According to literature from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the British Dietetic Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegan diets can meet the nutritional needs of infants and children, ideally with the participation of a pediatrician and a dietitian.

“The key is to make sure it’s well planned out and you’re meeting all of your child’s nutritional needs,” said Vandana Sheth, a registered dietitian nutritionist and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Many vegans cite animal welfare and personal health as reasons to avoid animal byproducts, such as dairy, eggs and gelatin. Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of some chronic diseases as well as environmental benefits.

Reed Mangels, a registered dietitian in California and nutrition adviser for the Vegetarian Resource Group who raised her children on vegan diets, said that vegan babies, like all infants, should start with breast milk if possible.