Our whole foods plant-based baby just celebrated her first birthday! We had a nice little birthday party with family and friends. We served fruit salad, no-oil hummus & vegetables, chips and salsa, and carrot cake with maple-apple dressing.
Our daughter is still breastfed, and for solid foods she eats whatever we eat. I usually feed her right from my plate. Some of her favorite foods are: avocado, sweet potato pieces, 100% whole wheat pasta, beans, peas, and steamed broccoli. She has not been a very picky eater and she loves to feed herself (we try for more finger foods than purees). At her 1 year pediatrician appointment we found that her growth rate is consistent. For those who are interested, she is in the 90-100% percentiles for height and weight. However, I really try to minimize these stats since it leads to unhelpful comparison syndrome in most moms (including me!).
Our two big secrets came out at the pediatrician’s office at her 1 year appointment: that we co-sleep with her, and that we all eat a whole foods plant-based diet. When the nurse was asking me about her eating habits she said, “is she eating meat and dairy?”
“No, we don’t eat meat,” I replied.
“Dairy? Eggs? Milk?”
“No,” I shook my head. Then offered: “She has had a little soy milk on oatmeal.”
The nurse recorded my notes for the doctor and said that she likes the taste of soy milk. I held back from suggesting WestSoy, the only oil-free brand of soy milk that is locally available. When the doctor came in to see our daughter she didn’t mention our vegan diet. And to me that’s the mark of a good pediatrician or doctor period. It’s said “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well that goes for health too I think. Since our daughter has normal growth and development for her age there is no reason to question her diet, though it may be unique among a southern Maryland pediatrician’s patients.
Our pediatrician asked about our daughter’s sleep habits. ”She sleeps separately from you?”
Me: *Infinite pause.*
No, we co-sleep.
Doctor: Uh-oh! (CAUGHT YA!) Do you have working smoke detectors? Does anyone smoke?
Me: Yes. And no, we don’t smoke.
Doctor: Ok great, see you in three months!
Yes my doctor found out our other secret–that we practice bed sharing, or safe co-sleeping. For a great resource on this practice I recommend the La Leche League book, “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.” When it came time to consider sleep training or co-sleeping, sharing sleep seemed a much more natural way for everyone to get more rest. It works so well for our family because our daughter can continue to nurse throughout the night. She gets most of her breast milk at night next to me while we both sleep. If she was sleeping separately I doubt she would nurse even half as much. Daddy helps her go to sleep at night too by nuzzling in, and we wouldn’t trade our night time or morning cuddles for the world. Since we have no other risk factors for a dangerous co-sleeping situation (i.e. smoking), our pediatrician wasn’t worried about it.
I’m so proud of my little girl, and I feel so happy that we have been able to feed her whole, plant-based food in addition to breast milk for a year. Will feeding her plant-based food at an early age lead to healthy food choices later in life? We’ll see! Here is an interesting site where kids submit photos of their school lunches and vote whether they would “eat it” or “toss it.” While none that I saw are whole foods & plant-based, I find it interesting to see what kids these days think looks good enough to eat!
I always love connecting with plant-based moms and families, so if you have a question, comment, or just want to say “hiya!” please feel free to email me using the form below!