A mother has avoided jail after she malnourished her five-month-old, rather thanĀ feed him formula, fearing it would be unhealthy for the baby and made her a failure.

The Queensland woman, who cannot be named because it would identify her son, pleaded guilty on Monday in the Brisbane District Court to one count of cruelty, reports Daily Mail.

She is said to have ignored medical advice to top up her breastfeeding because the boy was not gaining enough weight.

By the time the five-month-old came to the attention of authorities, he only weighed 3.7kg – almost half of an average weight – and was severely malnourished.

The boy was so gaunt and emaciated his rib cage and shoulder bones were visible through the skin, his growth was stunted and he was suffering from muscle and tissue wastage.

‘This child could have died,’ Judge David Kent said as the woman fought back tears in the dock.

‘Baby formula is not harmful, it is required for babies that are not thriving on breastfeeding.’

The court heard the mother-of-four had previously breastfed all of her children and feared chemicals in formula would cause harm.

Her fear of mainstream medical care and failure to see the severity of her son’s condition was further impaired at the time because she was suffering from postnatal depression.

‘She wanted to ask for help but couldn’t,’ her defence lawyer said.

‘She had the notion to (give formula) meant she was a failure as a mother.’

The 43-year-old woman was sentenced to 18 months jail with immediate parole.

Her husband, 50, was also sentenced to 12 months jail with immediate parole for doing nothing to ensure his son was the correct weight.

The man told the court he worked six days a week to support his family financially and rarely saw his son because he was asleep when he got home.

‘Perhaps my work does drive me away from home but that’s what happens when you have to support everybody,’ he said.

The boy has made a full recovery and is back living with his parents.

This is a sad reminder that we need to be more SUPPORTIVE of mother’s and just be happy a baby is fed, no matter how that may be.

To me this story highlights why it is a BAD idea for places like the US who recently banned hospitals from supplying formula marketing materials and free samples to new mums.

It never makes you a failure!

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  • What a very silly thing to do. I agree with the other mum who says you should have to have a licence to have children – but with four others, I guess one would have thought she was able to look after a child. Thank heavens he is now OK.


  • Some people are so idiotic, you really ought to have a licence to have children


  • Poor baby boy.
    And poor mummy as well ! She had postnatal depression and had the feeling giving formula meant she was a failure as a mother…..I think that many mums can understand this feeling. The postnatal depression could have influenced her judgement and decision making.
    That the husband didn’t act or even noticed what was going on isn’t strange to me…I have that type of husband who absolutely doesn’t notice these type of things and when I share concerns with him he might not register it at all (not because he’s not interested, just different wired).


  • Immediate parole. Does that mean they only served parole?? or that they didn’t have to apply for parole to be given it.


  • I’m glad these parents got jail time, the poor baby almost died. The mother sounded like she needed psychological help!


  • I cannot believe this woman would rather sit and watch her baby starve to death rather then feed it formula. We really need more education on breast vs bottle


  • So sad. Poor little bub


  • mothers are pressured so much to only breastfeed their children and are almost shamed when the mention wanting to use formula.


  • I formula fed. I honestly believe i wouldn’t have gotten through the first six months without it.

    Its one thing to encourage and give women ALL the help to breastfeed, but on the other hand there is no help or support at all for formula feeding.
    Its awful that this situation went on so long. Its disgusting that her husband was given a lesser sentence because he works too much and didn’t spend as much time with the baby. Its still his child! He’s just as responsible as her, if not more so because his judgment is less clouded by hormones and exhaustion than hers.
    We are so lucky to live in a country where how you feed a baby is a choice. Women need to be supported and encouraged however they feed their babies.


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