In Italy this month, vegan parents lost custody of their baby after he almost died from malnutrition.
According to The Local in Italy, the 14-month old baby was taken to hospital in Milan by his grandparents, where doctors discovered he weighed only slightly more than a typical 3-month-old. Allegedly, the baby's parents had kept him on a vegan diet without dietary supplements. As a result, he was severely malnourished and suffering from dangerously low calcium levels. Worse, he had to undergo an emergency operation for a congenital heart condition that had been exacerbated by his vitamin deficiencies.
Veganism, like many things (speaking in full sentences, driving a car, having a martini at the end of a long day), is fine for (most) adults, but not necessarily for babies. In fact, veganism, which typically involves eliminating all animal products—including eggs, dairy, and meat—could be dangerous for humans in their earliest phase of life.
In recent months, there have been multiple international cases reported of babies suffering health problems related to vegan diets, collected here in this Washington Post article. The subject is tricky, because many vegan parents feel passionately about the dietary choice, and, understandably, want their children to abide by these rules as well. In 2007, many vegan parents got upset when a New York Times op-ed titled “Death by Veganism” seemed to suggest it was not the healthiest option for kids.