View Full Version : Vegan-Friendly Pediatricians
01-26-2004, 08:02 AM
We are expecting twins in May 2004 (girl/boy). Both my husband and myself are vegans and plan on raising our babies as vegans. I'm very concerned about locating a vegan pediatrician or at least, a vegan-friendly pediatrician partly because of their greater understanding of our needs as parents as well as the fear of how many vegan parents have had their children removed from the homes due to allegations of abuse/neglect. We just moved to Central New Jersey (Old Bridge area). Does anyone know of any in this area or of a way to locate some?
Thanks in advance.
01-26-2004, 08:19 AM
Congratulations on expecting twins! I'm a twin myself. :)
Finding a veg-friendly pediatrician can be tough. One of the best ways is to get a referral from other veg*ns. Do you have other veg*n families in your area whom you could ask?
On the other hand, you probably won't be seeing the pediatrician too often and he/she may not even ask about diet. My pediatrician never asks about diet.
01-26-2004, 08:25 AM
I can't help but be worried when I read about a vegan family in Utah who had their son removed from their home and is being placed for adoption because of undetected carbon monoxide poisoning. I just worry that raising vegan twins will raise red flags with some doctors and would feel much more comfortable with someone who is either veg/vegan or at least veg/vegan friendly. I know many vegans in this area but none have children unfortunately.
PS I plan on ordering your book, it sounds absolutely perfect. Answers all sorts of questions me and my husband have thought of the last few months.
01-26-2004, 11:27 AM
I know. The stories of people losing their kids because they're vegan worries me too. It's very helpful to have records on file wiht your doctor's office showing that your kids are healthy.
If you're interested in purchasing my book, it's on sale until the end of January. After that it's going back to full price, so you may want to jump on that right away. ;)
It's nice that you know some vegans in your area! That's a big plus!
01-31-2004, 06:25 PM
There is an entirely vegan practice where I live (sorry it's in Canada!) but I wasn't able to get in because I live outside of their practice area. Their suggestion was to find a Naturopathic practice because they generally understand vegan lifestyles.
Hope this helps!
02-13-2004, 07:47 AM
try asking whoever is helping to deliver your babies. In my area there are alot of "seventh-day adventist" they eat very little if any animal products and she mentioned some peds. in the area. I eventaully went with someone recommended by a co-worker of my husband (peer-pressure) she pretty neutral over meat but I had to just skip some appts to get out of a few vaccines I didn't want my dd to have , or atleast at that point in her life. Now appts are so quick if you don't bring it up they probably won't either. I ideally would like someone I can go to for advice, like when dd was really fussy at 9m and when I asked about teas, the nurse said they don't believe in those herbs.
Best of luck
02-14-2004, 01:29 PM
Congrats on having twins!! Like Erin, I am a twin as well. They are so much fun (a lot of work as well I am sure!).
03-01-2004, 06:32 PM
I wanted to post my congratulations to you - I, too, have boy/girl vegan twins (now 26 months old and in perfect health!) I was very careful during pregnancy and remain so re: making sure they get everything they need to be balanced - it's tough to eat enough for twins when you're vegan and the protein sources aren't quite as condensed, esp. when you have all that acid reflux and twice as much baby packed in that small space!
I just wanted to send a note of understanding where you are, and to say that I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had no troubles whatsoever finding a pediatrician who was vegan-friendly. I had expected it to be a battle (it seems like it is with everyone else sometimes!) but it was not even on their radar screen of issues when I pushed about it. It's hard to find a doctor who is really educated about it and can talk about your concerns in that regard so you might want to be prepared to do your own research, but there was absolutely NO hostility among the drs I interviewed. It's a very different world from what it used to be! Also, my memory of those parents who lost their kids for being vegan were not using breast milk OR using appropriate soy formula, they were making up their own formula and it was apparently not balanced at all. I really do not believe that if you take the proper care to research your babies' nutritional needs you run any risk of having someone take them just because you are vegan. That was a huge press sensationalism and gave vegans a lot of undeserved bad media - those parents just hadn't done their vegan homework. (Someone please correct me if you think I'm wrong on that, but that's my memory of what I read about it at the time.)
Also, you should pick up the book Super Baby Food - the mom who wrote it has twins, and advocates for veganism. The book is written with some dairy options as well, but 98% of it is vegan-oriented. It set my heart to rest to know that another person had pulled this off with twins, and had enough energy left to write a fabulous book about it! You can also use it to show a pediatrician data she or he might like to see.
One last practical tip - I was committed to breast-feeding so long as it was the best thing for all three of us, with the permission to myself to use soy formula if that was necessary. Because my twins were underweight & a month preemie, which as you know is more common than not, they did have low blood sugar for a couple of days and needed to have some supplementation before my milk was completely in. (No other health issues, but that one can become a problem within hours if they aren't supplemented quickly.) Fortunately, I found out (by accident) right before they did it that the nurses were about to supplement with regular formula. MAKE *SURE* that you tell the nursing staff on duty when you have your babies that if supplementation is necessary you want to be told in advance, and if that is not possible then make sure they know you INSIST upon soy formula. (Isomil is completely vegan - there may be others but we ended up sticking with that, using it once per day and breast-feeding the rest of the time.) Those nurses can be pretty sure that they know everything, and they will do things to your babies without bothering to ask you. (Don't get me started on the heel-sticking -- my husband and I raged a mighty battle in the baby ward about that!) You will have to remember to tell every new shift of nurses, which is kind of tough, esp if you have a C like I did and are pumped full of morphine - so make sure your partner knows and will tell the staff EVERY TIME they take the babies away from you, even for a minute!! Even better, have your partner go with the babies and never let them leave your sight. That's what we did after that first near-mistake.
