Baby Diagnosed With Scurvy Because Of Almond-Based Formula

March 1, 2016
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During his first year of life, your baby’s nutrition is a bit more complicated than simply choosing between breast milk or formula — as one set of parents learned the hard way.

According to the journal Pediatrics, doctors in Spain have discovered a case involving an 11-month-old baby boy who ended up with an 18th-century disease — scurvy. This infant had severe vitamin C deficiency because his parents fed him only an almond-milk-based formula since age 3 months.

So how could something like this happen to well-meaning parents?

The baby boy actually did drink traditional cow’s milk formula for the first few months of his life. But because of a skin condition, his doctor recommended the switch to a formula that was made from almond flour, almond milk, and a combination of cereals, probiotics and sesame powder. Unfortunately, the new formula didn’t contain vitamin C, which resulted in bone degeneration and fractures. The boy’s condition was so bad that he screamed every time someone attempted to move his legs.

“This case demonstrates that scurvy is a new and severe complication of improper use of almond drinks in the first year of life,” the researchers wrote. “Plant-based beverages are not a complete food and they may not replace breastfeeding or infant formula.”

Thankfully, the baby boy was diagnosed and switched to a proper diet. His symptoms began to subside, and he was even able to walk two months later.

According to (which outlines the recommendations made by the American Academy of Pediatrics,) an infant can generally begin eating solid food — in addition to appropriate formula or breast milk — between ages 4 to 6 months, when he meets the follow criteria:

    1. He has doubled his birth weight.
    2. He can sit in a high chair with good head control.
    3. He can move food from a spoon into his throat.
    4. He seems eager to be fed, reaches for food and watches others eating.

These first foods should be introduced one at a time, and parents should wait at least two to three days before starting another. (This allows you to observe if particular foods have caused any adverse reactions — such as a rash, allergic reaction, vomiting or diarrhea.) Although the specific order of first foods doesn’t matter so much, many parents traditionally opt to lead with single-grain cereals.

To learn even more about introducing solids to your baby, visit, and be sure to discuss your baby’s nutritional needs and any concerns with your pediatrician.

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