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Vegans & Breastfeeding 03/15/11

Vegetarians and vegans are against breastfeeding. This is one statement Laura Cooke doubts is true.


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This morning I came across an article that claimed that many vegans and vegetarians have an issue with breastfeeding their own children.

Tips On Feeding Your Vegetarian Baby

Many vegetarians and even more vegans have a problem when it comes to suckling their new-born babies. This is because many vegetarians and most vegans are opposed to the intake of animal produce. This is a problem because it has been stated by the overwhelming majority of doctors and mid-wives that mother’ breast milk is the best food for a baby. This is because mother’s breast milk will contain a assortment of protective substances against diseases and allergies.

While it’s obvious that this article was not very well written or researched, it is worrying that this idea is being perpetuated. That said, the writer obviously got the idea from somewhere – so, what I am wondering, is this an an issue for any vegans or vegetarians?

For a few resources, with better references, dealing with veganism and pregnancy and breastfeeding, check out these links:
Pregnancy and the Vegan Diet
The Vegetarian Breastfeeding Mother
Vegan Children

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Laura Cooke is the editor and creator of the Veggie Bunch website and community.


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6 Responses to this article

 
Allie March 16, 2011 Reply

The author is at best quoting something that was made up to bash vegans. For instance Nina Plank’s semi-retracted NYT’s editorial. More likely the person is just quoting ignorance.

Ethical vegans obviously have no problem with breastfeeding, and the common argument heath vegans make against milk is that “it’s made for baby cows” which does not imply in the least that babies shouldn’t have their mother’s milk. Quite the opposite.

The claim came from nowhere.

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editor March 16, 2011 Reply

@Allie Thanks for your comment. Are you referring to her Death by Veganism editorial? (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/21/opinion/21planck.html?_r=1).
What is frustrating is that articles like this, which have little to no research (not even basic internet research) make it onto the web spouting complete nonsense – and then offering health advice.

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editor March 16, 2011 Reply

A good comment raised on Reddit:
(http://www.reddit.com/r/vegan/comments/g4axo/a_really_silly_article_claims_that_many_vegans/)
M4124124 11 points 14 hours ago[-]
Many non-vegetarians don’t breastfeed. I would actually think that vegans and vegetarians would breastfeed more on average since the vegans would want to avoid animal products in infant formulas and both groups tend to be more health conscious. Of course, it doesn’t work out for everyone even if they do try.

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Jodi Allemeier March 16, 2011 Reply

Obviously this is utter nonsense – yet another myth about veganism. Breastfeeding is a consentual act, and therefor there is no moral issue. Vegans are against exploitation, its not about some weird aversion to body fluids. And as others have rightly pointed out – vegans are probably more likely to breastfeed given that we would not want to feed dairy to our babies.

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Hanlie March 24, 2011 Reply

I must say, I have never come across a vegan or vegetarian who hasn’t enthusiastically embraced breastfeeding. This must definitely be another case of vegan-bashing.

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editor March 24, 2011 Reply

Thanks for your input. I agree that this is a totally naive understanding of veganism.

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