I am trying to raise my 18 month old son Raw Vegan. I just took him to his “well-child” visit & they were concerned that he hadn't gained any weight since his last 1 yr visit (he did just have a growth spurt of a couple in. though). He is 33in tall -75th%, & weighs 22lb 12oz -only 5th%, so he’s tall & slender. He doesn’t appear skinny at all to me. He started walking 3 months ago, but sure he would had been earlier if not for daddy accidentally breaking his leg while falling carrying him down the stairs at 10 months. I wouldn’t even be going to these things, but wanted to watch head circumference as I am hypersensitive to it due to loosing a child at 6-months in-utero due to hydrocephalus which wasn’t genetic, but still I wanted to watch for that anyway & he’s doing just fine there.
Anyways, they seemed overly concerned that he hadn’t gained & even threatening, especially about being vegetarian, & even mentioned failure to thrive & intervention! She said he should weigh 24 lbs right now -that's barely even a lb more than he weighs now! They want me to come back in a month to weigh him again, though I don't know how much they realistically expect him to gain in that much time! And if he doesn’t then what? I don't think they are comparing apples to apples by comparing the weights of a vegetarian child to a SAD child! Kids should be measured against a healthy standard, not whatever the majority happens to be, but how would they determine that standard when they don’t even understand nutrition!?
He still gets breast milk whenever he asks for it which is often & I feed him green smoothies & chopped up fruits & veggies, avocado, bananas, tomatoes & he eats coconut/almond yogurt a lot even though not raw. He seems to mostly only want the yogurt though & tries to hold out for it.
He seems very smart to me, says about 18 different words, and signs around 20 different signs. He’s coordinated & strong. He’s very healthy, happy, energetic, curious & sociable. He’s spunky & sweet. He’s only been sick once ever & got over it in two days. Definitely not “failure to thrive”!
But, why has he not gained weight then? I am worried now, but mostly about them being worried. Am I doing something wrong? I slowly started feeding him foods at 7 months old, but have been feeding him a lot more foods since turning a yr old since everyone I know starts freaking out about still BF him, but maybe that made my milk content go down? I want to try to do baby-led weaning if I can. I feed him whenever I eat & whenever he wants & try to get him to eat as much as possible each time, but don't see how I can force feed him. I do also give him a multi & vit. D. & I’m taking a prenatal myself, even though I haven’t been eating the best myself due to stress & being very busy & trying to overcome my own cooked-addictions which I fell back into during pregnancy, but I don’t want to introduce those to him. I also probably haven’t been eating enough, but still need to loose more weight anyway so not sure. Either way I am making a more diligent effort now to stay raw myself.
What do I need to do to "fatten" him up? More/less fruits? More/less fats? More/less breast milk? I'm definitely going to increase greens for minerals & absorbable proteins since we’re most likely not getting enough of those I’m sure.
They of course said I need to give him more protein & fats, but wouldn't that essentially be like putting him on the Atkins diet & cause him to loose weight? Maybe he's getting too much coconut yogurt? Do I have to resort to feeding him steamed potatoes, beans, rice, soy, fish, eggs? I'd rather not do grains since we're not granivores & it seems once kids get a taste of excitotoxins or cooked then that’s all they want since they’re so highly addictive. What should I do?
http://www.vegansociety.com/lifestyle/nutrition/infants-and-childre...(I feel the following answers a lot of your questions but the whole article is very informative)
"Up to the age of four to six months, the diets of many infants of vegan and of non-vegan parents are identical. The perfect food for the young infant is breast milk and supplementary foods should not be introduced until after four to six months of age. Breast-fed infants of well nourished vegan women tend to grow and develop normally(11). The infant receives many benefits from breast feeding, including some immune system enhancement, protection against infection, and reduced risk of allergies(12). Moreover, as human breast milk is the natural food for baby humans it also probably contains substances needed by growing infants which are not even known to be essential and are not included in infant formulas. Meanwhile, nursing mothers derive benefits such as reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer, release of stress-relieving hormones and, for some, sheer convenience (12). For all these reasons, we strongly encourage breast feeding.
Vitamin B12 and vitamin D are key nutrients for a young infant being exclusively breast fed by a vegan woman. Mothers whose diets contain little or no vitamin B12 will produce milk with very low levels of vitamin B12 (13). As this vitamin is important for the developing nervous system, it is crucial for the infant to have a reliable source of vitamin B12. Some vegan women opt to use a vitamin B12 supplement while others rely on fortified foods such as some breakfast cereals, fortified yeast extracts, non-dairy milks and some soya products in order to meet both their own and their baby’s need for vitamin B12. If the mother’s diet does not contain a reliable daily source of vitamin B12, the child itself should receive a daily source of vitamin B12.
The vitamin D content of breast milk varies with the mother’s diet and her sun exposure, although vitamin D levels in breast milk are usually quite low. All children below three years of age have a high requirement for vitamin D to enable calcium deposition in bone. The Department of Health therefore recommends that vitamin drops containing vitamins A, C and D be used for all children from 6 months to 5 years of age, whether vegan, vegetarian or omnivore. [Note thatHealthy Start vitamin drops for children and Health Start vitamins for women contain vitamin D3 and are not suitable for vegans.]"
Hope these help :-)
I'm wondering if you are just feeling a bit scared because you really want your child to be safe and to know that you are safe as his mother, as well. I'm wondering if you'd just love some reassurance that you are doing the best possible things to raise your child to be healthy and strong?
Honestly, this sounds like a classic case of doctor phobia about vegetarian diets. A child who is starving is not smart, energetic, curious and sociable. I wouldn't take him back to that doctor. They will call to remind you of the appointment and I wouldn't answer the phone. It is unlikely that they will take any further action after that. In fact, they will probably forget all about you. You could try to find a vegan group in my area and ask them what doctors they trust, so that when you choose to go back to a doctor, you can go to one who is not ignorant about healthful eating. In fact, I would e-mail someone from Dr. McDougall's group or try to contact the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to see if they can recommend someone in your area.
I breastfeed my 3 year-old in public and don't care about nasty looks that I get. He nurses more than my other children at that age who ate mostly cooked foods, including dairy and oils. He is also much, much slimmer than my other children were. He does eat some cooked food, like oatmeal and potatoes, but is mostly raw.
Is the coconut yogurt you are feeding him out of a carton? If so, it is pretty highly processed, and may be high in excitotoxins, explaining why he is so attracted to it?
I would try not to worry at all, as I think too much worry leads to tension around meal times, and that can have long-term consequences. I found this out the hard way with my oldest child, and he has major persistent food issues. I am much more relaxed with my little guy and trust that he will eat when he is hungry and he will eat what he needs. The more I get myself healthy and enjoy healthy foods with my kids, instead of lecturing them and trying to control their eating, the better their habits become.
Remember that there are raw vegan children that are thriving and healthy. Faychesca Graham! HUGS.
I wish Doug Grahm would come out with a raw food book geared for raising children. We really need more of those!
They're giving you that much BS over ONE SINGLE POUND?
Change doctors. Seriously.
Stay strong, trust your instincts, knowledge and love. You can only do the very best for your child.
I think fruity babies are naturally slimmer and healthier, more like a primate easier for the mother to carry the child. While babies on dairy are bigger because dairy is designed to get a calf cow size, so humans on it can puff up.
Anne Osbourne talks about raising fruitarian children, her advice may be helpful, I think she has three healthy kids.
Look after yourself the best you can, as well as your child. As what you do is a massive example. If your happy and healthy your child will be happy and healthy.