Royal baby Archie might be a vegan: What does it mean and is it safe?
There will be no Beef Wellington for baby Sussex!
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are settling into parenthood with Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, and royal fans are wondering if they’re planning on raising him as a vegan.
According to a palace insider, Queen Elizabeth isn’t thrilled by the actress-activist’s new age lifestyle choices, including pressuring Harry to cut out his hunting habits, and her plant-based curiosities.
“Bringing the baby up as a vegan simply won’t be tolerated by the monarch,” the source says.
Which begs the question: For a newborn all but guaranteed to subsist on breast milk or formula for at least the next four months, what does a vegan lifestyle even mean? And is it safe?
“Being vegan isn’t a health risk, the question is if you got the right amount and enough nutrients,” says Dr. Carrie Quinn, a pediatrician and director of the Mount Sinai parenting center.
Those nutrients include “B12, fatty acids, that you tend to get a lot of fish and eggs, calcium and Vitamin D. Milk has calcium but we fortify it in this country with Vitamin D. We also get a lot of iron from meat,” Quinn says. “There are iron-rich green leafy vegetables, we just need to make sure you don’t have a picky eater on your hands.”
Quinn is careful to note that for newborns who are breastfeeding, their diet is dependent on what their mother is eating: “Whether it’s just the mom doing it, or her and the baby, both affect the child.”
That means if the Duchess is indeed on a plant-based diet (she shared with Best Health that she’s a vegan during the week), it’s not just the Markle Sparkle that will likely rub off on baby Archie.
“Because B12 is not (naturally) high in a mother’s milk, if she’s vegan, therefore it won’t be high in the baby,” says Quinn. “A vegan mother has to be very cautious about making sure she takes supplements that are necessary so that her breast milk has the right nutrition for the child.”
As for human milk’s vegan status, Quinn says, “I think most vegans would think breastfeeding is perfectly in the realm of being vegan. It’s straight from the source, and it’s natural.”
If the American royal has trouble breastfeeding — according to the CDC, “60 percent of mothers do not breastfeed for as long as they intend to” — she will have better luck scoring strictly vegan formula in the UK than stateside.
“There is not vegan formula available in the US,” Quinn says. “The FDA [requires that] something marketed to babies needs a certain about of nutrients and we can’t guarantee that if it’s vegan.”
Of course, diets are only a part of the vegan lifestyle. Leather shoes, bath products, and clothes are all liable to include animal derivatives. Animal rights group PETA UK has stepped in to help clothe the regal infant, sending the new parents a wool-free baby cardigan.
Though most parents probably won’t be running to the co-op for biodegradable diapers, Quinn thinks Markle’s woo-woo parenting might rub off.
“Anyone in the spotlight definitely has an influence on people. Like we saw with Jenny McCarthy and vaccines, sometimes they say something and people consider them an expert for some reason.”
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