be shared and enjoyed by everyone. If we are going out to eat, I will often look at the menu ahead of time, so I know what the vegan options are. There’s not too many restaurants with completely plant based options, however, they are becoming way more popular and I hope to see them continuing to pop up! It is so easy to ‘veganize’ restaurant meals these days though, and I have found most chefs to be really accommodating. Norah is only just over a year now, so she doesn’t realize yet, but I will never let her feel left out or deprived. I often get asked if we will ever let her eat animal products, or processed/sugary items. As she gets older, she will be taught exactly where this so-called ‘food’ comes from. Not in a scary or intimidating way, but I will definitely not lie to my daughter about what exactly a burger is, or how it got there. We already have a few children’s books about where animal products really come from, and why it’s important to be kind to animals. I do not purchase any meat, eggs or dairy, our home is vegan friendly and will be kept that way. So, I really don’t have an answer to that question and I feel it is one of those things that we will address if it comes up. My hope is to raise her so lovingly and well informed, that she will be just as opposed to eating that way as I am. This is related to a topic I wrote for the website ‘Raise Vegan’, called “Forcing Veganism?” That article can be found here: https://raisevegan.com/forcing-veganism-is-it-really-forcing-your-kids-to-be-vegan/
Unfortunately, the situation does come up on occasion where a friend or family member may try to feed your child something that you absolutely do not want them to have. Especially if your child is too young to speak up for themselves, or know any better, it is important to be aware of who is around and what they might try and offer your little one. Be nice, but make it very clear that you do not want your baby to consume that. Do not be afraid to stand up for your child, because one day your child may have to stand up for themselves in a similar situation. You are their mother, and you know what is best for them, and how you want them to be raised. I think sometimes people don’t understand just how important it is to you that your family sticks to a HEALTHY plant based lifestyle (just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean its healthy). People may perceive this lifestyle as being like a ‘mainstream diet’; something that you try your best to follow, but are willing to cheat on. While this may be the case for some (in which case, the person really isn’t vegan, are they?) this is NOT case for me, and it could not be further from the truth. I am so passionate about living this way and continuing to raise my daughter as such, that if someone were to deliberately give my child something they knew I didn’t want her to have, it would be one of the biggest disrespects and do long term damage to our relationship.
Never have I thought that I am better, or a bigger person for being plant based, and I never want anyone to feel as though I am looking down on them. Being kind, and accepting is something I always try to be, regardless of the lifestyle choices of others. My hope is that they reciprocate, and are just as kind and accepting about my lifestyle choice, and how we choose to raise our daughter; as a health whole foods vegan.
There is so much information on the internet and in books about what exactly is the best way to have a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy, and it can be overwhelming. I have taken my experience from my wonderful vegan pregnancy with Norah and put it here for you to easily browse through and hopefully gain some support and new ideas. Remember, healthy means more than just physically, it is just as important to be mentally healthy as well.
What Do I Eat?
I hear many women asking if it is safe for them to continue being vegan while they’re pregnant. In fact, I was once asked if I was going to stay vegan while I went through my pregnancy with Norah, and even had a couple of people tell me it wasn’t healthy. Of course it is healthy! Every single nutrient that your body needs comes from plants and it is actually better to be giving your baby whole plant foods, instead of something that came from a dead animal. It can be difficult for some women in the first trimester (or even throughout pregnancy) to feel like eating certain foods, this cannot be helped and you just have to do your best! Squeeze in a green smoothie wherever you can, but above all, listen to your body.
Focus on these foods:
- -Leafy Greens! So incredibly important for helping prevent neural tube defects (such as spina bifida), toss them in a smoothie if you feel you aren’t getting enough.
- -Flaxseeds, Chia seeds and Walnuts! Omega 3 Fatty Acids are absolutely crucial to fetal brain development, toss them on a salad, in a smoothie or in baking.
- -Berries! (Frozen or fresh) They’re rich in antioxidants which are needed for helping prevent oxidative stress, that can cause pre eclampsia, preterm labour and fetal growth restriction. Eat fresh out of the bowl or in a smoothie.
