Me, Glauce, and my ex-husband, Matteo, have met in Brazil ten years ago and veganism was one of the values we shared and one of the reasons we connected in the first place. We are both vegans for more than fifteen years now and raising our children vegan was always something that seemed very obvious to us… until the day we found out that I was pregnant.
I had an amazing pregnancy, healthy, calm, vegan. I had the support of my gynaecologist (in Dublin), family, family in law, friends. Nobody asked us if we would raise our kid vegan but we started asking ourselves back then. It was clear that we wanted to do it but we didn’t feel we had enough knowledge. We were quite secure about ourselves, especially cause we were already eating healthier in the previous years, but how about a small child? Someone who would be growing and building their small bodies and brains and everything? All those questions people ask vegans started coming to our minds. What did we do? Started reading about children being raised vegan. We weren’t the only ones, wouldn’t be the first ones. And if being vegan as a pregnant woman sounded normal why not raising our son vegan couldn’t sound normal too?
After Enrico was born I found out from where my fear was coming: I didn’t think raising a child vegan was a big deal. I thought – and still do – raising a child is a big deal. In general. Many people don’t, but I do. And all my concerns were connected to it, to giving my child the best I can. And, honestly, veganism is the best I can. It’s about respect, compassion, love. And then we started learning more about what he would need and how many parents were already doing it around the world. I connected with some new friends that were doing it, health professionals, online groups and websites. The doubt disappeared and we were 100% sure about our decision.
Enrico is 3 years old now*. I breastfed him for 2 years. He was introduced to solids at 6 months of age. He’s a healthy boy who loves his fruits and veggies. He is a good eater, regardless his diet. He’s being picky, according to his age. Just a normal boy. His favourite foodies today are hummus, spaghetti, broccoli, potatoes and strawberries. We’re all about simple meals most of the time as I cook basically everyday. Pasta (regular or gluten-free), risotto, rice and beans are some of the main dishes in our home. He also loves his oat milk. And vegan sausages. He’s now learning to say “oat milk” instead of “milk” and “vegan sausages” instead of “sausages” as for him these are the normal ones but it could cause confusion outside our house.
He understands he doesn’t eat meat (or “the animals”) and we have started explaining him about milk and eggs. He usually doesn’t ask for other children’s food – not even in the creche (where he gets a very balanced vegan dinner and I pack his snacks). But we are lucky enough that our closest friends here are also vegan – and so are their kids – and that my family-in-law is vegetarian and eats vegan when we are with them. Our families have never questioned our decision to raise him vegan and have never offered him anything that isn’t vegan. They check food, clothes, shoes.
We believe in education. We will keep explaining him our choices and why we don’t give him non-vegan meals until the day he is able to make his own decision. We don’t know the answer to all questions people ask us. We believe that we are doing the best we can with and for him, as any other normal parent. We’ll consider and decide things as they present to us. We know parents that are more open to what happens outside their home and others that are closer. And my advice is always do what is better for you and your family. What’s possible and close to your heart. Surround yourself with information, support, friendship, more support, more information.
We are just a bunch of normal parents raising vegan children. We believe in a world filled with respect, compassion and love and that can’t be wrong.
Welcome to All About Vegan Families. We hope you can find the support and information you need here.
* Update: Enrico is now 4 and very aware of what he eats and what he doesn’t. He tells people that he doesn’t eat meat or the animals and that he doesn’t drink cow’s milk. He started to make his choices after I explain him why we don’t eat this or that food and so far he wanted to try just one chocolate with cow’s milk.