Some parents are vegetarian themselves so naturally when they have a child, they feel that their child should be raised as vegetarians. But could this actually be harmful to your children? There are dozens of children that are currently being raised as vegetarians and it has had little effect on them. Some tend to have lower childhood weight of course. I would also like to point out that just because you are vegetarian does not mean that you can not breastfeed your baby. I think that you still should, since this will ensure that your baby still gets the needed nutrients for the first six months or so. If you decide not to breastfeed your baby, then you should use a soy based formula. If you are not sure which one to use than you should talk to your pediatrician about which one would be best for your baby?
Once your baby begins eating cereal you should serve only whole-grain beans and cereals. This will provide all of the vitamins, minerals and protein that they would usually get from meat. I know several moms who have chosen to put their babies on a vegetarian diet. They have found that tofu, brown rice cooked soft, mashed chickpeas, are just a few things that can be added to the baby’s diet as a source of protein. When your baby is no longer drinking breast milk or formula, it is very important to make sure that they are getting enough calcium in their diet.
You will want to stay away from the soybean beverages and frozen desserts, these products contain very little or no calcium at all. What has worked well for the moms that I know are broccoli, and finely ground almonds and pine nuts to name just a few. Again I would advise you to check with your baby’s doctor. They should be able to go over exactly the type of foods that would be good for your baby, and what foods they would recommend you stay away from. Those vegetarians who use milk products have an easier time making sure that their children get good nutrition.
So in my opinion it is ok to raise your child on a vegetarian diet, as long as it is done right. Some things you will not be able to exclude from their diet, like milk for example. As your baby gets older, eggs should not be an everyday food. Some tend to feel that the eggs yolks give adequate nutrition. The bottom line is whatever you decide to do you will want to make sure that you check everything with your pediatrician to make sure that your child grows up healthy and strong.