Friday, November 14, 2014

Commentary on Vegan News

I am not one to criticize other mothers because only a mother knows how to parent her child. A news story about a vegan mom has been making waves this week when she regained custody on Tuesday after losing her child back in June because she fed her baby soy formula. Her baby faced significant weight loss, so her doctor prescribed a non-vegan formula and requested she take her baby to the hospital. My husband asked me about it yesterday, so I thought I would blog about it today.
  1. How sad! I know I would have been devastated to find out my milk isn't enough. This is what we women were designed to do: nourish our newborns. Sarah Markham probably may have been afraid for her child's health as well. She most likely was in a vulnerable state, especially so soon after giving birth.
  2. Sarah could have asked her doctor to respect her wishes for a soy formula. If she did, and he refused, she should have found a better doctor. Yes, she has a right to raise her baby vegan, but her baby has the right to be healthy.
  3. What isn't mentioned in the news is if the doctor called social services because Sarah was feeding her baby soy formula or because she neglected to take her kid to the hospital. That much weight loss that early on is a serious and potentially dangerous health concern. Even if Sarah wanted to supplement with soy formula, a doctor at the hospital may have prescribed a soy formula for her baby. Should Sarah have taken her baby to the hospital? Maybe.
  4. Should the doctor have called social services at all? The doctor has a responsibility  to report suspected child abuse WHICH IS A VERY GOOD THING. I have, however, read countless cases of social services being involved in families where there was no case of abuse, someone just didn't like the way someone was parenting. This can cause more harm than good. Protective services is a necessary yet flawed system. In this case, a mother was separated from her child during the most critical time for bonding. I don't know the details, and I don't claim to have the answer for the perfect time for protective services to intervene, but this may have been one of the situations where it was not necessary.
  5. What kind of a world do we live in where the police are being called to report abuse when a mother feeds her child soy formula (which is supposedly "formulated' to meet all a newborn's nutritional needs) and we have six-year-olds being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes because of obesity. I don't know if either situation should be considered "abuse" but it says a lot about our culture. 
I don't have all the answers. I don't know the details of the situation, and I am unfamiliar with child abuse. I don't want to pass judgment on this mother or the doctor. They both were acting in the child's best interest from their perspective. You can find an article here about the situation and decide for yourself.
I do have something to say to all you vegan mothers or expectant mothers. Vegans boast that it is the most healthful diet. Well, it may not be. When you're feeding your kid vegan junk food, that is just as bad as or worse than a mother who feeds her kids non-vegan junk food. (I feed my kid junk food once in a while, so I'm on the same boat!) What's important is establishing healthy eating habits. Even if an adult is not careful, he or she may not receive all the calories or nutrients they may need which can be harmful. How much more so if young children do not receive all the nutrients they require? Even if a mother is breastfeeding, she especially needs to make sure she is getting enough vitamin B-12. Plenty of health food stores sell B-12 supplements, several foods are fortified with vitamin B-12, and nutritional yeast is pretty much pure B-12. It's not about if your kids eat vegan or meat or fish, it's about if your kids are eating well. This is important for vegans and non-vegans alike. Healthful eating habits of childhood do carry into adulthood, so it's important to make sure your kids eat right. A mostly vegan diet has actually been proven to be best. Eating meat a couple times a week rather than every day will save you money and improve your family's health. As far as kids adapting to health foods, my little guy is a fan of oatmeal for breakfast and tofu, beans, veggies, and fruit for lunch, dinner, and snacks. Don't underestimate how your child will respond to healthful food. Even if he doesn't like it, keep feeding it to him, and he'll eventually warm up to it. If you have any nutritional or health concerns, please consult your child's physician. I am not a licensed nutritionist or health professional, I am providing only suggestions based on personal research.

This is my little guy happily nursing away.

Copyright 2014

No comments:

Post a Comment