There is no doubt that a mother’s breast milk is the best thing that a newborn can consume. It contains everything that your little one needs in order to be completely nourished. Most mothers choose to breastfeed their children, as it is one of the most natural things in the world. Mums who are vegan, however, find that the choice is not so easy. Vegan parents may choose to raise their babies as vegan, so the question that needs to be asked is, ‘can vegans drink breastmilk?’
While most people simply think of “vegan” as someone who does not eat any animal by-products at all, including eggs, milk and honey, veganism is not quite as simple. To not consume any animal products means you are following a plant-based diet.
Veganism is more of a lifestyle than anything else. Some people choose to become vegan due to dietary issues that result in bad health. The vegan choice is the healthiest option in their eyes. Others decide that they want to become vegan due to ethical reasons. They will also stay clear of anything that uses animals to make or that is tested on animals. Yet others feel like going vegan is what is best for the environment. So, how does breast milk fare under the different vegan categories? We shall soon find out.
Is Breastmilk Vegan on the Basis of Diet?
This could be the most debated out of all the different types of veganism lifestyle choices. Here is how breastmilk fares on a dietary basis:
- Breastmilk offers your child the best nutrition.
- Babies who consume breast milk have lower chances of developing obesity.
- It contains the ideal amounts of antibodies that your child needs to help fight off and protect against any infections.
Is Breastmilk Vegan As Per Ethics?
For those who are vegans for ethical reasons, breastmilk is ideal! It is completely natural and ethical to breastfeed your child.
- The mother is willingly feeding her child her breastmilk.
- Breastfeeding does not cause torture or pain to the mother.
- The mother’s body produces breastmilk specifically to feed her child.
Is Breastmilk Vegan on the Basis of Environment?
For those vegans who chose the lifestyle to do their part in sustaining the environment, you are in luck as well. Breastfeeding your child does not harm the environment at all. In fact:
- Breastfeeding doesn’t cost a thing.
- You are not stripping the earth of any resources, rather, you are making use of your own natural resource in a way you are meant to.
Is Banked Breastmilk Vegan?
When a woman donates milk to a Milk Bank, it can later be used by mothers who are not able to breastfeed their child. There could be various reasons why a mother may not be able to breastfeed her own child, so having a bank that has breast milk donated by other mothers is the perfect substitution. After all, children need breastmilk to remain healthy, especially during the first few months of their lives.
Banked breastmilk is certainly still considered vegan from a dietary and an environmental aspect. But what about ethical? The answer is once again, yes! After all, the women who donate breastmilk to the banks are not being forced to do so. They donate it willingly, knowing that their breastmilk will come to good use for a child who is in desperate need of it.
Is Breastmilk a Dairy Item?
For milk to be considered “Dairy” it needs to be produced by a mammal. Since people are mammals, then breastmilk is considered to be dairy. If you are someone who is strict about “no dairy” you may find this difficult to digest. However, despite it being technically dairy, it is the healthiest diet for your child, it is ethical and good for the environment to feed your own child your breastmilk. Your body produced it just for your baby.
Does Breastmilk Contain Lactose?
Yes, breastmilk does contain lactose in it. If you are someone who has intolerance towards lactose and fear your child will have it too, do not worry so much. Usually, those who are lactose intolerant are adolescents and adults. However, if your child is lactose intolerant, you will be able to tell within the first ten days of having your baby. In such cases, your doctor will be able to help you out with a different way to feed your child.
Most babies, however, do not have any problem when it comes to drinking their mother’s milk. The body of an infant child produces an enzyme known as lactase. This enzyme allows them to digest lactose, especially when it comes to their mother. While all humans, adults and children alike, do have this enzyme, the bodies of infants have more of it.
The vegan lifestyle is a great choice when it comes to good health, compassion towards animals, and sustaining the environment. For vegan parents, it should be a relief to know that it is indeed considered vegan to breastfeed your child. If you have ever wondered, “Is human milk vegan?” you will be glad to know that as long as the mother consents to give her milk willingly, it is 100% vegan.
The only ones who will need to be careful about breastmilk are the parents whose child may have a problem with the lactose in it. Your doctor will be able to guide you very well when it comes to this problem.
A mother feeding her infant child breastmilk is something that is meant to be. After all, her body produced the milk specifically for her child. Even if you are vegan, there is no problem with feeding your baby breastmilk. It is good for your child nutritionally and is ethical as long as you are feeding your baby willingly, and you are not wasting any resources. In fact, you are making use of your own personal resource. Your baby, vegan or not, will benefit immensely from a diet of breastmilk.