A 7-month-old baby died after his parents fed him only gluten-free and lactose-free foods, including quinoa milk, the New York Post reported.
The child’s Belgian parents self-diagnosed him with an array of food allergies, but never sought a medical professional’s opinion before deciding on his diet, according to the newspaper.
“The parents determined their own diagnosis that their child was gluten intolerant and had a lactose allergy,” lawyers said in court during the trial for the child’s 2014 death, the Independent reported. “Not a single doctor had a dossier about Lucas and child protection services did not know about them.”
At the time of his death, baby Lucas weighed fewer than 10 pounds, which is only half the size of an average baby his age. An autopsy later found that his stomach was completely empty when he died, and his official cause of death was dehydration and malnutrition, according to the New York Post.
In court, the child’s parents said that they never took him to a doctor because they didn’t notice that anything was wrong with him. His mother said that sometimes Lucas would gain a little weight and then lose it, and that his parents thought such weight fluctuations were normal. They eventually took him to a homeopathic doctor, who insisted that they take him to a real hospital. By the time they did, it was too late. The hospital pronounced him dead on arrival.
In addition to quinoa milk, Lucas’ parents fed him oat milk, rice milk, buckwheat milk and semolina milk from the natural foods store they own, according to the Independent. While doctors warn that such a diet will not sustain an infant that age, the parents’ lawyer argued that wasn’t the case and that Lucas died for another reason.
“Lucas had an eating disorder. He got cramps when he was fed with a bottle, and his parents tried out alternatives,” the couple’s attorney, Karine Van Meirvenne, said, according to the Daily Mail.
The parents’ trial began this week. Each faces up to 18 months in prison for contributing to the infant’s death.