- It’s rumored that Meghan Markle and Price Harry may raise baby Archie as a vegan.
- According to a nutritionist, this can be safe during the baby’s initial breastfeeding period, as the mom can control her nutrient intake.
- Once a baby is old enough to eat food, it can more difficult for the baby to stick to a strictly vegan diet.
In many ways, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor (a.k.a. royal baby Archie) has already bucked tradition in many ways—like how he was initially meant to be birthed at home, and was possibly delivered in water.
But now, there’s another thing baby Archie might do differently than royal babies past: eat a vegan diet.
That’s according to the New York Post, which says rumors are flying that new parents Meghan Markle and Price Harry may be raising Archie on a vegan diet (Meghan is mostly vegan herself, according to Best Health). But uh, what does the Queen think about that, and (more importantly) is it safe?
Wait, can a baby even technically be vegan?
So, in the first four to six months, baby Archie will likely consume only breastmilk or formula (there are some vegan brands, but they’re not available in the US). Breastmilk of course isn’t technically vegan, but if Meghan is following a vegan diet, Archie will too, in a sense, since all his nutrients will come from her—and that can be totally safe.
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“A breastfeeding mom doesn’t need to modify her diet in any way as long as she is getting adequate amounts of B12, iron, protein, vitamin D, calcium and zinc, which she would already have to watch as a vegan, even if she was not breastfeeding,” says Eliza Savage, RD at Middleberg Nutrition in New York City.
“She should work with her health care professional to make sure she and her baby are getting adequate nutrition,” she adds. “That may mean supplementing for those nutrients, particularly vitamin D if she’s not getting adequate sun exposure, and calcium if she’s not eating a varied diet with adequate calcium sources.”
It’s also key to infant brain health to get enough DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid. It can be found in small amounts in plant foods, but new moms may need supplementation, notes Savage. “Nutrients will go to the baby first when breastfeeding, so mamas can become depleted and need to make sure they are taking care of themselves in addition to the baby,” she says.
So what about when Archie starts eating on his own? Can he follow a vegan diet then?
That might be tricky, says Savage. “A vegan diet can be a challenge for babies, and they may not get adequate protein, iron, calcium, zinc, iodine, and vitamins B12 and D,” she says. “It can be a hard for a parent to get all these essential vitamins and minerals into their child’s diet, especially if they’re a picky eater.”
Deficiencies in these essential nutrients, which tend to come from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and dark leafy greens, can also lead to suboptimal growth and development, says Savage. Vegan diets also tend to be high in fiber, so they can be hard on babies’ digestive systems, she notes.
“A plant-only, vegan diet is not ideal for children, and I would advise against it. Once a child is old enough to choose their ethical eating way, then you can consider a vegan diet for them—but in the beginning, a vegan diet may be a disadvantage to babies’ growth and development,” she says.
However Meghan and Harry decide to feed Archie once he’s eating, you can bet the whole world will be watching.
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