A New South Wales naturopath allegedly put a breastfeeding mother on a raw food diet to cure her baby’s eczema before putting her on a water only diet.
Marilyn Pauline Bodnar, who runs the the Health and Vitality Centre from her Leppington home, 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 at Fairfield Local Court yesterday, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The baby’s mother has been charged with the same offences but is yet to enter a plea.
From February to April last year Bodnar, 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.
The court heard the mother was “intimidated by the accused” and made to feel guilty for using steroid creams to treat the eczema “as it was best to use nothing to allow the skin to breathe”.
Bodnar allegedly told the mother “Are you 100 per cent raw? You have to be 100 per cent raw if you want to see your son heal.”
Police allege that when the baby developed a fever Bodnar told the mother to adopt a water only diet, telling her that her baby would not get better if she ate.
When the child was six months old his mother asked Bodnar if she could feed him vegetable puree but the naturopath allegedly advised her to put raw food in a net and let the infant suck it.
Bodnar is also accused of telling the mother to feed the child goat milk.
When the child vomited it up Bodnar allegedly told the mother it was good because it eliminated the toxins that caused the eczema.
After a week of vomiting the mother took the baby to a doctor who advised her to get the infant to 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.
Before the diet the baby was developing normally and reaching his milestones, the court heard.
The baby has been removed from his mother’s care.
Bodnar is on bail but has been banned from treating anyone under 16.
The case will return to court on March 23.