Monday, July 2, 2012

Raising a Vegan

My Little Vegan
Last week I prepared Eden's first meals. With a couple sweet potatoes that had been waiting in my hanging basket and a summer squash from my farm share, I boiled and baked then pureed what will soon be her first solid foods. With a piping bag I squeezed them into ice cube trays, covered it up with plastic wrap, and froze.

I am waiting for another couple weeks, until her 6 month birthday, to introduce her to solids, both for her sake and mine. Her's because it's recommended to exclusively breast feed for the first six months (if you are able) and mine because I have an irrational fear about her growing up too fast. I'm serious, it's irrational. I remember staring at her in the hospital, hours after she was born, sobbing because I was afraid she'd be leaving for college soon.

Hours after she was born and headed off to college
I've mellowed out about the whole "growing old too quickly" thing, but I still find transitions hard. Transitioning to her own room made for some long nights. Not so much because she was having trouble as I found the couch in her bedroom quite uncomfortable to sleep on. When Jason finally convinced me I needed to do some sleep training: training me to sleep in our room, I had the monitor up so loud I was waking up to crickets three yards over.

And before I have fully trained myself back into my bed, I have to deal with yet another transition: solids. Soon I will be making the conscious decision to make Eden a vegan. Up until this point I continued my lifestyle and grew, birthed, and raised a baby out of the choices I had made for myself. Now I will also be making choices specifically for Eden, a choice with which many won't agree. In this transition I need to be prepared for another round of, "Are you gonna make her a vegan?".

I came across an article today on VegNews: Three Vegan Parenting Myths, Busted. by Corinne Bowen which I found to be very helpful. She writes,

"After a healthy vegan pregnancy, my daughter entered the world with all 10 fingers and all 10 toes. Despite my smooth and uncomplicated journey to motherhood, I was still peppered with questions and skepticism concerning my diet along the way. It was all well and good to be vegan before, but now that a child was involved, I was going to drop this whole plant-based nonsense … right?

Questions and criticism have continued during the first year of my child’s life and I’m sure I’ll continue to encounter the same challenges at schools, doctor’s offices, celebrations, and vacations as the years progress. Most people mean well—they care about my kid and want her to thrive—but they’re speaking from a place of misunderstanding. It’s easy to get tongue-tied and upset in these situations which is why it’s handy to have some ready-made answers in your back pocket."

The article continues to answer three of the most common questions (and misunderstandings) with well thought out, well articulated responses.Enough from me, though, you should really just read it.

As I begin this new phase, I know I have a lot more than just personal adjusting to do. Here are a few of the conclusions I have reached:

1. It is important to be well-educated on the baby's nutritional needs and the foods necessary to fulfill them. There are all sorts of books and websites heavy with this information. Corinne Bowen's article is a great starting point with links to other supportive dietary information.

2. Like I said in my article Pregnant and Vegan, support is key to success. Especially with the consistent, skeptical questions. Friends, family, doctors are all great support system, but for those who lack support in those areas, find online support. The Kind Life, Alicia Silverstone's website has great forums for vegan pregnancies and parenthood.

3. Have fun with food. I may be scared of Eden growing up, but also I am so excited to introduce her to the world of food! This process can be a lot of fun, and the more fun, I have, the more confident I will feel as I make the choice to raise my child vegan in a non-vegan world.

And because I can't help myself, let's just get one more look at her before she wakes up and moves out.

1 comment:

  1. Well expressed--thank you for sharing our thoughts. I plan to be one of your supporters!