I know I sound paranoid, but I had no idea that I would have to fight so hard for control of my babies and what happened to them in those early hours/days. The nurses are not mean about it, they are just used to having new moms be happy to have someone take the babies for a little while. I had a very different view of it!
Best of luck to you - having twins is exhausting, overwhelming, and 100% PURE joy. I can't imagine it any other way.
03-01-2004, 06:38 PM
Re: my last post: I am now reading on another thread that Isomil is not completely vegan b/c of vitamin D3 - I didn't know about that (yikes!) But still, given that you are unlikely to be able to import the foreign forumla that is apparently the only true vegan one, I think my advice is still likely to be the best you can get if you have the problem I did about low birthweight/blood sugar. If you have the ability to do the importing to have it on hand in case of a problem, I'd get on it quickly cause those babies could come soon!
03-02-2004, 05:02 AM
I've read that breastmilk is even more important for preemies. The colostrum that you have before the milk "comes in" is very concentrated and good for baby(s):).
03-02-2004, 08:54 AM
Thanks everyone (especially Judi),
Great advice. I ended up calling the owner of a local vegan restaurant (Down to Earth in Red Bank, NJ if anyone is every in the area) who recently had a baby and she recommended a pediatrician who is very vegan-friendly plus I talked to the owner of another vegetarian/vegan restaurant (Veggie Works in Belmar, NJ) and she is going to send me the name of a, get this, holistic VEGAN pediatrician in Conneticut who does homeopathic vegan vaccinations that are accepted by the public school systems!!!! I'm really psyched about this because I know this will be a problem at somepoint during the kids growing up.
03-25-2004, 12:06 PM
Interview... Be sure to ask how they feel about diet... if you don't like the answers keep looking.
03-25-2004, 12:07 PM
Oh I missed your last post for some reason, but thats great that you had such good luck finding reccomendations!! That is very cool.
04-05-2004, 02:20 PM
I live in Denver CO, and am having the HARDEST time finding a peadiatrician! The one I have is not very understanding of our diet, and chastens me for not feeding my son eggs and dairy. I have been looking all over for a new one, but finding peads who accept medicaid is a bit tough (Im a single mom). The good news in this is that my sons development and growth (93rd %-ile) doesnt leave them any room for calling me a "bad parent". I make all of his food, and brought in a list of what I fed him evertday for 2 weeks to his last check up at 9 months. I was expecting to have to argue some more, but the Dr actually congradulated me!! Im hoping that they see (because of us) that being vegan is OKAY, and kids who are vegan ARE healthy!! Im still looking for a new pead though. I want one that is very willing to work WITH me, not against me. There is nothing they can say or do to change my morals. And they DID ask what I was feeding him from the getgo......
04-06-2004, 04:34 AM
We just found a pediatrician who is only 10 minutes away from our place. She is holistic. We met her on Friday and she right away agreed that a vegan diet is the best way to raise a child. It was just pure chance that I was in a local health food store and the owner was handed a baby gift. I asked him if he just had a baby and he and his wife had in January. So I asked him for a pediatrician recommendation and he mentioned this doctor. Looks like it will work out great for us. She's pro-vaccine but not pushy, she told us it was completely up to us. My recommendation is to ask around at local health food stores and/or health food restaurants to gather names of pediatricians. I had been given the name of another vegan-friendly pediatrician by the owner of a vegan restaurant we eat at but this doctor was a bit too far away.
04-06-2004, 10:25 AM
Are you actually in Denver, or around there? We have a great pediatrician up here, but we're in Ft. Collins. I was not too happy with the nurses, especially, at our prior ped's office. When we went to switch, I called around to pediatrician's offices & asked if they had any drs who would work well with: extended breastfeeding, cosleeping, vegi diet, & some variation from the standard vax schedule.
The Ft. Collins Youth Clinic did a great job matching me with a D.O. there who has been great about all of my "different" choices. The kids & I just love her.
The final straw when I switched from the prior ped is when the nurse told me that my breastmilk was inadequate b/c I was vegan & I should be formula feeding when Tessa was 9 months old. At Tessa's 2 yr check up w/ our current dr, she started crying & I nursed her. The dr said that that was great - probably the best thing for her. That was just wonderful!
Sorry that I don't know of anyone down closer to you, though! Try calling different offices & telling them firmly that, 'Here is what I am going to do. Do you have a dr who will be okay with that?'
04-07-2004, 11:49 AM
WOW! What luck! Yes, I live in Central Denver. I think Fort Collins would be a little far. :) I will call around to the vegi restaurants here and ask around at the health food stores. Great ideas! Thanks everyone for all the recommendations. Wish me luck!
04-18-2004, 05:35 PM
I know this won't help you in NJ, but we have a great pediatrician here in GA. His name is Robert Burnham with Roswell Pediatrics. I do not give vaccinations to my son, he has never had one (even at birth) and I will not give them to him. Dr.Burnham has been very understanding about this, and has also been supportive of our transition from meat eaters to vegetarian. I'm not sure if he is accepting new clients right now, but it's worth a shot if you live in GA.
05-08-2004, 10:52 AM
Hi, I was wondering if anyone could reccomend any pediatricians in the Phoenix, Az area. We live in Salt Lake City right now and have a wonderful pediatrician for our 10 week old son Damien. We will be moving to Phoenix sometime before the end of summer and I am very worried we won't find a pediatrician willing to understand Damien's vegan diet and our objection to vaccines. Any help would be great.
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