Child Abuse

Woman Arrested for Feeding a Baby Only Fruit and Nuts

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A Pennsylvania woman has been arrested for child endangerment after her “extreme views on nutrition” allegedly led her to feed her baby a seriously restrictive diet of only small amounts of fruit and nuts.

According to CBS, Elizabeth Hawk’s 11-month-old son was severely malnourished when his father brought him to the hospital with concerns about his development. The couple is described as “estranged,” and the baby was living with his mother. The father was concerned about the baby’s development, though, and with good reason. The baby allegedly had a severe rash and was exhibiting signs of developmental delays. The baby’s aunt says he couldn’t use his hands at all, even at 11 months old.

The mother said that the baby just had food allergies and that was why he had a rash, but the hospital said the baby was suffering from severe malnourishment, allegedly because the mother was restricting his food and giving him only small amounts of fruit and nuts.

According to the baby’s aunt, the mother was “obsessed” with dietary restrictions.

“She was going to live on water and sunlight,” the aunt told reporters.

Oh dear. If that’s true, it sounds like the mother is a “breatharian,” which is a diet no adult should ever try and no child should ever be forced into, because it’s not so much a diet as a pseudoscientific delusion that is nothing more than a fast ticket to malnourishment or worse.

Breatharians think human beings can survive on water and sunlight like plants. They eat as little as possible, with the end goal of weaning themselves from food entirely and just living off of water and sunlight. That is obviously not possible, because human beings are not plants and do not have chlorophyll. That means they cannot get energy from sunlight. Anyone who has graduated fifth grade should know that photosynthesis is just for plants.

Even if Hawk did believe that she could train herself to give up food, it should have been obvious that this was not working for her baby. He was suffering from medical issues that a physician at the hospital called “inhumane,” and it sounds like this was going on for months and months. It’s lucky that the father finally did notice and take action, because it sounds like Hawk could have let this go on indefinitely.

The couple has two other children, and all three were sent home with their father. The baby is reportedly now doing much better now that he’s actually being fed.

Elizabeth Hawk has been released on her own recognizance, but no court date has yet been set.