- Lentils, Quinoa, Oatmeal and Spinach! Iron, which is key for making extra blood, helps to prevent anemia (low blood an oxygen levels) and is also important to help your body from losing too much blood during birth. Can be eaten in a variety of ways! And I love spinach in my smoothies.
(Can you tell I am a huge fan of smoothies as a way to get a ton of calories and nutrients?!)
This is all based off of my own research and what I found to be the most crucial things to focus on for me. Of course, this does not cover all of the food groups and it is important to eat lots of calories! Personally, I took a natural vegan prenatal vitamin, just be sure that I had a good foundation of nutrients. I encourage you to do your own research and to eat and supplement in a way that makes you feel good! It goes without saying that you must drink an abundance of water, as dehydration can cause fainting spells and may make it more difficult for your baby to receive nutrients.
How Do I Exercise?
It is encouraged that you don’t change your exercise regime too drastically when you become pregnant, unless of course you are a boxer or rugby player etc. ‘Hot Yoga’ is also considered unhealthy, as it raises your core body temperature too high for optimal fetal development and can be dangerous for your baby (the same caution goes for saunas, hot tubs and scorching baths).
My favourite way to exercise while I was pregnant with Norah was hiking! My husband and I loved going on huge, long walks uphill and through trails for hours on end. I also did lots of stretching (well, as best I could once my belly got in the way)! Walking and hiking is the best way to help keep up your cardio, which you’ll need for the birthing process. Walking, squats and lunges are also known to help encourage the baby down into the birth canal, as you approach your due date.
What About My Sore Muscles And Growing Belly?
Sore backs and feet come with the territory! I would certainly hope that you have a loving and attentive husband, who is willing to lend his strong hands to your sore muscles (he is, after all, the one who put the baby there). Taking care of yourself in a relaxing way is completely underrated but is an absolute MUST. Your mental wellness depends on it and stress can take its toll, not only on innocent bystanders, but also on the baby. The perfect remedy for sore feet is soaking them in a hot bucket of water with some epsom salt, for about 15 minutes, or until the water begins to cool. Immediately after, put your feet up and have your hubby give you a coconut oil foot massage- nothing better! As my due date came and went, I also found much relief in chiropractors and massage therapists.
I used mainly coconut oil on my entire body throughout my pregnancy, but as my belly began to grow, I started realizing that my skin wasn’t staying as moisturized and I needed a bit more help. I knew keeping hydrated and moisturized was so important for helping the skin to stretch. Multiple times a day I applied natural, handmade belly butters made from various oils and butters, by women who were local to me and that made such a huge difference! Jojoba oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, mango butter, camellia seed oil and cocoa butter were moisturizers they used in their products. You can absolutely purchase and use these items completely on their own and they work wonderfully.
What Tests Do I Need To Do?
Honestly, when it came to tests, we decided to do the bare minimum. We had fantastic midwives who were understanding and honest about what each test did and how crucial it was. I had two blood tests, one at the beginning of my pregnancy and one closer to the end. I also had one elective ultrasound and one that was requested by my midwife when we went over our estimated date. When I say ‘estimated date’, that really is all that it is. If you give birth anywhere within two weeks of that day, whether it be before or after, that is considered completely normal. I never took the ‘gross diabetes test drink’ that most women are persuaded to take. My midwives requested I pee on a little urine testing strip at each appointment, which gave instant results as to whether I was at risk for diabetes or not. So, that’s pretty much it! Going for your wellness visits shouldn’t be stressful, with a ton of tests, shots and overwhelming information. You should be comfortable to ask questions and speak your mind, your voice should be heard and valued.
Pregnancy does not need to be overly complicated, I have done my best to simplify it here and the rest is up to you! Find yourself a supportive Midwife, a loving group of people (especially other moms) and listen to your body. Lay down, sleep, read a book and relax whenever you can. Your body is doing an incredible thing in only 9 months! And keep in mind that what you put onto and inside of your body, the baby is also getting exactly that. Be kind to yourself and be kind to your baby.
