A 14-month-old baby taken to hospital seriously malnourished, after the parents reportedly kept him on a vegan diet.

The baby, who cannot be identified, has been removed from his parents’ care in Italy.

He was taken to the hospital by the grandparents last week and doctors were shocked to find out how weak the baby was, The Telegraph reports.

It was reported that the 14-month-old measured just over the weight of an average newborn, while the baby’s calcium levels were so low they were considered life-threatening.

He’s also had to have emergency heart surgery for a congenital heart condition.

“This forces us to reflect on uncommon feeding regimes, even if in this case it was complicated by a cardiac malformation,” said Luca Bernardo, director of paediatrics at the Milan hospital that took the baby in, quoted by the Telegraph.

“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.”

After diagnosis, the hospital reported the case to the police and the baby was formally removed from his parents.

The children’s court in Italy will now look into whether to give custody of the child to the grandparents.

A healthy vegan diet

Vegans – exclude red meat, offal, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. Obtain protein from beans, legumes, pulses, nuts and soy products like tofu.

To make sure your child gets enough of all the nutrients needed for a growing child, their vegetarian diet must include:

•Protein alternatives such as nuts, legumes and tofu
•Energy for growth and development
•Iron to prevent anaemia
•Vitamin B12
•Vitamin D and calcium to prevent bone disease
•Suitable fats from non-meat sources
•Food in the correct form and combination to make sure nutrients can be digested and absorbed.

•Vegans, use non-dairy milks e.g. soya milk that are fortified with calcium, vitamin D2 and vitamin B12

•Spread breads with avocado, or seed/nut butters to increase calories

More info available on The Vegan Society page.

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  • Sadly many children around the globe are suffering malnourishment. This poor child should not have been allowed to get to this state. I am so pleased the grandparents took the child to hospital. Hope all ends well.


  • This makes me cross that it headlines that the baby was malnourished from vegan diet. No it wasn’t, it was malnourished by neglectful parents. Most vegans get more nutrients daily than their meat eating counterparts as they are aware of their food and dietary requirements. Many meat eating children aren’t getting sufficient levels of vitamins and minerals but if they are grossly underweight at 14 months it is due to their neglectful parents.


  • If you see that your child is not putting on weight, you should start worrying, shouldn’t you? Incredible. Luckily that the grandparents did something about it.


  • I cannot believe how these parents could not see that their child was not developing on the diet that he was on. Glad to hear the grandparents intervened and took him to hospital


  • Poor baby !! Has to miss mummy and daddy now and probably doesn’t have a clue about what is happening…what a confusion that must be !!


  • Surely they could see a problem with their own eyes. Again another case where it takes such a long time for the problem to be attended to.


  • The poor little baby is lucky to be alive. Surely they could see their baby wasn’t making progress and sought sensible advice. That is blatant neglect.
    If it were my baby I would have taken he to a Dr. or Hospital as soon as he showed signs of no growth. His congenital heart condition could have killed him and he has possibly been in a lot of pain and discomfort. Basically the baby is alive….. just. I would be very worried about the baby falling over when trying to crawl or walk which it is highly possible he hasn’t done yet.
    He would probably break a lot of bones. I am concerned that he may develop osteopena if he hasn’t already and if the hospital can’t build his Calcium, vitamins and minerals levels up quickly enough the little boy will have an even harder road ahead. I am glad the Grandparents took him to the hospital. It’s a pity they hadn’t had the opportunity to do so earlier.


  • I understand that it can be quite challenging to meet a child’s needs with a vegan diet – you really have to plan carefully.


  • Parents need to educate themselves on nutritional needs for babies/children no matter what diet they are following.


  • To be removed from the parents,the poor baby must have been in a serious condition.


  • What? Be responsible parents! If you choose such crazy food regimes for young children, then you need to make sure that tehy are getting a balanced diet still. I.e., calcium from other sources.


  • So sad that they didn’t ask for help to feed their baby correctly


  • a baby’s nutritional needs are so important, people need to do so much research, speak tp dieticians, nutritionists and paediatricians to make sure they are doing the right things


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