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I have decided to raise my 8 month old bub as a non meat eater

I have decided to raise my 8 month old bub as a non meat eater, as i do not eat meat. I am however feeding him fish, but no red meat or poultry etc.

He eats different types of fish, lentils, tofu, dried apricots etc. - I would like to know if it is okay for him to eat soy products such as Sanitarium soy-mince etc. which I use to make spaghetti bolognese sauce. Is it safe/healthy for bubs to eat these sort of soy products, as well as soy sausages etc.?

Also at what age can shellfish be introduced? Do you also have any other suggestions of other iron rich foods that he should be eating and how can I ensure he is getting his recommended daily intake of iron?

One more unrelated question - is kiwifruit okay to serve babies? I have heard that quite a few people can be allergic to it.
Thank you,

Answer: Hi Melissa, Just on kiwifruit first, reactions can occur to almost anything, and research now suggests leaving things too late may just an issue too. So give it a go, it is a lovely source of vitamin C and other nutrients. Trial it and see how baby goes, I would imagine it will be fine, reactions are pretty rare. That`s excellent you have left fish in, essential fatty acids are notoriously hard to get in vegetarian diets. I have just finished a tip sheet on vegetarian children for Huggies, so you should see it in the next newsletter shortly. Shellfish I would hold off until 2, just because of their filter feeding nature and potential for toxicity. Though the odd prawn isn`t likely to pose a problem if you are sure it is fresh and from clean waters. We have the soy classic sausages and my boys love them (as do I), they have added B12 and iron as do many of the vegetarian foods now, but, you will also find many have other additives and sugar. Just good to keep in mind, its always worth reading the labels to choose the best brands. Again a little should be fine, trial them with baby and see how he goes. In Japan tofu is started early on also. There really are no strict rules about what foods when, in fact there has been little research in this; most of the recommendations are based on our beliefs about feeding babies. Don`t forget non-heme iron is better absorbed in the presence of vitamin C (vitamin C-containing foods) and lowered by some plant compounds (phytates and tannins). Below is a copy of a meal with only fish so you can see how iron will come from a range of foods, remember variety is still a key point to a healthy vegetarian diet. Plus here is a list of foods that contain iron so you can see there is quite a range:
  • Breakfast cereal with added iron, average serve - 3.0mg
  • Lentils, dried peas or beans, 2/3 cup cooked - 2.5mg
  • Cashews, 25 nuts (50g) - 2.5mg
  • Soy burger, iron fortified (60g) - 2.2mg
  • Marmite, 1 teaspoon (5g) - 1.8mg
  • Wholegrain bread, 1 slice (34g) - 1.6mg
  • Dried apricots, 10 halves (50g) - 1.6mg
  • Baked beans, 100g - 1.6mg
  • Tofu, 1 block, cooked (100g) - 1.2mg
  • Fish e.g. canned red salmon 1/2cup (100g) - 1.2mg
  • Rolled oats, dry, 1/3 cup (30g) - 1.1mg
  • Prunes, 7 pieces (50g) - 1.1mg
  • Wheatgerm, 1 tablespoon (10g) - 1.0mg
  • Almonds, 20-25 nuts (25g) - 1.0mg
  • Egg, poached (50g) - 1.0mg
  • Broccoli, cooked 2/3 cup (100g) - 1.0mg
  • Sunflower seeds, 1 tablespoon (15g) - 0.7mg
  • Wholemeal bread, 1 slice (30g) - 0.7mg
  • White bread, 1 slice (28g) - 0.3mg
I hope that helps. All the best, Leanne
Answered: 01 Jun 2009