A breastfeeding mum whose child ‘was near to death’ after she drank only water avoids jail time

The naturopath who advised her diet change yet to face court.

A Sydney mum who breastfed her baby while on a ‘water-only’ diet has avoided imprisonment despite her son almost dying of starvation.

The court heard that the 18-month-old boy suffered terribly from eczema and when conventional remedies had no effect, his mother – who cannot be identified – turned to naturopath Marilyn Bodnar for advice.

Police allege the mother, a trained midwife who was exclusively breastfeeding her son, was advised by Bodnar to eat only raw food, and eventually take ‘water only’.

When the baby boy was taken to hospital in May 2015 he was reportedly ‘days away from death’ and showed symptoms of dehydration and malnutrition.

Lawyer for the defence, Richard Kouchoo, says the mother was desperate to ease her son’s discomfort, and was herself victim to ‘opportunistic’ Bodnar.

Magistrate Ian Guy, meanwhile, said the case ‘demonstrates a serious example against [the mother’s] training and against the telltale signs which would have been blindingly obvious to anyone.’

The mother has been given a 14-month good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to failing to provide for her child. In handing down the sentence Mr Guy said the offending was ‘deeply concerning’.

Bodnar has been charged with reckless grievous bodily harm.

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