Is Breast Milk Vegan?

December 15, 2013 § 1 Comment

I just couldn’t resist this post. I can’t tell you how many people asked me when I had my baby if I was going to nurse – because “breast milk isn’t vegan, right?” You may laugh – but so many people have asked me this question that I think it offers an opportunity to talk about veganism and why we choose the lifestyle we do.

Now, I’m not writing this post to advocate a vegan lifestyle or diet for nursing mothers. There’s a lot of controversy over vegan diets in regards to nursing mothers. Luckily there is more and more research showing the positive benefits of a vegan diet. When it comes to nursing – only the mother and father can make the decision of what is best for their baby. In my own experience, I have found reassurance in watching my own diet, sometimes supplementing as I saw fit, and getting regular blood work to ensure I’m not experiencing any vitamin deficiencies. The fact that my baby is highly alert, gaining good weight, rarely sick (despite being in daycare full-time), fine at every checkup, and overall just very happy gives me comfort that she is getting all the nutrients she needs.

Now let’s take a step back. Vegan is defined as “a person who does not eat or use animal products”. 

First off, let’s be clear – it is very difficult to avoid all animal products and live a 100% vegan life. Animal suffering unfortunately is lurking around many corners. For example, you may be surprised to realize that many sugars are not vegan. So veganism is rooted in the act of trying to avoid animal products as much as possible because of the unjust suffering they represent. “Trying to” are the key words here. If you read more about prominent vegans, their message is clear that choosing vegan as much as possible is key. It is not about being perfect – it is about reducing unjust suffering as much as possible.

Now that we have that sorted – let’s take a look at breast milk. Because I’m willingly offering my breast to my baby and not subjecting animals to inhumane treatment in the process, breast milk is indeed vegan.

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