A breastfeeding mother was put on a water only diet by a NSW naturopath as a treatment to help cure her baby’s eczema.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the naturopath, Marilyn Pauline Bodnar, from Leppington, pleaded not guilty to recklessly causing grievous bodily harm to the eight-month-old and failing to provide for a child causing danger of death in Fairfield Local Court yesterday.

From February to April last year Marilyn, 59, treated the mother, who came to her to help cure her newborn son of eczema.  She allegedly convinced the mother, who cannot be identified, that the only way to help the baby was to adopt a diet of raw vegetables, fruit and seeds.

After a period of time, Police allege that Marilyn convinced the mother alleged by praying on her insecurities, that the only way to cure the baby’s skin condition was for the breastfeeding mother to adopt a water only diet.  When the child progressed to the age of six months, at the enquiry of the mother asking if she could progress to vegetable puree, Marilyn advised the mother to put raw food in a net and let the infant suck it.  She also advised the mother to feed the child goat milk.

The child began vomiting regularly and Marilyn allegedly told the mother that this was a good thing as it was eliminated the toxins that caused the eczema.  After a week of continual vomiting, the mother eventually took the baby to a doctor, who advised her to take the infant to the hospital immediately.

When the baby was admitted to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead he weighed 6.39kg, placing him in the zero percentile for baby boys his age.  The court has heard before the diet, the baby was developing normally and reaching his milestones.

Marilyn has been banned from treating anyone under the age of 16.  The case will return to court on March 23.

The baby has been removed from his mother’s care and the mother has been charged with the same offences as Marilyn.  She is yet to enter a plea in court.


We may get commissions for purchases made using links in this post. Learn more.
  • Glad that woman isn’t practising under 16s, but it sounds like she shouldn’t be at all! The mother clearly didn’t follow her gut instinct either. What a mess. Poor bub.


  • I have great respect for the work most Naturopath’s do, like any profession sometimes mistakes are made and other times it is a case of stupidity, neglect, self – righteous belief in one’s abilities even though it seriously compromises another person’s life. In this case I believe that the treating Naturopath was in the wrong and it should be seriously questioned if she should practice at all.


  • A naturopath isn’t someone I would take advice from as being fact. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. This mother must lack a bit of common sense to listen to this extent. You would see that your by is losing weight / not gaining properly and do something prior to now :-(


  • Oh how sad, couldnt the mum see that this was not right…heard of second opinions!!!


  • Extremely sad for the child to have such a terrible start to life.


  • This innocent very ill baby could possibly have vital organ damage too.
    Many Mums swap to Goats Milk if other types have serious side-effects on their baby. It is used for those with lactose intolerance. (incidentally it is in very short supply in some areas – definitely in northern Qld)
    Could not the mum see that her baby was rapidly losing weight? He would have been permanently hungry from receiving little or no nourishment. He possibly had very little energy to suck anything.


  • I have no trust in naturopaths. When I was a teenager I was suffering with anorexia. I was put on some potions and an even more restrictive diet that ended in me having to be hospitalised. More harm than good

    • Poor you – how awful. I have heard many mixed reports about naturopaths.


  • Lke nt


  • The naturopath should be banned from practicing. That poor baby.


  • Police should charge this so called Natruapath with child abuse how could this mother go along with a water only diet for her child what a irresponsible thing to do to your own child


  • Am left wondering why family or friends did not bring this mom to her senses.
    Do pray bub will recover well and thrive in life.


  • oh wow that is really sad. didn’t that mother start to worry when he child was losing weight?


  • Both women really let that poor child down. I hope the little one develops normally and isn’t permanently impacted by the stupidity of these people.


  • I think this mum is very naive but I don’t believe she meant her child any harm. I’m glad she finally took the child to a doctor and then the hospital, and I hope the little boy makes a full recovery.


  • How awful, especially when she probably just wanted to get advice on how to make small changes in her diet to help prevent bub from getting flare ups and was given such stupid advice


Post a comment
Like Facebook page

LIKE MoM on Facebook

Please enter your comment below
Would you like to include a photo?
No picture uploaded yet.
Please wait to see your image preview here before hitting the submit button.
Your MoM account

Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your comment and join MoM:

You May Like


Looks like this may be blocked by your browser or content filtering.

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating