Considerations in planning vegan diets: infants

J Am Diet Assoc. 2001 Jun;101(6):670-7. doi: 10.1016/S0002-8223(01)00169-9.


Appropriately planned vegan diets can satisfy nutrient needs of infants. The American Dietetic Association and The American Academy of Pediatrics state that vegan diets can promote normal infant growth. It is important for parents to provide appropriate foods for vegan infants, using guidelines like those in this article. Key considerations when working with vegan families include composition of breast milk from vegan women, appropriate breast milk substitutes, supplements, type and amount of dietary fat, and solid food introduction. Growth of vegan infants appears adequate with post-weaning growth related to dietary adequacy. Breast milk composition is similar to that of non-vegetarians except for fat composition. For the first 4 to 6 months, breast milk should be the sole food with soy-based infant formula as an alternative. Commercial soymilk should not be the primary beverage until after age 1 year. Breastfed vegan infants may need supplements of vitamin B-12 if maternal diet is inadequate; older infants may need zinc supplements and reliable sources of iron and vitamins D and B-12. Timing of solid food introduction is similar to that recommended for non-vegetarians. Tofu, dried beans, and meat analogs are introduced as protein sources around 7-8 months. Vegan diets can be planned to be nutritionally adequate and support growth for infants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food*
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Iron, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Lipids / analysis
  • Male
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Soybean Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin B 12 / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Weaning
  • Zinc / administration & dosage


  • Iron, Dietary
  • Lipids
  • Soybean Proteins
  • Vitamin D
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B 12