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b-12 difiecient baby

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Our baby was recently diagnosed with B-12 deficiency. I had been a whole foods vegan for 7 years and in the year before her birth ate a large proportion of my food uncooked. As a result of this, now corrected, deficiency she is developmentally delayed especially in her receptive and expressive speech.

She is two now. The diagnosis was made one year ago. I know of one other case in my area. Raw and vegan diets are on the rise in the U.S. and this could be a problem for too many parents and children. I took no vitamin tablet only B-12 fortified yeast as well as algae and seaweed foods. My blood work looked fine but apparently I did not pass sufficient B-12 to my daughter. I'm hoping to pass this along so others can avoid the problem in the future and to get some feed back on how others handled this.

My baby's symptoms were vomiting, tiredness, loose joints, low muscle tone, refusal to eat other than breastmilk, and stagnated weight gain. Her blood work showed macrocytic anemia.
Not the picture of health I anticipated my presumed healthy eating would create.
Please let me know if you have similar issues.
post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

Further information on B-12 issue

Just Wondering, We have doe extensive research into this issue of how b-12 deficiences occur. We have spoken to doctors around the country and found numerous research papers at the Emory Medical library. We have consulted varied nutritionists and have found an incredibly diverse range of opinions as you might suspect.

We have taken all the pieces of this puzzle together and modified our diets and added numerous supplements. I have added occasional salmon to my diet and no longer consider myself a member of one eating cult. I do continue to eat the bulk of my food in its whole form and we do not consume any thing with additives or anything that has been radically processed.
I have three other children who all seemed to thrive on a vegetarian diet for years. The oldest is 11. My 6 year old was exclusively vegetarian for 4 years. They all consume animal foods occassionally now.

Mia eats fish once a week (occassionaly in high grade sushi form), red meat once a month, and turkey and chicken every other week. She is not eating dairy, wheat, or legumes and nuts at this point because we suspect they played a part in the hives and siezures she had last year. She eats a wide range of organic fruits and vegetables both raw and cooked. She takes a DHA supplement, Omega oils, Sublingual B-12, a multivitamin, and acidopilus regularly and several things more intermittently.

She went from being a tired baby with suspected anemia to a diagnosis of severe B-12 def. and macrocytic anemia ( No apparent folic acid issue). Her iron was also low. We initally gave her 2 shots of B-12 which turned her into a sleepless hyper baby and then eventually as treatment continued she started having a persisent arm tremor and siezures. It was recommended that we put her on pheno. But we did not and were threatened with social services for declining to follow doctors orders. She has had no siezures since Decmeber when her b-12 levels finally went down form their astronomical levels to a more normal reading. We stopped shots after the fifth one. She was tested for genetic issues and for intrinsic factor problems and none were revealed. I was tested for prenicious anemia and blood abnormalities and all was normal. However, I have read that this can be the case and still I could be passing insufficient B-12 through my milk and even in utero.

After a month of "in and out of the hospital" for various complications, Mia was not able to move, or sit up, smile or babble. It was awful. We have worked with her and had therapy both nutritionally and physically. She has made amazing progress. Currently she has speech, occupational, and physical therapy three times a week outside of what we do at home. We are looking into starting a more intensive speech therapy program for her involving specific drills. She has no words at 2 years and 3 mos old. She does understand two step requests.
She is an avid climber and has great balance.

The other child we know here with this issue is not speaking at four years old. This is why we have decided to pick up the pace or her therapy. His mother was diagnosed with pernicious anemia
and she was a strict vegan.

At this point we just want to get the word out about how critical nutrition is. I do not claim to have the exclusive anwers in that area and I have not encountered anyone who I feel does. As so much else in life it appears to be an individual issue. But taken all together we can do our best as parents to avoid these kinds of problems. It is all about knowledge, intent, and balance. I do want to say though that I strongly encourage B-12, folic acid, iron and Vit. C supplementation for all pregnant and nursing moms. This, of course, comes from my personal experiences.

We also want to find out if there are other parents out there who have faced this issue and what steps they have taken.

Thanks for taking the time to reply and I will look up the references that you pointed out. Also, I love to hear more detail on what yoy faced with your baby.
post #3 of 8
Thanks, Elizabeth, for putting the word out. This hasn't affected our family, but I remember years ago, I knew a LLL leader whose baby was diagnosed with a B-12 deficiency. The mother was deficient as well. (They were vegans). I remember the baby was between one and two when I knew her and was refusing food, wasn't talking, had delayed physical development, and lost all her hair. This baby responded well to the B-12 shots and grew back her hair and began walking and talking although she still seemed behind other babies her age. The mother's 3 older children were all fine.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Name/Phone of Parent with B-12 Deficient Baby

Thanks so much for telling me about the LLL with the B-12 deficient baby. I would really love to get in touch with her and discuss more specifics of her situation. Can you provide me with a name, location, and phone number or address? Or with the name of another person who can give me this info? It would mean so much to me to trade notes with her.
Thanks again.
post #5 of 8
Bissy, I'll PM you.
post #6 of 8
I'm so sorry to hear of this! It must be an awful thing to deal with.

Forgive my ignorance on this issue- I'm not well read when it comes to nutritional topics . . .Is there any reason why a strict vegan would not give their babies/children vitamin drops? Just curious.

We have been giving our dd 1/2 to 1 dropper full of PolyViSol since she was 5 mos. old. There are some days where she surives on milk and animal crackers so it just makes me feel better that she's getting some vitamins at least.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

why no vitamin drops

I know of other vegans who do not believe that supplementation is important. But rather that eating a whole foods varied diet would provide all nutrition needed. I used minimal supplementation usually in whole food form. And assumed at the time that she recieved what she needed from my breastmilk, which seemed to be the case with my other three children. However, Mia has other issues: malabsorption, allergies, and PDD possibly Autistic Spectrum Disorder. How all things fit to together and which preceeded or caused which other we may never know. However, from my research I have come upon enough B-12 Deficiency cases to warrant trying to get Mia's story out there and strongly encourge B-12 supplementation in vitamin form.
Thanks for your interest
post #8 of 8
Thanks for the info Elisabeth! I agree that bm and food should ideally contain the proper nutrition, but most toddlers are picky eaters. I myself try to eat balanced meals but have not researched all the details of being veg and food combos and all that, so take a multivitamin just in case.

I just looked at PolyViSol after making my post and found that it has no B12 in it anyway, but does have iron and other things. I started giving it when I stopped pumping just because I didn't entirely trust the formula. KWIM? I also just started giving my dd the gummy bear vitamins from Trader Joes and they *do* have B12 in them, but no iron. I know, the bears contain gelatin but I just choose to ignore that little fact in the favor of the advantages they have. I'll be glad when she's old enough to take the tranditional chewables.

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