Is breast milk vegan? This is a question that many people are asking. There is a lot of confusion surrounding veganism and breastfeeding. Some people believe that you cannot be a vegan and breastfeed your child, but this is not true. As a vegan mom who used to breastfeed, I take this topic very personally. I researched every inch of the internet to find information about it and now I’m sharing it all with you.
Is breast milk vegan or not?
Breast milk is vegan. Unlike other animal products, breast milk does not harm the mother in any way. Vegans believe that consuming breast milk is a more humane way to get nutrients than consuming dairy products from cows.
The myths about veganism and breastfeeding
Myth #1: Vegan diet lacks nutrients essential for breastfeeding.
Some people say that you cannot breastfeed on a vegan diet because the mother is lacking essential nutrients. This is not true. Vegan mothers can – and do – breastfeed successfully. The key to a successful vegan breastfeeding diet is to make sure that you are eating a well-balanced whole food vegan diet.
Myth #2: Humans are mammals. This means we are animals and breast milk isn’t vegan.
Per the definition of veganism, vegans do not consume foods that come from animals. This makes veganism and breastfeeding feel contrary. If we blindly follow this definition, we could say that it’s not vegan to breastfeed.
But we must acknowledge, that mothers generally want to give their milk to their babies. This makes the act of breastfeeding consensual and not exploitative.
Cow’s milk is for calves. Human milk is for human babies.
Common questions regarding veganism and breastfeeding
There is a lot of confusion around veganism and breastfeeding. Vegan and non-vegan moms are challenged with several questions and most want to do what is best for their children. Here are some of the questions I was facing during this period of life.
1. Why don’t vegans drink milk?
The milk that we drink comes from cows who have been artificially inseminated and impregnated with bull semen. To keep the cows producing milk, they are kept pregnant constantly.
The calves are taken away from their mothers almost immediately after birth, and the mothers are hooked up to machines that strip them of their milk. This whole process is extremely stressful and hard on the cows’ bodies, and many of them end up sick or injured.
The milk that we drink is full of hormones and other chemicals that are designed to make the cows produce more milk, and it’s not healthy for us to consume.
2. Why are some vegans against breastfeeding?
There are a few reasons why some vegans are against breastfeeding.
- Some people might think that it’s not vegan to use another mammal’s milk for our sustenance.
- Others believe that we should only consume plants and that anything else is taking advantage of an animal.
- Some feel that any kind of exploitation is wrong, no matter what the circumstances.
So, there are a few different reasons why some vegans might be against breastfeeding. It’s important to remember that not all vegans feel the same way about this issue and that most support breastfeeding.
3. Does breast milk have lactose?
Breast milk has around 7% lactose. This is a natural sugar found in milk, which helps to nourish and hydrate babies. Although the lactose content in breast milk is lower than that of cow’s milk, it’s still an important source of nutrition for infants.
Lactose intolerance is different from a milk allergy, which is when the body reacts to proteins in milk. If you think your baby may have a milk allergy, it’s important to speak to your doctor. They can provide you with the best course of action.
4. Is breast milk dairy?
Merriam-Webster’s definition says that dairy is milk from a cow or other domestic animal (such as a goat). Per that definition, breast milk is not dairy.
Tips for vegan moms breastfeeding
There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re a vegan mother who wants to breastfeed.
- First, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting enough calories and nutrients. A well-rounded vegan diet will provide all the nutrients you need to produce milk for your baby.
- Second, you may want to consider supplementing with a vegan-friendly vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is essential for both mother and child, and while it is possible to get enough from sunlight and certain foods, a supplement can help ensure that you’re getting enough.
- Lastly, don’t forget vitamin B12. This important nutrient is found naturally in animal products, so it’s important to supplement if you’re not eating any. A vegan-friendly B12 supplement will help ensure that both you and your baby are getting enough of this essential nutrient.
A well-balanced vegan diet for breast milk
A well-balanced whole food vegan diet should provide all the nutrients you need to produce healthy breast milk for your baby. The following foods are great for overall health and especially for vegan moms breastfeeding.
- Vegan protein sources include beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, and nuts.
- Vegan fat sources include avocados, olive oil, coconuts, and nut butter.
- Vegan carbohydrate sources include fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.
- Vegan vitamins and minerals sources include leafy greens, sea vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fortified plant-based milk.
Are you a vegan mom and have trouble breastfeeding?
There are a few things that you can do to try and increase your milk supply as a vegan mom.
- First, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluids. This will help to keep your body hydrated and help to produce more milk.
- Secondly, eat plenty of high-protein foods such as beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. These foods will help to boost your milk supply.
- Third, try resting as much as possible. This will help to relax your body and increase milk production.
- Lastly, talk to an expert, a doctor, a lactation consultant, or an online support group.
Breastfeeding and mental health
Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world, but it doesn’t always come easy. When it doesn’t, it can take a toll on your mental health.
If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, know that you’re not alone. Talk to your doctor, a lactation consultant, or a support group. Getting help and support can make all the difference.
Here are three online resources you can turn to.
La Leche League
The La Leche League is an international breastfeeding organization that provides education and support to breastfeeding mothers. Founded in 1956, the La Leche League has helped millions of women breastfeed their babies.
The league offers a variety of resources to help mothers with breastfeeding, including books, articles, online courses, and support groups. The organization also provides education and support to health care professionals who work with breastfeeding mothers.
WIC Breastfeeding Support
The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program provides breastfeeding support to mothers who participate in the program. WIC offers counseling and education on breastfeeding, as well as access to breast pumps and other supplies.
The Peanut app
Peanut is an app that helps mothers connect with each other. It’s like a moms’ group, but online and accessible anytime, anywhere.
The Peanut app is designed to make it easy for mothers to find and connect with each other. It’s like a digital moms’ group, where you can chat, share advice, and make new friends.
Is breast milk vegan? So, now you know. Breast milk is vegan.
As a vegan mom, I know that it can be difficult to find information about breastfeeding and staying true to your vegan lifestyle. I hope that this article has helped clear some things up for you and given you the tools you need to make the best decisions for yourself and your baby.
If you have any questions or want more advice, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to support each other as we navigate this wonderful but sometimes challenging journey called parenting.
Hi, I’m Petra and for most of my life, I was an omnivore. A vegan couple made me curious about veganism, so I did some research. What I found out about the animals, our planet, and the health benefits of a vegan diet made me go vegan overnight. It’s been 5 years now and it’s been one of the best decisions of my life.