If you’re searching for a complete guide to vegan breastfeeding, including how breastfeeding can even be considered vegan, foods to increase your milk supply, and changing the narrative of the starving vegan baby, read on.
I never questioned if I was going to breastfeed my baby. It just seemed like the most natural thing in the world. My mom had done it with me and her mom had done it with her. I just didn’t even consider another option until one family member approached me and asked “how can breastfeeding be considered vegan when the milk comes from an animal?”
Is Breastfeeding Vegan?
Here’s the equation.
A vegan is somebody who does not eat, wear, or otherwise use any product or by-product that comes from an animal for food, clothing, entertainment, etc.
Humans are animals. Therefore, human breast milk can’t be vegan, can it?
It’s a little more complicated than that.
What makes breast milk from humans vegan whereas milk from other species not vegan is one tiny, but very important, difference.
Other animals simply cannot and do not consent to us taking the milk that is intended for their babies. There is no way for those animals to communicate that they would like to give that milk to us, so we cannot ethically assume it is ours to take.
Humans, on the other hand, have the ability to consent.
*we interrupt this blog post writing session for a short breastfeeding break…
and now we’re back*
Sometimes when I was breastfeeding, I would think of the cows whose babies were taken from them and how those mothers’ bodies ached to feed their babies, and it would just break my heart.
If I were ethically against the dairy industry before I became a mother, breastfeeding only solidified my feelings.
Yes. Breastfeeding is Vegan...
But is it Healthy?
Another talking point that frequently comes up when talking about breastfeeding and vegan mothers is the impact on the health of the baby. Do vegan mothers get adequate nutrition to make a healthy milk for their babe? Are vegan mothers able to produce enough quality milk to make sure the needs of the baby are met? These are obviously important questions that should be carefully considered. Luckily, the professionals already have.
Let’s turn to the American Dietetic Association.
The American Dietetic Association lays out clearly that a planned vegan diet can work well for lactating mothers and for infants. Human milk is made for human babies and is exactly what their little growing bodies need.
Now of course, I am not your pediatrician, nor am I your doctor. Don’t take everything you read on the internet as truth, even if it is coming from me. I want you to be safe and healthy. I also want you to do your own research and put your and your baby’s health in the hands of professionals.
Nutrition and Milk Supply
I am going to share a few items that I have had regularly that helped me keep up a healthy milk supply for my baby and the two babies I have been able to donate to so far.
Garden of Life MyKind Organics Prenatals: I mentioned this one in my pregnancy essentials post, but I continue to take these prenatals while I breastfeed to make sure my body is not short on any nutrients it needs. Momming is hard and sometimes I forget to eat a meal or I grab fast food because it’s all I have time to eat. It doesn’t hurt for me to be getting some extra vitamins and minerals in my body.
Oatmeal: The science is still lacking on if oatmeal really does increase mamas’ milk supplies or if it’s just placebo effect, but either way, I ate oatmeal like it was my dang job every single morning and the only complaint I had about my supply was that I was making too much. Overnight oats or oatmeal with a half scoop of Shakeology were my go-to quick breakfast option.
I’m really an open book when it comes to this topic and genuine curiosity and desire for knowledge will always be met with a nonjudgmental response from me. Feel free to reach out or simply comment below and I’ll get back to you.