So…it’s been AGES since my last post. It’s been a pretty busy year or so. After the chaos of our wedding, followed quickly by the birth of our baby , we gave ourselves a little break before embarking on the next task – moving house! I don’t have any interesting relevant veggie stories about the whole nightmare of house hunting – I’m just mentioning it by way of explanation.
What I want to talk about is the potential difficulties of raising a vegetarian baby. My little one was exclusively breastfed for the first six months of her life and luckily, she and I both found it pretty easy. I am aware that this isn’t always the case and I’m in no way judging anyone who formula feeds. Being a mum is hard enough without being judged by the “breastapo”! She got through the first 6 months of her life with no real problems, except a bit of eczema, predominantly on her face. The problems arose when we started weaning. I tried to make her food from scratch – again, not judging, this was just what I wanted to do. It’s a lot cheaper than buying those tiny jars, for one thing! The one thing I didn’t make was her porridge. I bought baby porridge and it is fortified with vitamins and is more finely milled than regular porridge, so I thought it would be both better and easier for her. Most of the brands I looked at weren’t vegetarian but I managed to find one that was, and had the added bonus of being made up with hot water, whereas the others were made up with the baby’s regular milk which, if you’re breastfeeding means trying to express 200ml a day just for breakfast, on top of whatever volume you need for cooking or bottles.
Most babies start of on a veggie diet of pureed or mashed veg anyway, so she was eating pretty much the same as her little friends in the first few months. We gradually started introducing foods one at a time. All the advice says that this is particularly important if there is a family history of allergies, and I am allergic to nickel and have hay-fever so I was extra careful! When she was about 8 months old I thought I’d try her with some scrambled egg. She absolutely loved it! She wolfed down a whole egg’s worth but then immediately brought it all back up again! She wasn’t a sickly baby so this was quite unlike her. Not wanting to panic too much I called 111 (this is a UK phone number that provides non-emergency medical advice). She had started to go a little bit floppy so I was advised to take her straight to A&E right away and she was given Piriton. After a bit of a wait we saw a paediatrician who told me in no uncertain terms not to “fuck about” next time, and to call an ambulance as my daughter had quite a serious egg allergy! She also said that the eczema on my daughter’s face was likely to be down to a milk allergy. The recommended course of action was to cut both egg and dairy from both of our diets (in case I passed them on via my breast milk). She was absolutely fine by this point so we went home and cleared out the cupboards!
So, that’s how my veggie baby became my vegan baby! This has caused a few challenges, which I’ll tell you all about in due course!