Need some help and encouragement, please! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 10-20-2006, 04:33 AM
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I have been an ovo-lacto since age 12. I had a baby almost a year ago. I intend to raise him as an ovo-lacto, as well. Since he is 11.5 months old, I started weaning him from milk-based formula and onto whole cow milk at 11 months old. He has now completely switched over. I didn't realize until doing some reading last night that he is probably completely deficient in iron now...... I was naive and thought cow's milk had iron, just like the formula. How wrong I was!! I also realized he has been eating virtually NO foods with iron!







Obviously I need to fix this, and fast!! I intend to make some pea soup, lentil soup, hummus, and start him on things like cashew butter and almond butter. My problem is this... he doesn't like to eat soups or anything from a spoon. He wants to pick things up and eat them with his fingers - a very independent boy already!!



His favourite foods are cheddar cheese and apples. He could eat these all day long - I am not kidding! I was mistakenly thinking he was getting lots of iron from the cheese - instead of zero iron!



He will eat whole grain bread but definitely not a lot of it. He will eat frozen mixed vegetables but I know I cannot get him to eat spinach or anything like that.



I guess I need some tips on what to feed him to meet all his protein and iron needs...



This is the first time I have felt ALONE being a vegetarian. My family does not have experience with this and neither does my doctor, and I fear if I go to them they will say "I guess you'd better start giving him meat!" That's NOT the answer I want to hear. I do, however, want him to be balanced and healthy. I went to bed in tears last night, worried that I have deprived him of iron and other essential nutrients, due to my ignorance. I obviously need to plan better. It is the first time I have doubted my philosophies and it did not feel good. I need to gain confidence in this again so I can feel like I am doing good things for my son as a mother.



Any help out there?
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#2 Old 10-20-2006, 04:50 AM
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Sorry - forgot to add this...



Does he need supplementation of any kind? For iron, at least?



I just want to make sure he is healthy! They grow at such a rapid pace at this age.



Thanks again...
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#3 Old 10-20-2006, 04:57 AM
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First of all, calm down. I'm sure your baby is fine, and will be even better, having such a considerate mother to care for him.



Don't worry, none of the foods you mentioned giving to your boy are devoid of nutrients, so he's probably doing ok. Although I don't have any experience with babies, I would be wary of feeding him nuts (and in quantity) at such a young age, for risk of an allergic reaction. Same goes for egg whites, however not for egg yolks, and they're rich in iron. There are a lot of milk brands out there that are enriched with iron, along with other vitamins as well, so you could switch to that till he's old enough to eat a more varied diet.



If he won't eat soups, why not prepare the same foods a different way? A lentil loaf, perhaps? Or falafel instead of hummus? You can make patties out of most vegetables and pulses, and I'm sure there are plenty of recipes online. If he has cookies, make him some with wholegrain flour and molasses.



I don't know where you're located, but another idea would be to browse through the baby food section in (veggie) organic shops, without necessarily buying anything, just to get an idea of what options you have.



Don't panic, everything will be fine.
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#4 Old 10-20-2006, 05:10 AM
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Thank you for your reply...



I have been reading about nuts, and the consensus seems to be to avoid peanuts until age 3, but that other nuts are fine at age 1 unless you have food allergies in your family... somebody please correct me if I am wrong!!



I made some lentil burgers and he was not too hot on that. Threw most of the pieces on the floor LOL!



As for eggs, the yolk and white are fine at age 1 - and he is 2 weeks away from being 1 - but you are right, I should try to incorporate more eggs into his diet! I don't eat them myself, but DH does so I'll get him to do that more often.



I am giving him organic whole milk, and there is zero iron in it - probably because calcium blocks the absorption of iron. This also means that every time I gave him a food with iron in it and also gave him a piece of cheddar cheese, he basically got no iron from the food! I guess that is why they don't make a lot of milk with iron in it - it would be useless if it blocks the absorption anyway, wouldn't it?



I just found a recipe for spinach walnut pesto which would be high in iron and protein - I am thinking about trying it. Curious, though, to see what everybody else says about nuts at age 1...?
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#5 Old 10-20-2006, 05:18 AM
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Yes, you're suppose to hold of feeding foods that can cause allergies for as long as possible. Nuts would not be good at 1 year, unfortunately.
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#6 Old 10-20-2006, 05:21 AM
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Hmm. So I guess that means no hummus, then, since it has tahini? That sucks!!
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#7 Old 10-20-2006, 05:47 AM
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According to this book, nuts should be alright after 1 year, but you should feed him only small amounts and note any possible reactions to rule out potential allergies or intolerance. Sesame is a seed, not a nut, so I'm not sure what to do with that. You could feed him hummus once, and see how he reacts (give it a week).



Other ideas would be introducing more iron-rich foods into his diet, like millet, quinoa or spelt. They're all easily digestible, so should be alright for a 1-year-old. Don't forget to give him some source of vitamic C along with all his meals.
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#8 Old 10-20-2006, 06:11 AM
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Molasses ? When you bake waffles or muffins you could always add some !



