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Vegans In France to be charged with child neglect (warning, may upset some)

(50 Posts)
gemmummy Wed 30-Mar-11 07:58:43

I read this article and thought it was very sad. As a mum who breastfed I was concious that what I ate was what my baby ate. And I got to wondering, how do vegatarian, vegan or mums on a restricted diet cope in the UK? I'm not on a restricted diet, but is there enough info out there for mums that are? Just wondered about other peoples experiences. Here is the article for those that haven't seen it.

HecateTheCrone Wed 30-Mar-11 08:01:16

I was talking about this yesterday terrible story, isn't it?

GoldenHaze Wed 30-Mar-11 08:03:07

...except this child wasn't fed on a vegan diet. She was starved to death. If she'd been fed a good vegan diet she wouldn't have done.

My DD is vegan from birth. She's incredibly healthy - full of energy, very big and very strong!

colditz Wed 30-Mar-11 08:03:07

She didn't die begcause she was vagn, she didn't die because she was breastfed, she dies because she was neglected by parents who either didn't know or didn't care what they wre doing. Poor baby - and as this really was born of ignorance, poor parents.

I'm an omnivore and would be very very angry if an article stated "Mr and Mrs X, who eat meat, also gave meat to their daughter who died xxx"

gemmummy Wed 30-Mar-11 08:03:17

in which case hecate, ignore this thread, i'll go and have a read of yours. I just thought could it possibly be a case of musguided belief that you arte doing the right thing, but then as I read further and saw they didn't believe in Doctors and normal medicine....How does the social work system work in France to pick up on this?

gemmummy Wed 30-Mar-11 08:06:04

One question from me, only because I know nothing about veganism. If you were a vegan, but ate correctly as a vegan, would you need to do anything extra, or would your diet be enough to ensure breastfed baby got all the right stuff? Genuine question. What exactly won't a vegan eat that a vegatarian will? Is it dairy products? In which case, couldn't you get the vitamins from fruit and veg?

colditz Wed 30-Mar-11 08:09:13

dairy, eggs and honey

basically, as far as I understand it, vegetarians won't eaten anything that has directly caused the death of something with a nervous sytem, vegans won't eat that OR any products from them.

GoldenHaze Wed 30-Mar-11 08:16:38

gemmummy yes, all the necessary vitamins and minerals can be easily absorbed from a vegan, plant-based diet.

I researched nutrition very carefully whilst pregnant and whe DD was a baby and decided that a vegan diet was the best bet and I'm very glad that I did.

I'm not saying it to sound smug, but genuinely DD is very healthy. She grew at a fantastic rate, is very strong and physically able, has lovely white teeth and rosey cheeks! She's also developed very well mentally (reading three or four words at the age of two, etc). We made friends with a few other veggie/vegan families and without exception all of the children seem very happy and healthy. I've never met a vegan child with asthma or eczema, for example.

Honestly, I'm not being an overly-proud mum, but it's important to remember that this story isn't about vegans, it's about people who neglected their baby. Every time a similar story crops up about meat-eaters, it just states that the child was abused, not "Meat eaters neglect baby". It's just the press using the word to be provocative.

HecateTheCrone Wed 30-Mar-11 08:17:33

I was not saying that. there are no limits on the number of times something can be discussed. I simply thought since you are interested in this story that you may be interested in reading the thoughts already on here.

gemmummy Wed 30-Mar-11 08:29:20

Hecate, I wasn't taking offence! Isn't it funny how something that you type can sound snippy when it's not meant to be!

gemmummy Wed 30-Mar-11 08:32:37

GoldenHaze when you told your mw that you were vegan, did you get any advice, or guidance as to how to ensure both you and your baby were kept healthy? Would you have appreciated such advice if it had been offered? I should think there are a lot of people with restricted diets, both for medical reasons and out of choice. I wonder what the provision is to guide people correctly in these situations. Do Health visitors know much about this?

SnapFrakkleAndPop Wed 30-Mar-11 08:35:41

It says there they were advised to take their baby to a doctor at their 9 month check so they were following the requirements etc. for check-ups. Social services can't come and see you for refusing normal medical care. Homeopathic vaccinations are accepted as an alternative to traditional vaccines when a child starts school so it's not unheard of to prefer alternative medicine.

If noone reported it social services wouldn't be involved and it would seem that no-one did.

Tragic story and a preventable death but ignorance rather than wilful neglect I feel.

GoldenHaze Wed 30-Mar-11 08:35:58

gemmummy, no I wasn't offered any advice from my Midwife, but would have happily accepted some. As I've always been healthy (very thin medical record!) and am a good weight etc, nobody medical's ever seen reason to question my diet I suppose. The same with DD.

Actually, my GP once asked me about a vegan diet because her brother was thinking of going vegan, and she seemed to think it was a good idea.

gemmummy Wed 30-Mar-11 08:37:16

Snapfrakkleandpop what is a homeopathic vaccination?

