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.