Two members ask the PSP community...
“I am currently 37 weeks pregnant and looking to return to veganism immediately if not very soon following the birth of my son. While I have already switched to a plant based diet as of last week, I want to be sure that I am getting the nutrients needed to keep my baby healthy so I may allow eggs and cheese back in for quick proteins. Are there any vegan mommies out there? Tips and advice for vegan lifestyle, daily diets and things to look out for are appreciated!”
“I'm in week 20 with my first kiddo and figured I would just put feelers out if anyone has any pro tips/resources on vegan pregnancy/breastfeeding. My blood work has been perfect the whole pregnancy (to my OB's surprise!- iron, B12, folate - all great) but as I finish out the second trimester and will be coming into the third before long I know my level of hunger and need for higher calorie, nutrient dense foods is going to increase. And with breastfeeding, I honestly have no clue what to expect. So I know this is a very general question for advice/tips but even just a list of highly recommended foods from your experience or recommendation for a reliable resource you found helpful would be great!”
Seek out alternative sources of protein.
“Although I believe one can get all they need from a vegan diet, regardless of pregnancy, I understand your fears and concerns around extra protein while pregnant. My go-to’s for extra protein in my third trimester were nut butters, tofu, tempeh, and beans (mostly garbanzo). I lived on peanut butter and banana sandwiches and veggies with hummus! I tried to add one of the above foods to most of my meals. Also a quality vegan protein powder is a great add to smoothies, as well as a fortified plant milk!”
“As for meals, we eat a lot of lentils and bean based meals. I should probably eat more leafy greens (for calcium) than I do, but I haven’t really changed my diet much since giving birth except for introducing some things I was averse to during pregnancy (like the Beyond burger).”
“seaweed! got you covered on many levels!”
“I ate a lot of grains, legumes, beans and an enormous amount of fruits and veggies. Nut butters were my go to’s, I was craving them through the breastfeeding phase.”
“I would also add quinoa and lentils- they are relatively quick to make and I think pretty versatile to eat all sorts of ways. I have been either pregnant or nursing for over five years now and vegan.”
“I kept taking my prenatal vitamins, had eggs, cheese and greek yogurt for protein basically every day (along with tofu, legumes, etc.), had as much fruit and veggies as I wanted both when I was pregnant and postpartum.”
Eat what your body tells you to.
“Retrospectively I found my cravings in pregnancy also really aligned with what my body and baby needed at the time. For example, when I craved kale I knew I needed calcium rich foods! Follow your gut :)”
“I did drink a ton of smoothies, eat a bag of frozen raspberries every other day, eat more nut butter than usual, and wake up at 3 am every morning to have a bowl of cereal or toaster waffle. My kid was hungry, but not for like spinach or beans in the middle of the night. I'd just feed your body whatever it's asking for, haha.”
“The main thing during pregnancy is to eat when you are hungry and as long as baby is growing - you are eating enough.”
“I did not change what I ate during my pregnancy and the first year of breastfeeding, I just ate much more of the same stuff I usually eat. … Just eat what you usually eat and eat when hungry and you will be ok.”
“I agree with the comments regarding listening to cravings - I had massive cravings for eggs and milk (which I had not had for years) - and I found that just having some really helped with energy and was satisfying.
I think the most important thing is to pay attention to what your body is telling you - you are going to feel tired and overwhelmed, do your best and if it means you are not 100% plant based - that's still amazing.”
Stay well-fed and hydrated if you’re breastfeeding.
“With breastfeeding I did best on the days that I drank a ton of water, ate oatmeal and just had enough calories in general.”
“The great news is that oat milk and oatmeal is said to increase milk production and both of those are vegan!”
“For breast feeding , the best advice I got was to stay hydrated- the more water you drink, the more milk available for baby. I drank 2 liters daily but you could probably get away with less with one baby. And in addition to eating massive amounts of what I normally eat because I was so hungry, I ate lots of nuts for the extra calories.”
Check out online communities.
“I joined this ‘Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting’ Facebook group when I first became pregnant, and it has been a hugely helpful resource for me!”
“Another group I found very helpful is ‘Informed vegan pregnancy and parenting.’ They have stricter rules with advice/evidence-based discussions.”
“I find/found Plant Based Juniors instagram page to be very helpful, it is operated by two lovely plant based registered dieticians - they have a pregnancy guide (still great postpartum) and tips on nutrition for breastfeeding that were a good resource and I enjoy their healthy outlook on nutrition for both moms and babies.
Their guide on starting solids was an instrumental help when we got to that phase.”