I can't see where you are located from your profile but I use some UK books at home that contain very useful information on nutrition:



UK books I liked :



Veggie Food for Kids, by Sara Lewis (Hamlyn) - ISBN 0-600-60887-5



Healthy Eating for Babies & Toddlers, by Anne Sheasby and Jill Scott (Bramley Books) - ISBN 1-85833-399-7



Both are meant for (very) young kids but are definitely useful for older children and even adults !



One other book I found useful even though it is not vegetarian (it does contain a lot of veggie/wholemeal ideas) :



First Foods, by Dr. Miriam Stoppard, DK Healthcare, ISBN 0-7513-0554-5



I am sure you can easily find equivalent books in the USA or anywhere else.



Also, someone posted this link on VB recently which is a site that gives basic information about nutrition and all the data you might wish for :



http://www.nutritiondata.com/



I never had any problems with my kid because after nursing, I switched to vitamin (and mineral) enriched soy milk for toddlers. Which she likes so much she still drinks it (at 5 !).



Further unexpected sources of iron include watermelon, raisins, and grapefruit You can also find iron in tomatoes, apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, and avocados. You could also look into iron fortified cereal, there's organic stuff out there as well. I used to give my daughter organic ground-up muesli ("baby muesli") from Germany.
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#9 Old 10-20-2006, 06:32 AM
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Thanks everybody - soooo much!



I just went on an iron-rich shopping spree with baby... we got...



baby spinach

orange cauliflower and white cauliflower

cream of wheat

dried apricots

raisins

canned chickpeas and kidney beans

dried split peas, dried lima beans

lentils

small shapes of pasta



Now I just have to get cooking!!!!



You say APPLES contain iron?!?!?!?! If that is true, he is probably FINE. He eats about 2 apples per day!!
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#10 Old 10-20-2006, 06:35 AM
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this has nothing to do w/ being a vegetarian or not. A baby needs breastmilk (and if you're unable to provide that... formula) until age 2! You just weaned to early... maybe start back up the formula.
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#11 Old 10-20-2006, 06:49 AM
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Edamommy is right, this "rule" about weaning towards cow's milk at age 1 is very arbitrary. There are a series of other "rules" like this (at what age to give a sippy cup, from what age on table food is appropriate, etc) that are just as silly. Kids will usually indicate when they are ready for a change. Of course with the milk, it would be hard for the child to express this...



Please try to "listen" to your child as well. The books are good as "guides" but they don't contain laws !



Where iron is concerned though, I am sure there's a lot more iron in foods than we think. Especially in organic wholefoods !



BTW go easy on the spinach, I have read that it is not an ideal baby food. Other green "leafies" like lettuce (which you can also braise and mash into potatoes etc) are more easily digestible.
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#12 Old 10-20-2006, 07:30 AM
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Cheerios are your friend at this age!! Iron rich and they love them! check the baby section at your health food store or even the regular grocery, there are a multitude of foods for the little ones to pick up and they all are fortified with iron,

i used to get mine a lot of the earths best brand, and hains, they make lots of cereals with iron, but plain ole cheerios are great.

also i agree about the formula til closer to 2 yo. i did the same thing, i nursed as long as i could, then they did have some formula til close to 2 yo......then they switched to fortified soy milk.

and dont worry when you go for the one year old check up they will test his iron and you will know if you are on track or not.

sounds like you are going to do just fine.

oh and i didn't give peanut butter til 2 yo.........we dont have allergies in our family and both my kids love love love peanut butter.
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#13 Old 10-20-2006, 08:53 AM
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I concur about the cheerios. My kids adored finger foods (they would never eat "baby food".) Canned chickpeas sound really good too. Not only are they finger food, you can mash 'em up and put them in a sandwich. Spinich is great for iron. My kids have always loved it.
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#14 Old 10-20-2006, 08:58 AM
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He never liked the baby cereal and only eats a few Cheerios, but nothing nearing a "serving size". I bought him cream of wheat so we'll see if he likes that.



Did you vegetarian moms put your babies on an iron supplement, or any other multivitamin, when they switched to whole milk? I didn't think we would have to but maybe I am wrong......?
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#15 Old 10-20-2006, 09:01 AM
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My kids aren't vegetarian (yet) but I always gave them a multivitamin as a backup. You never quite know what all is going to end up in their mouth so your better safe than sorry.
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#16 Old 10-20-2006, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greeksiren View Post

He never liked the baby cereal and only eats a few Cheerios, but nothing nearing a "serving size". I bought him cream of wheat so we'll see if he likes that.



