I read your article on a vegetarian diet during pregnancy or breastfeeding, but I am looking on information for a vegetarian that is nursing her first born and pregnant with her second.
Thank you for your time. - R.S.
Dear R. S.,
My daughter is a long time vegetarian, with two young children, and she knows several other vegetarian Moms who nursed their babies. One of them was pregant and nursing at the same time.
Their collective advice was to devote your every waking moment to planning and executing the highest quality whole foods diet ever eaten. This means increasing and intensifying your vegetarian nutrition.
Judith Kingsbury, Sarah, Liza, Lonnie
Studies have shown that as long as a pregnant and breastfeeding mother eats a varied diet that includes adequate protein, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and carbohydrates, both the new baby and the mother will be healthy. However, you do want to be careful to get the necessary nutrients. You will want to eat at least 71 grams of vegetarian protein daily and lots of mineral rich foods like dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes.
Eggs are an excellent food, if they are part of your vegetarian diet, as they are a great source of protein, vitamins and iron. Look for organic, cage-free eggs which are higher in nutrients and come from chickens who are not being mistreated. You may also want to try omega-3 enriched eggs as that nutrient is important for your children's developing brains and nervous systems and can also help keep your mood steady.
Try to eat small meals about every 3 hours to keep your blood sugar steady and your energy up. Each meal or snack should include a vegetarian protein food (beans, tofu, cheese, yogurt, eggs, nuts/seeds, etc.), a complex carbohydrate food (brown rice, whole grain bread, fruit, vegetable), and a fat (nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, etc.). For example, breakfast might be oatmeal with soymilk, raisins, and almonds. A snack might be whole wheat pita bread with hummus. For convenience, make a big batch of soup or a bean and grain salad that you can help yourself to throughout the day.
Sincerely, Cathe Olson
Mothering Magazine - they have online archives to all their articles. Look for back copies at your local library - they might have it, or be able to get it through interlibrary loan.
The Childbearing Year, by Susun Weed, herbalist. Lots of excellent herbal nutrition info.
Cathe Olson's book, The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, an excellent pregnancy and nursing nutrition resource.
The New Becoming Vegetarian - a nutrition reference all vegetarians should own, by Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis. Has a good pregnancy and lactation section.
Your nearest LaLeche League chapter. La Leche League International has an extremely comprehensive breastfeeding support site - you should be able to find the nearest group.