Q • I just started breastfeeding and wanted to ask what other moms have eaten that's best for babies. Also, is it safe to diet while breastfeeding? My best friend has a 100 percent vegan diet while breastfeeding her baby and has suggested that I also go this route. Is this healthy for my newborn?
From a reader • I stayed on a vegan diet throughout my pregnancy and afterward. My obstetrician wasn't thrilled, but because I had already been on one for two years prior to getting pregnant, he went along with it. My pregnancy was easy, and I had a good level of energy, but he still monitored me pretty closely. Talk with your doctor before starting a new diet. If the information is not in your favor, don't stress out over it, just start one at a later time. — Sheri P. in Charleston, N.C.
From Jodie Lynn • It's amazing how many friends and family members seem to always have what they feel to be solid and good advice about pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. And some of it is certainly well worth checking out.
There are a lot of things that will come into play on whether an individual has the right physical, emotional and all-around good health to even start a vegan diet plan.
It becomes even more important for those that have gone through some type of physical change due to an illness or, similar to pregnancy, has certain hormones a little out of whack.
In other words, it's awesome that it's working out for your friend, but your situation and body is most likely not the same.
I do know that if you follow a vegan diet while breastfeeding, among a few things you will probably need are specific vitamins as well as mineral supplements to be sure that you have enough of the nutrients that you will need not only for yourself but of course for the baby.
Among those will be vitamin B12 and vitamin D and also a multivitamin supplement. Check out soy, oat and almond milk.
However, in this situation, I agree with the reader's suggestion above about talking with your doctor first and foremost before attempting a vegan diet or even just about what the best foods are to eat for you and specifically for your baby while breastfeeding.
Remember, consulting a medical professional and doing the required research is always preferable to taking a friend's word, even if that friend has the best of intentions and ends up being totally correct. The most important thing is to do what's best for you and your baby.
CAN YOU HELP?
Each year since our kids were 4 and 5 they have set up a Kool-Aid table in the front yard. It's gone pretty well. Now that they're 8 and 9, they want to also add cookies and muffins and maybe other things and move their table out on a corner. I'm proud of them for their motivation, and I don't want to squash their entrepreneurial spirit, but I think this is going to be a lot more work. What's the best way to handle the situation and how to discuss it without upsetting everyone?