Did you vegetarian moms put your babies on an iron supplement, or any other multivitamin, when they switched to whole milk? I didn't think we would have to but maybe I am wrong......?





because I was a first time paranoid mama I used poly vi sol drops daily for ds. (multi w/ iron) from birth on. Fortunatly he was not sick a day after coming home from hospital (preemie, high altitude) unfortunatly no one told me that, when using iron multi drops, you need to brush babies gums... and now he has a gray-ish line on his little front teeth . They acutally stain the forming teeth!!??
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#17 Old 10-20-2006, 04:43 PM
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cook with an iron skillet. it's great for getting iron.
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#18 Old 10-20-2006, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by greeksiren View Post

This also means that every time I gave him a food with iron in it and also gave him a piece of cheddar cheese, he basically got no iron from the food!



I don't think this is really the way it works. It might decrease absorption, but it's not a total cancellation.



I think you're worrying far too much about this. Sure, get it checked, make sure there are foods that contain iron in his diet...but many people who give their children more limited diets than what you are (vegan) do very well. It's "different" than the norm, and so you're having more doubts. You don't need to go against your values and use meat.

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

Every animal you eat
was running for her life

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#19 Old 10-20-2006, 06:49 PM
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greeksiren,

i did not give my kids an iron containing supp.............i also have 2 cheerios fans here though, they also love oatmeal, the instant kind especially, lots of iron there.

cream of wheat is a good one too.

im sure everything will be just fine.
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#20 Old 10-20-2006, 06:50 PM
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oh i do give them a vitamin now though, it doesnt have iron it in, but they are 6 and 3 now. they still eat lots of cereal and oatmeal.
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#21 Old 10-20-2006, 07:26 PM
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not just cheerios, but other cereals, like chex, have extra iron. even the cheapy walmart kind. my daughter rotates her cereals..one day she will eat cheerios, the next she wants crispix. I worried about her iron too, but the doc said she is getting plenty. the equivalent of about one adult portion of protein is more than enough for her a day (at 13mths) but she will still be on her formula until 2yrs. don't panic. your babe will be fine!
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#22 Old 10-20-2006, 10:12 PM
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I wouldn't worry too much--little kids seem to absorb plenty of nutrients, even if they only seem to eat three bites of food a day and throw the rest at you/the dog/the wall/their siblings/their favorite teddy bear. At least, that's what mine seemed to do--absorb nutrients from the very air.



What about cream of wheat muffins or oatmeal muffins with molasses in them? Or maybe omelettes? A Flinstones-equivalent iron-enriched multivitamin, maybe--they're easy to chew if the little one has teeth, and they aren't as icky as the drops. If the little one isn't lactose intolerant and you're not opposed to milk products, what about maybe using some Ovaltine or iron-rich flavored powder from a health store along with fortified milk of some sort? Or maybe the Carnation Instant Breakfast powder or a case or canister of Ensure?
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#23 Old 10-22-2006, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greeksiren View Post

He never liked the baby cereal and only eats a few Cheerios, but nothing nearing a "serving size". I bought him cream of wheat so we'll see if he likes that.



Did you vegetarian moms put your babies on an iron supplement, or any other multivitamin, when they switched to whole milk? I didn't think we would have to but maybe I am wrong......?



be careful about serving sizes. A baby portion is very very small. What we think a baby/toddler needs to eat to stay healthy is in general much more than they need to eat. Ask your ped to sometime show you a small child sized portion. Also babies go through phases where they only like certain foods. This is completely normal. Peds have studied this somewhat extensively because it is a common complaint of parents and have found no nutritional deficits due to children choosing for some period to survive one only a few types of food. Also important to remember is that baby/toddler bellies need time getting used to foods...this might also be a reason for a child prefering one food for a while. It could be the equivalent of a child mastering a developmental skill. When an interest wanes, move on to a new food.



Beans/legumes can be difficult for small children to digest and I've found that this sometimes explains their aversion to bean products....a good answer to this is to introduce these foods slowly in very small amounts.



Suppliments are in general thought to be a bad idea for very small children. A better choice is to stick to healthy foods your child likes while trying to expand his/her food vocabulary. If you are very worried, I agree you might go back to formula...or try fortified foods. My daughter was allergic to cows milk so I always tried to find calcium fortified products (waffles, orange juice).



b
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#24 Old 04-14-2007, 07:28 PM
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Plain soymilk is a good source of iron actually. And your body will absorb it. Since you've just "switched over" maybe you could try switching to some soymilk instead?
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#25 Old 04-15-2007, 08:22 AM
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I just wanted to add that Iron containing supplements can be fatal to small children in overdose. so if you bring a supp into the house make sure you keep it in a child proof spot.

all our vitamens are in a cabinet with a childproof lock on it.
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#26 Old 04-23-2007, 02:23 PM
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I just wanted to add that Iron containing supplements can be fatal to small children in overdose.



Yes. I doubt it's ever necessary to give a baby iron supplements.



I don't think many parents feed their babies meat at that age either. Just let her diet expand naturally, with enough Cheerios.



Also, when I was a baby my parents fed me iron-enhanced formula and I started having digestive problems, so they decided to make sure I got enough healthy food to eat rather than worrying about individual dosages of nutrients.
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