We know many people who have taken on a vegan-diet lifestyle, mainly because it has many health benefits and is animal cruelty-free. However, it is not advisable to put babies on this kind of diet as they will not be able to receive the proper nutrients that their bodies need from fruits and vegetables alone.
An Australian couple put their newborn baby on a “conservative vegan diet” and fed her only oats with olive oil, rice milk, vegetables, rice, potatoes, tofu, and fruits. This went on for 19 months until their daughter had a seizure and had to be admitted to the hospital in March 2018.
The hospital conducted some tests and results showed that the girl was severely malnourished. She was brought in with “blue lips, cold hands and feet, low blood sugar and little muscle tone” reported BBC.
At one year and seven months, she weighed only 4.89kg (an average 19-month old baby weighs 10.8kg) and looked like a three-month-old baby. She also did not have any teeth and had very thin bones, on top of not being vaccinated.
Her father, 35, and mother, 33, were charged last year (2018) and given an 18-month intensive corrections order and 300 hours of community service for neglecting their child.
Sydney District Court Judge Sarah Huggett said during the sentencing that the baby’s vegan diet was “completely inadequate” for her development.
“This child was severely malnourished, underweight and undersized, and delayed as far as age-appropriate milestones were concerned,” she said.
The baby was then taken out of her parents’ care. The foster carer said, “she couldn’t sit up, she couldn’t speak any words, she couldn’t feed herself, she couldn’t play with toys… she couldn’t roll over all the way”.
Judge Huggett said the child’s parents were “initially unable to accept that their daughters’ condition was due to malnutrition”.
She said the mother was suffering from a level of depression at the time but had become “increasingly fixated” in her beliefs – including their vegan diet.
The couple pleaded guilty in December 2018 for not being able to provide for their child and causing danger and serious injury. The maximum sentence for the offence is five years in prison. However, the couple has avoided jail time as announced last Thursday (22nd August), according to Fox 61.
Now at three years old, the daughter lives with relatives but continues to suffer from height and weight deficiencies. The parents have visiting rights, but access to the child is supervised.
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