There is so much conflicting information about when you ‘should’ start your baby on solid food and what kind of food your baby ‘should’ be eating. I just went with intuition, does my child really seem interested in taking food and putting into his or her mouth, chewing and swallowing it? Or, is your baby more interested in simply playing with the food. There is a big difference here, which is why I believe so many children are given food before they’re really ready.
Norah started showing interest in actually eating solid foods around 8 months old and her first food was a strawberry. Just because she was showing interest in beginning to eat sweet, ripe fruit did not mean she was ready for everything. Cooked foods did not sit well with her until she was about 11 months old and even then, we focused on offering her an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies. I can’t express how important it is to make sure that the foods you are offering your child are organic and extremely ripe! Their bodies are still so little and they haven’t been exposed to much, so refraining from feeding them pesticides is vital. Ripe fruit is key for digestion and the old myth that bananas make you constipated is just false. That rumor comes from people who are eating yellow bananas with green tips… this is NOT a ripe banana. A ripe banana has very little- to no green on it at all and is covered with brown splotches. Ripe bananas have amazing health benefits, not to mention they are so good for digestion.
As Norah got older, I never found much success in pureeing up a bunch of homemade baby food and sitting there spoon feeding it to her, while she pursed her lips shut and pushed the spoon away. Sound familiar? I stopped doing that, as it was clear she was trying to tell me something, and who am I to know exactly what her tummy is feeling? Maybe she wasn’t hungry. Maybe it was upsetting her stomach. Either way, I knew she would always breastfeed when she was hungry or happily munch on a strawberry. So, spoon feeding was quickly out the window and I focused on offering her raw vegan whole foods once or twice a day to begin with (half a banana, diced up berries, green smoothies etc). What I did find successful (especially in the warm summer months), was making homemade popsicles, Norah loved them! I would blend some spinach, banana, strawberry or whatever nice, organic fruits and veggies I had on hand and pour them into popsicle molds. It was also fantastic for teething! This method of starting a child on solid foods is widely known as ‘baby-led weaning’, because the baby’s body really does know what it is ready for and when.
The amount of breastmilk Norah was drinking, as she began eating more solids, did not decrease much. And even though she snacks on solid food throughout the day now, she still nurses every few hours and a couple of times at night (she turned one in December). People may seem surprised when you’re still breastfeeding past a year old and have no plans to stop, but forcing your baby to wean is an extremely unnatural process. Not to mention, a vast majority of mothers wean their babies from their own human breast milk and put them right onto another mammals breast milk, which doesn’t make sense at all. A cows milk was not designed for our babies, it was designed for their babies.
Now that she is older, Norah takes interest in whatever I am eating and wants some of it! This is a great reminder for me to always pay attention to what i’m feeding myself, because chances are, Norah is going to come along and want some. Our favorite food to share together are smoothies, she comes to expect our daily smoothie and will get super excited when I pull the blender out! Our current go-to is banana, frozen mango, spinach, coconut water, frozen blueberries, barley grass juice powder and hawaiian spirulina. There are so many amazing health benefits to a vegan, homemade smoothie and it is a great way to get nutrients into your baby. I was expecting to have to show Norah how to drink from a straw, but one day she just crawled right up, took a big sip and that was that!
If you’re a mother like me, it’s likely you have heard input from others, through social media, friends or family members. You hear comments such as “when are you going to start giving them food?” “when are you going to stop nursing?” “why are you so picky about what she’s eating?” and so on. It’s not easy in the beginning, but it’s so extremely important that you stick to your guns and don’t give in. This is a simple quote that I love, which helped me stand up for what I believe in and the way I want to parent; “speak your mind, even if your voice shakes” -Maggie Kuhn. Unfortunately, having those around you want to feed your child something that they either aren’t ready for, or that you just don’t want them to have- period, is a common occurrence. But that will have to be a whole other blog post, keeping your child healthy and eating vegan in public or in others’ homes can be a challenge, but one well worth the fight. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re parenting wrong or pressure you to change what you’re comfortable with. At the end of the day, they are your child and it is your decision how they are raised.