Vegan Baby Formula – When to Introduce, Benefits and How to Choose

6 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Vegan Baby Formula

Baby formula has proven to be an excellent source of nutrition for babies below 12 months. Most baby formulas available in marketing are soy-based and also milk protein based. Some babies have lactose intolerance and milk allergies, because of which dairy formula may not be good for babies. In such cases, you can opt for vegan baby formula.

The vegan formula will fit if your baby cannot tolerate dairy products. Luckily, plenty of vegan formula is available to feed your babies. These formulas have plant-based protein, mainly rice protein, that suits tiny tummies. Continue reading about baby formula, diet according to the baby’s age, ingredients, and benefits. pregnancy pillow

In This Article

What is the Vegan Baby Formula Made Up of?

The vegan formula does not have standard baby formula animal or dairy-based ingredients such as milk protein casein, milk, eggs, meat, or whey. Instead, it has plant-derivative-based ingredients such as hydrolyzed rice protein. 

Specialized vegan formulas are formulated for babies and premature infants dealing with allergies and also lactose intolerance.

Which Babies Can Have Vegan Formula?

Introducing Vegan Baby Formula

Vegan formula is suitable for babies who are allergic to animal protein or to mother’s milk. Babies below six months of age should only be given soy-based formulas. Talk to your pediatrician and give vegan formula under strict medical guidance and supervision.

If you are a vegan family and want to give vegan formula to your baby on principle, it is vital to talk to your doctor and get a complete understanding on the risk factors.

Do remember that vegan formula is devoid of many nutrients which have to carefully be supplemented to avoid nutritional deficiencies in babies. Per a review article published by the National Library of Medicine, the list of nutrients missing in baby formula include

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron 
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Iodine
  • Long chain fatty acids

All of these nutrients are vital for the proper growth and development of a baby. Hence, parents using vegan formula must be extra careful and always talk to a pediatrician for additional precautions and possible nutritional deficiency signs to look out for.

Vegan Formula Diet as Per Age

Vegan infant formula can be given according to the age of the babies. Here is the guide according to the baby’s age.

0 to 6 Months

According to the World Health Organization, mothers should breastfeed their babies for at least six months. Mother milk contains vital antibodies that help to build immunity in babies. The vegan formula is not for babies under six months. However in rare cases where the mother is not able to produce milk and the baby is lactose intolerant or allergic, soy-based formula is the best alternative supplement for babies.

6 to 12 Months

You can start formula milk when your baby turns six months old and starts solid food. After six months, the amount of zinc and iron goes down in breast milk. In such instances, you can start feeding your little one with baby formula. You can now introduce vegan formula that helps enrich your baby with essential nutrients. However, always talk to your doctor before introducing vegan formula to your baby and do it only when necessary.

1 Year +

Once your baby turns 1 year old, you can start adding nutrient-rich formula for the baby’s development. You can use additional sources of Vitamin A, D, and C. Vitamin B12 and Iodine supplements are helpful to improve the immunity of babies. You can also start giving vegan  formula. Ensure that you provide at least three meals to your baby. You may need to add additional supplements that your baby may miss out on when on vegan formula.

[Read : How to Increase Immunity in Babies?]

What Ingredients Must be Present in Your Baby’s Vegan Formula?

Baby vegan formula ingredients must vary according to the brand you select. However, you must ensure that the formula contains all the essential nutrients that are compulsory for a baby’s development. So, if you’re checking baby vegan formula, consider these nutrient specifications by the FDA.

1. Vitamins

Choline, Biotin, Niacin, Inositol, Riboflavin, Thiamine, Pantothenic, Vitamin A, B6, B12, D, C, E, and K.

2. Nutrient Supplements

Rice hydrolyzed protein, fatty acids, linoleic acid, and probiotics.

3. Minerals

Copper, Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Iodine, Selenium, Potassium, Phosphorous, Zinc, and Sodium.

4. Additional Ingredients

Plant-based oil and natural sugar.

[Read : Vitamin D For Babies]

Amazing Top 4 Benefits of Baby Vegan Formula

Vegan baby formula benefits

For babies who have allergies to milk or lactose intolerance a vegan baby formula is perfect. Some parents prefer feeding their babies on a non-dairy formula to avoid potential gastric problems. Apart from this, the plan-based diet baby formula provides significant benefits such as:

1. Beneficial For Babies With Allergies

Babies with allergies to animal-based protein or components in the mother’s milk can greatly benefit from vegan formula.

[Read : Milk Allergy in Babies]

2. Reduces Chances of Diabetes in Babies

Starting your baby on hydrolyzed baby formula during the transition from breast milk reduces the risk of contracting type 1 diabetes later in life. This may be significant when there is a family history of diabetes.

3. Minimizes the Risk of Heart Diseases

Vegan baby formula is low in cholesterol and saturated fat. The formula helps to reduce the chances of heart disease.

4. Reduces the Risk of Severe Disease

Plant-based baby formula is high in antioxidants. This helps to reduce the risk of severe diseases.

How to Select the Right Organic Vegan Formula?

Choosing the right vegan baby formula

Selecting a good vegan baby formula can be a daunting job for parents. Here are a few types of organic vegan formulas you can choose from for your baby and how to choose them.

1. Non-GMO

The best organic vegan formula must be non-GMO. It must follow high standards protocol of food processing.

2. Iron-Fortified

Be sure the formula you select must have iron content. This is because mother’s milk is not a very good source of iron and this nutrient must be supplemented in other ways to avoid iron-deficiency anemia.

3. Containing DHA

DHA or Docosahexaenoic Acid is an omega-3 fatty acid naturally found in mother milk. DHA is very important for babies’ brain development and eyes. The synthetic form might be present in non-dairy formulas.

4. Containing Natural Sugars

Make sure the vegan formula you choose must have natural sugar rather than syrup solids. Vegan formulas do not have lactose (the natural milk sweetener). So, other forms of carbohydrates are present to balance nutrients and sugar.

Vegan baby formula can be an excellent option for your little one who is intolerant to dairy products. However, before you select any vegan formula for a tiny one, you should check out the pros and cons of using vegan formulas. Also, be sure that the formula you choose must be easy to digest and not cause any allergies. Always talk to your doctor before starting vegan formula for your baby and do it under medical supervision to avoid deficiencies.


1. What is The Recommended Infant Formula For Someone on a Vegan Diet?

Babies younger than 6 months must be given only soy-based infant formula if they cannot have their mother’s milk for any reason. Remember that breast milk is the best for any baby unless the mother can’t feed or the baby can’t drink due to unavoidable circumstances. Babies older than 6 months can still have soy-based formulas. They can also have other plat-based formulas such as rice-based. Do talk to your doctor before starting your baby on vegan formula

2. What Ingredients Should I Avoid in the Baby Vegan Formula?

You should avoid choosing formula that has casein, lactoglobulin, diacetyl, lacto acidophilus, rennet, lactalbumin, and/or whey when selecting the vegan baby formula.

Read Also: Different Types of Formula Milk For Your Baby  

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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