Sunday, February 02, 2003

Yahoo! News - Babies' Mental Delay Tied to Moms' Vegan Diet Yahoo! News,

By Alison McCook,

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) -

"The breast-fed infants of two mothers who did not eat any animal products, including milk and eggs, developed brain abnormalities as a result of a vitamin-B12 deficiency, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news - web sites) (CDC) reported Thursday.

The primary sources of vitamin B12, which is essential for brain development, are animal products like meat, dairy products and eggs. Since the mothers ate little or no animal products, too little vitamin B12 was transmitted to their children through breast milk, according to the CDC's Dr. Maria Elena Jefferds.

[This is the second big news in recent years on how diet while breastfeeding can affect a baby's health outcome (the first one was widespread coverage of omega 3 deficiencies in diet contributing to low levels of dha in breast milk.) Should breastfeeding mothers be advised to eat a healthy diet? Women are currently told it doesn't really matter what they eat, the body will still produce optimum nutrition for baby (although their health may suffer). Maybe we should rethink our health promotion goals and use the time of pregnancy *and breastfeeding* as an opportunity to counsel women on healthy eating for themselves and for their children. Women are highly motivated at this time to do the best for their babies. It's a great time to plug nutritional practices that can translate into healthy eating for the whole family - for life. - JC]

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