An 11 month old baby exclusively breastfed by a vegan mother has died and the parents are charged with neglect after an autopsy indicated the baby suffered from deficiencies in vitamin B12 and Vitamin A – both known to be critical to a child’s development.
Vegans have long been advised to take B12 supplements as long term veganism runs the huge risk of serious B12 deficiency as well as other nutrients only found in animal foods such as true Vitamin A. Beta carotene is not true vitamin A nor does it easily convert to adequate amounts of Vitamin A in the body.
While I’m not sure I favor charging the parents in this tragedy as it smacks of Big Brother far too much for my comfort level, it does communicate a clear message to other vegans: abstinence from all animal foods is a danger to one’s health and most particularly, your baby!
It also sends a clear message that what a breastfeeding Mother eats definitely DOES affect the quality of her breastmilk. Many breastfeeding advocates insist that breastmilk will include all a baby needs despite what the Mother eats, but clearly this is not the case.
Traditional cultures took great care to ensure that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers consumed ample amounts of animal foods rich in vitamins A, D, E, K and of course B12. These foods included grassfed butter, pastured eggs, liver, seafood, and fish eggs. Notice that none – NOT ONE of these traditionally sacred foods is plant based!
If you are pregnant and breastfeeding and would like to learn what foods will maximally support the health of your baby while nursing, please check this link for the complete listing of traditionally sacred foods for optimal fetal and baby development. These foods will also ensure the preservation of your own health during pregnancy and lactation which can easily deplete a Mother’s nutritional stores leaving her vulnerable to exhaustion.
*Update: The vegan parents whose baby died as described in this article were convicted by a French court to 5 years in prison due to the imbalanced vegan diet the mother ate which led to nutrient poor breastmilk and a failure to thrive child who eventually fell ill from severe nutrient deficiency and died without the parents ever seeking proper medical attention.
For more information on how a vegan diet devastates the health of children, read about how a 12 year old vegan was diagnosed with the degenerating bones of an 80 year old. Dr. Faisal Ahmed MD, a pediatrician treating the child, said that the dangers of forcing children to follow a strict vegan diet need to be publicized.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist, author of Get Your Fats Straight