Vegan Omega 3 for Babies: Why It’s Important for Brain and Eye Development
Omega 3 is one of those crucial nutrients for babies. Yet most sources of omega 3 are not vegetarian or vegan since they come from fish.
This leads to the question how do I find vegan omega 3 for babies?
In this guide, I will explore the different kinds of omega 3 and how to ensure that your baby gets it, even in a plant-based diet.
Different types of omega 3
There are 3 types of omega 3 – ALA, EPA, and DHA.
ALA is found in different kinds of plant foods such as chia seeds, flax seeds, spinach, and kale. This is easy to get enough of since many vegan foods contain it.
EPA and DHA are found in seafood and algae. This is the kind of omega 3 that can be difficult for vegans to find.
Don’t worry, I will provide with you excellent sources of vegan omega 3 for babies and adults, although in this post I will mainly focus on babies.
Why is omega 3 crucial for babies?
Now that we know the different kinds of omega 3, let’s explore their benefits.
DHA is the most important type of omega 3 for babies. It’s necessary for your baby’s brain and eyes to develop.
Not only do babies need omega 3 once they’re born, but it’s also important for you to consume omega 3 while pregnant since it’s passed through the placenta, straight to your growing baby.
Once your baby is born, she will get omega 3 from your breastmilk or formula. Again, if you choose to breastfeed, it’s important to continue consuming enough omega 3 so it can be passed to your little one.
Check out this post for breastfeeding essentials if you plan to go that route.
There have actually been studies done on children who had enough omega 3 during the early years of development versus children who didn’t have enough.
The results of the study are amazing!
Children with enough omega 3 scored higher in the following areas:
- Visual development
- Mental and motor skills
- Immune system development
- Attention control
- Language and cognition
On the other hand, children who didn’t have enough omega 3 scored lower in these areas and had issues regarding regulating their attention, immune system development, and more.
That’s really an eye-opener for parents to be aware of. In the first few years of your baby’s life, you need to make sure she gets enough omega 3! It can do wonders for her development in the long run.
Now, we mentioned previously that it can be difficult to find vegan omega 3 for babies so let’s explore some options.
Vegan omega 3 for babies
There are 2 categories of vegan omega 3 for babies – foods and supplements. First, we will talk about foods rich in omega 3, specifically vegan DHA since this is the most important type of omega 3.
Foods rich in omega 3
The only vegan food which naturally contains DHA is algae, such as seaweed. However, this is a bit difficult to give to your little one.
I mean, are you planning to serve your 8-month-old avocado sushi for dinner? I don’t think so. It’s a great source of vegan DHA for you, while pregnant and breastfeeding. But it’s not a practical choice for your little one.
Therefore, the best way for your baby to get vegan omega 3 is by giving him a supplement.
You can get a full 7-day meal plan here with recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for your little one that’s packed with nutritious recipes!
Vegan omega 3 supplements
I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, I may earn a commission. Thanks.
Just like with omega 3 itself, the supplement must come from a vegan source. Most omega 3 supplements are made from fish oil.
Vegan omega 3 supplements are made from algae oil. For babies, it would come in a liquid form. The one I use for my baby is Nordic Naturals Baby’s DHA.
It’s an excellent product since you can simply add the omega 3 drops into any food you serve. I mix it into smoothies that I make for Haylee and she finishes every last drop of it!
It does have a fishy flavor so you should mix it with something flavorful to make it taste better.
Haylee has no problem when I mix into her smoothies such as spinach and apple smoothie or beet and carrot smoothie. Check out this post for more smoothie ideas for your little one.
Other great options of vegan omega 3 for babies and kids include:
- Mary Ruth’s Infant & Toddler Omega 3 Liquid Drops
- Go Healthy Kids Omega 3 DHA EPA
- Amala Vegan Omega 3 for Kids
Usually, on the bottle, it says to serve it with food so you shouldn’t give it directly in your baby’s mouth. Besides adding it to smoothies, you can mix it in baby cereal, breastmilk, or formula.
Such an important nutrient and so easy to get, even as a vegan! It’s definitely a must-have for all moms with little kids.
You’re setting them up with an excellent opportunity for advanced development and growth. We saw this in the study I mentioned earlier in this post.
There are clear advantages for those kids that had enough omega 3 in their early years of life.
To wrap up
Omega 3 is a vital nutrient in a baby’s development. As a vegan, without eating fish, it can be difficult to ensure your little one gets enough of this nutrient.
Therefore, you can easily buy a supplement of vegan omega 3 for babies.
Make sure it’s for babies and not for kids or adults. It will clearly say on the packaging what age it’s geared for. The ones I recommended above are specifically for babies.
How do you ensure your little one gets enough omega 3 in his diet? Are you giving him supplements? Let me know in the comments!
And subscribe right here for a free meal plan for your little one!
Thanks for this thorough article! My doctor has recently been emphasizing Omega 3 for me, but I haven’t thought about it as much for my kiddo.. Thanks for this.
Catherine, omega 3 is an important nutrient for everyone, especially babies since their brain is developing so rapidly.
Love the article! I didn’t realize you could get omega 3 in liquid form. I am going to look into that! Thanks for the info~
Alyssa, most supplements come in liquid form if they’re also available for babies. Check it out and I hope you find something beneficial!
I will look into Omega 3 liquids. Although my kids aren’t babies anymore, they still need it for growth and protection.
Thank you for sharing a vegan option for Omega 3.
Jordan, you’re right – all kids need omega 3, not just babies!
Thank you for such comprehensive article. I was aware of the importance of Omega 3 and your text reinforced it & made me realize my 1 year old boy might not be getting enough Omega 3 now since he is not taking as much breastmilk as before + follows a vegetarian diet since he was born (with the exception of trying fish to test possible allergy, which thankfully he doesn’t have any).
Thank you again and keep up the good work. Parents need that!
Mateus, I’m so happy this article helped you out! Omega 3 is a really important nutrient to supplement especially for us vegans/vegetarians who aren’t getting it in our diets.