Do Vegans Drink Breast Milk? Misconceptions about Breastfeeding a Baby
Do vegans drink breast milk?
Vegans avoid the consumption of cow milk because it involves abusing the animal to extract the milk but, in the case of humans, it is not the same. Breast Milk is the best choice to feed your baby even if you are vegan because they contain antibodies that protect the baby from infection, they play a role in the prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and also lower a child’s risk of developing asthma and allergies later in life. Every mammal produces for the sole purpose of nourishing their young ones and it is the same for human mothers, doesn't matter if you are vegan or not.
Lactation bars have become very popular recently to boost the supply of breast milk while satisfying cravings for a snack. These lactation bars are vegan and made of flaxseed, oats, and herbal ingredients. It comes in Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Blueberry Coconut, and Gluten-Free Peanut Butter varieties.
Vegans don't believe that the milk that is meant for a baby cow would be perfect for a baby human from a health perspective. Breast milk is the best thing you can feed your child and it has its own advantages and health benefits even in the long run. You can continue your vegan lifestyle and breastfeed your baby knowing that it is completely vegan and good for your child at the same time. Animals cannot give their consent to give their milk and humans doing it means that the animal is abused, but in the case of a human mother breastfeeding is an act of compassion and consent. Many vegans consider donor milk to feed their child and this is because donor milk is human milk coming from a person who gave her consent that the milk be provided to other human babies and there is nothing wrong with that.
So is breast milk 'dairy'?Just like any milk derived from animals, breast milk is considered a dairy item too. Dairy refers to the products that are made from the milk of mammals and humans are not mammals. We know that veganism has the rule that one should avoid dairy but when it comes to breastfeeding your child you might want to reconsider the heart behind the lifestyle. Human milk is the best source of nutrition for human babies which involves the mother's consent and it virtually has no environmental impact so it won't hurt to back down for your young one in this case.
Deficiencies in breast milk for a vegan motherA poorly balanced vegan diet can result in the deficiency of vitamin B-12 which is essential for the synthesis of nucleic acids and erythrocytes in the maintenance of myelin. The deficiency of vitamin B-12 in pregnant women is found mostly in vegans than in vegetarians. The deficiency of vitamin B-12 in developed countries occurs in children who are exclusively breastfed by vegan or vegetarian mothers and the possible symptoms include lethargy, hypotonia, arrest or regression of developmental skills, and megaloblastic Anemia, children could undergo lasting neuro disability if left untreated. Furthermore, low intakes of both vitamin B-12 and protein during pregnancy are associated with increased NTD risk, less lean mass, impaired neurodevelopment and altered cancer risk in the offspring. Due to these reasons, pregnant vegan women are advised to take vitamin B-12 supplementation for children presenting failure to thrive and delayed development.
Breast milk is completely vegan and is the perfect food for nourishing your baby. Feeding your baby your milk does not involve any kind of exploitation or abuse so it does not go against the vegan ethics to breastfeed your child. Whether your child should follow a vegan diet after the breastfeeding process is over is something you need to discuss with a doctor. A growing child needs important nutrients for the proper functioning of the body and following a vegan diet can sometimes lead to a lack of absorbing the essential nutrients by the child. There arises a question if being vegan affects breast milk? A vegan mother needs to incorporate enough iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and zinc into her diet and her baby will be just fine. It doesn't matter what your reasoning behind your vegan lifestyle is as long as you are following the vegan ethics which means interacting with animals in a friendly manner and not butchering them for human benefit, but breastfeeding does not make you any less vegan.
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