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Vegan Parenting -- So Much Criticism

Recently, I shared a post about criticism circulating in the vegan community. Vegans judging other vegans for not being 'vegan enough.'

I had also written up a veg-friendly baby registry. Shortly after typing up that list of items, my pregnancy ended due to preterm labor. But I am now again expecting. And much to my annoyance, the two worlds have collided again -- vegan criticism and parenting.

During my first pregnancy, I would occasionally post tidbits on Facebook, such as a picture of Seventh Generation diapers. And immediately, a vegan acquaintance would chime in with, "Why aren't you going to cloth diaper?"

And again, with my current pregnancy, I recently posted a pic of an organic soy formula that I was excited to finally find locally. Almost instantly, I got, "Aren't you going to breastfeed?!"

I was instantly peeved. Why? Because it bothers me that anyone feels entitled to publicly criticize such personal parenting decisions. It's one thing to send me information in a manner that's like, "Hey, I really loved cloth diapering. You should check out this brand if you're interested." But instead, we get, "You really should cloth diaper. It's the best option." or "Breastfeeding is a necessity. Formula is dangerous." Not to mention, these are always done as public comments, instead of private discussion.

Part of me didn't want to respond at all. On one hand, I didn't want to instigate a debate. On the other, I'm so sick of seeing this kind of thing everywhere. If I didn't confront it, said poster would think their behavior is just fine.

So, I tiptoed into the conversation. "I'm just planning for complications when I'll need or want to supplement. When I'm sick, gone for periods of time, insufficient supply, etc."

I assumed that would be the end of it. I've clearly stated I plan to primarily breastfeed (which I shouldn't have to explain) and that the formula was for supplementing when necessary.

But oh no.. my vegan acquaintance was just getting started. She started going on and on about how vegan mothers should exclusively breastfeed, women don't really have true supply issues, nipple confusion, etc.

Eh. I was done. Basically had to say, "I'm okay with supplementing. There's nothing to debate. End of story."

As I suspected, some of my other friends chimed in with supportive input, including research that shows that formula fed babies do just fine, and that different outcomes previously attributed to breastfeeding were actually linked to parenting styles -- not the method of feeding itself.

At any rate, after going through similar conversations on nearly every parenting choice, I've noticed something. When my omni friends post about using Huggies or Luvs, I never see anyone criticize them. When they take a picture of their baby drinking a bottle, nobody criticizes them. And, more to the point, it's only my vegan 'friends' that ever criticize my choices.


Granola, hippie bullshit. That's why.

Listen, I'm actually pretty granola. I buy organic when I can, plant a garden, use cruelty-free, eco, and synthetic-free products. We recycle and use LED bulbs. But if the assumption is that because I'm vegan, I plan to cloth diaper, exclusively breastfeed, practice cosleeping, and am anti-vaccination.. you're simply wrong. And I don't want to hear all the reasons I should change my mind.

I get that parenting is something people get passionate about. But you have to respect that somebody else can look at all the pros and cons (and I have, many times over), and decide on a different option. And they do not owe you an explanation. It's bad enough that we'll spend years arguing with omni relatives on why our children don't actually need meat and why I won't ever use Johnson & Johnson, and fighting with schools and daycares about permitted snacks. I sure don't want to spend most of my time arguing with other vegans about whether my parenting is somehow 'vegan enough.'

Ask yourself one thing, would you ever so aggressively comment on something else personal?

If I posted about how I was planning an anniversary for my husband, would you chime in with a long rant filled with your opinions on my relationship and how I'm dooming it by choosing the wrong location or wrong food? Of course not. You'd recognize that was rude and unnecessary.. and none of your business. Consider that the next time your want to 'school' your veg buddies about the 'right way' to parent. Save it for when they actually ask for advice.