Italy, as of late, has experienced a growing trend when it comes to placing babies on vegan diets. Health experts in Italy aren’t contesting the feeding style, however, they have said that a vegan diet for an infant must be accompanied by supplements.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that “well-planned vegetarian and eating patterns are healthy for infants and toddlers,” according to its publication, “Eat Right.” For breastfeeding mothers and for infants who don’t consume milk products and eggs, it recommends supplements or fortified foods for vitamins B12, vitamin D, calcium and iron and advises parents to consult a dietitian. Mel Melcon TNS
An Italian baby who was taken to a hospital in Milan earlier this month by his grandmother was found to be malnourished(extremely low calcium), extremely underweight and having a congenital heart condition which required surgery. Experts say the congenital heart condition was caused by the low calcium levels.
Hospital staff turned the parents in to social services who in turn removed the parent’s custodial rights.
According to the Miami Herald.
The case “forces us to reflect on uncommon feeding regimes,” Luca Bernardo, director of pediatrics at the hospital, told the Daily Telegraph.
He was careful not to take sides on the issue of what constitutes an optimal diet for a baby, however. “It is not a problem to choose different or unusual kinds of nutrition, and we certainly do not want to enter into a discussion of the merits of the decision. But since birth, the baby should have had support in this case with calcium and iron,” Bernardo said.
Prior months have shown an uptick in babies on vegan diets being admitted to hospitals throughout Italy. Some have even been admitted to intensive care. Many of the issues stem from lower than usual weight accompanied by nutrient deficiencies.
Here is a video from 11 months ago discussing an Italian court ruling in favor of vegan babies.