Rosebud05 Wed 30-Mar-11 08:46:36

The 'vegan' tag here is a bit of a red herring. The child sadly died because she had been neglected; her nutritional needs weren't being met and the article says that her bronchialitis hadn't been medically assessed or treated.

A omnivore couple who treated their child in the same way would have had the same outcome. It does sound like ignorance rather then wilful neglect.

RitaMorgan Wed 30-Mar-11 09:00:49

Sad that this is being presented as breastfeeding kills baby - malnutrition, a lack of medical treatment and neglect/parental stupidity killed her.

RamblingRosa Wed 30-Mar-11 09:06:46

It's really sad that the headline seems to be that veganism/breasfeeding killed the baby. But when you read the article (it was in the Guardian this morning) it becomes clear that the baby had been suffering from serious chest infection for several months and the parents had refused conventional medicine in favour of "cabbage poultices" (according to the article I read hmm).

Seems like scaremongering to make the headline about veganism or breastfeeding.

kreecherlivesupstairs Wed 30-Mar-11 09:09:49

Dreadfully sad. I agree that it has been presented badly, the veganism had nothing to do with the death of the child, it was the stupidity and neglect of her parents. Shocking waste of a life.

SnapFrakkleAndPop Wed 30-Mar-11 09:26:41

I'm still not entirely sure....but if you refuse to have your standad vaccinations done here then you need to go and see a homeopath and be given some kind of homeopathic treatment which is accepted as an alternative to a vaccination.

It's not something I would do but my MW and doctor have mentioned them a few times when I've queried the vaccination schedule (although my query was more 'please can we have the vaccine against TB done sooner?' than 'I don't want any nasty needles near my baby').

CharCharGabor Wed 30-Mar-11 09:37:00

I think the veganism and breastfeeding are a red herring here. Whatever you're eating, breast milk still contains all of the nutrition it usually does unless the mother is near starvation. That's why you see mothers in Africa with lovely chubby babies. And lots of people delay starting complementary foods with no ill effects. My own daughter ate barely any solids until very recently and she is 13 months (and very healthy!) The vegan diet can provide all required nutrition. The real issue here IMO is that the baby was obviously very ill and not being treated, and that probably led to malabsorption of nutrients. It's terribly sad but not something which should be used to bash either veganism or breastfeeding.

mozart Thu 31-Mar-11 15:34:36

Yep I picked up on the breastfeeding part particularly, only to read the article and realise it has nothing to do with that really. The truth is the parents were a bit silly and should have done something before it got that bad. They were obviously out of their depths in terms of treating the original chest infection.

Not sure why the media feels the need to pinpoint issues that have nothing to do with the death of this child!!! I hate it when the media just feeds people's fears!

Meandacat Thu 31-Mar-11 17:22:29

Is the BF thing completely a red herring? The way I read it, I was assuming that her low weight was due to the fact that she was still solely being BFd at 11 months. Vegan or not, shouldn't she have been started on some sort of solids by that age? Clearly the mistrust of conventional medicine played a huge part and I agree the headlines are misleading in that context, but can we dismiss the rest of it entirely?

Honestly, genuine question - I wasn't able to BF so my knowledge of it past the first few weeks is minimal.

Inertia Thu 31-Mar-11 18:17:36

I agree that the veganism and breastfeeding are not the key issues here. The article states that the baby died from a pneumonia-related disease; the coroner states that the cause of death was malnutrition or neglect - it sounds as though the baby had had several episodes of bronchial problems which went untreated.

I'd be astounded if either the veganism or lack of solids were the cause of death - many babies eat barely any solids before the age of 1 , and they survive. Obviously the child would need a lot of breastmilk at that age, and it's possible that she wasn't receiving sufficient quantities.

schmee Thu 31-Mar-11 18:31:20

I find it interesting that people don't think the exclusive breastfeeding contributed to her malnutrition.

To me the parents' rejection of conventional medicine sounds like a logical extension of the sort of culture that so firmly rejects medical intervention in childbirth for example. They weren't neglecting her. They were trying to care for her in an alternative way because they didn't trust the medical progression.

It sounds like they were trying to what was right, but, because the child has died, we will say that they were entirely misguided or neglectful.

RitaMorgan Thu 31-Mar-11 18:43:07

The exclusive breastfeeding contributed to the child's malnutrition undoubtedly. For whatever reason the mother wasn't ensuring her own vegan diet was sufficient in vitamins, so the child was also not getting those vitamins. I'm sure the vitamin deficiencies contributed to her death from untreated illnesses.

I know several vegans who have raised their children perfectly healthily on vegan diets, but they are all aware you have to look at your diet carefully. If you're omnivorous or even veggie, it's pretty easy to get all your body needs even if your diet is a bit crap. If you're vegan you have to put more effort in.

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