Sydney breastfeeding mother given suspended jail sentence for almost starving baby to death

By @ritwikroy1985 on
Malnutrition
A nurse feeds a newborn baby in a special care unit at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen July 30, 2015. Reuters/Khaled Abdullah

A breastfeeding mother, who is also a maternity ward nurse, almost killed her baby after she went on a raw food only diet. She narrowly avoided jail term after she agreed to provide evidence against her naturopath.

The mother was sentenced to a 14-month suspended sentence by Campbelltown Magistrate Ian Guy for failing to provide for her eight-month old baby. He expressed surprise on how a trained midwife could not realise that her emaciated child was days away from dying when she took him to the hospital.

Guy said that the mother went against her training and all the telltale signs that would have been pretty obvious to anyone who saw the condition of the child. The mother (name withheld) pleaded guilty to charges of failing to provide for her baby causing danger of death between February and May 2015. The charge carries a maximum sentence of two years in local court.

In order to cure the child’s eczema, the mother went on a crazy diet of raw vegetables, seeds and fruits on the advice of her naturopath Marilyn Bodnar. The mother followed the diet and only breastfed the baby leading to malnutrition. The baby boy started vomiting for up to a week, his eyes sunk and was hardly moving.

Lawyer Richard Kouchoo during a sentence hearing argued that the 33-year-old mother followed the diet out of desperation to cure her child’s eczema. However, prosecutor Alex Brown argues saying the mother should have known better as she is a trained nurse. After the baby suffered from a fever in May 2015, Bodnar advised her patient to go on a water-only diet.

Even when the baby started vomiting and was starving, the naturopath kept on advising the mother to continue drinking only water. The mother kept drinking only water and watermelon for a number of days.

Bodnar has been charged with reckless grievous bodily harm. She is expected to face a committal hearing next Monday before Campbelltown Local Court, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.