How vegan parents are ignoring doctors’ advice on babies’ diets and turning to Facebook for dodgy tips

In a growing trend, Australian parents are sharing tips about the vegan diets they’re putting their kids on – some as young as six months.

It comes as a couple, from Sydney, who fed their daughter an extreme vegan diet recently pleaded guilty to failing to provide for a child, causing serious injury.

The girl’s diet was so restricted she developed rickets, a degenerative bone disease caused by malnourishment.

An investigation by the Daily Telegraph and Storyful found a growing number of parents trading vegan diet tips for their kids on social media.

The Facebook group Vegan Baby Led Weaning has more than 7700 members and its description says it’s for “vegan mums, dads, and anyone that is doing baby led weaning with their little vegans”.

Earlier this year a mum asked for alternative advice when her doctor said “some things I really don’t believe” about her six-month-old son.

“She said he isn’t old enough for meat replacement like tofu yet but I really feel like greens and beans would be a great enough source of iron for him,” she wrote.

“But if I’m not feeding him these for a couple more months until he’s ready will he actually be iron (or anything) deficient? I thought ‘food before one is just for fun’ and breast milk is enough for them??”

On September 6, another mum posted about her six-month-old baby and said she had started to think about nutrition post-breastfeeding.

She wrote: “A major gap is iodine. What do people do? Is seaweed OK? B12 seems to be from yeast flakes at this age — any other ideas?”

In March last year, another mum asked other members of a vegan parenting group what alternatives there were for her nine-week-old baby.

“Can someone give me advice: we have a nine-week-old healthy baby. We are vegan and our GP recommended that our baby stay on cows milk formula until we introduce solids,” the mum wrote.
“We are in favour of switching to soy of course and just want to find out how other babies are doing on it.”

Another mum responded to the post and suggested a rice milk formula.

Some parents critisised the vegan diets for kids, calling those in favour of it “dangerous lunatics” and saying it was akin to child abuse.

It comes as a Sydney couple had their three kids taken away from them after police found their 20-month-old girl was severely malnourished and suffering from rickets.

Rickets is a preventable bone disease that affects babies and young children and causes soft and weakened bones. Children are typically diagnosed with rickets due to a lack of vitamin D, calcium or phosphorus.

The parents first faced court in May, two months after their toddler suffered a seizure at home.

Since her stint in hospital and foster care, the toddler has gained 6kgs.

Police allege the father, 34 and mother, 32, fed their 20-month-old girl a strict diet “severely lacking in nutrients for her to thrive”.

The toddler’s two older brothers, aged six and four, who were also on vegan diets, are also in government care.

The couple will be sentenced on January 16 after pleading guilty to failing to provide for a child, causing serious injury.

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