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Pregnant & Nursing Mom's Nutrition

Vegetarian Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Diet, Special Nutrition Needs

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.

SV Note: R. S. got advice from all sides. First my daughter and her friends chimed in, then Cathe Olson, author of Simply Natural Baby offered some great advice.

Savvy Vegetarian Advice

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.

Suggestions:

  • If you're making a salad, use fresh organic ingredients, with a variety of greens and fresh herbs, with many nutritious additions. See SV's recipe for Power Salad
  • Be sure to include avocado, walnuts and flax oil or ground flax seed in your salad or otherwise for sources of Omega 3's.
  • Eat extra helpings and snacks of veggies and fruit and juices - 24 hour all-you-can-eat apparently.
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  • Drink herbal teas like the SV Pregnancy Tonic and Moo Tea. And of course lots of water.
  • Extra helpings of vegetarian protein - have a high protein snack several times a day along with the fruit and veg.
  • Take high quality prenatal vitamin supplements - they recommend Rainbow Light Vitamins - the pills, not the powder (yucky in taste and texture). After your second child is born, continue with the supplement for several months.
  • No sugar, junk food, etc - these are nutrition robbers.
  • Lots and lots of rest - sleep when your nursing baby sleeps, and gentle exercise - walk or swim, do prenatal yoga daily. Don't overdo - get some help with housework if you can.
  • We don't know how old your nursing baby is, or how pregnant you are, but the Moms I spoke with all say, for your health and sanity, wean the first before the second is born if at all possible.

Judith Kingsbury, Sarah, Liza, Lonnie

Advice From Cathe Olson:

Cathe Olson is the author of 'Simply Natural Baby Food' and 'The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook', which may be purchased at Simple Natural Books.

Protein Ebook

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.

Quinoa Recipe Ebook

Sincerely, Cathe Olson

Resources:

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.

Tofu Recipe Ebook

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