State tries to take infant from mother for feeding him vegan formula

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida mother and her infant are reunited after five months apart.

Sarah Markham lost custody of her son when he was just 12 days old because she refused a doctor’s order to seek medical treatment for the boy.

Doctors said the baby lost 10 percent of his birth weight within his first two weeks of life.

Instead of following the doctor’s orders to go straight to the hospital, she bought the boy vegan formula.

Markham is vegan and believes in a holistic approach to healing.

“I’m just so excited , ecstatic about getting him back,” she said. “This whole thing was a nightmare and I can go back to being a new mom and bonding with him. I am just very happy.”

Baby Caleb has been raised by his grandparents ever since.

“There’s no case, there’s no abuse, there’s no neglect, there’s simply a doctor who has been challenged by a mother and he didn’t like it,” Bo Markham said, the child’s grandfather.

Wednesday, a judge agreed and threw out Seminole County Child Protective Services’ claims that Markham is unfit to care for her son.

Markham said Caleb is now 17 pounds and he is still on the same diet.

“He’s still on a soy formula, he’s been on it, he likes it,” she said. “He’s doing well, he’s growing healthy and I can’t ask for anything more.”


  • miles (dave)

    im thinking no crime was done here as far as i can tell. sure the loosing weight was a yellow flat but then its also important to know what was the weight at birth to know how bad the childs loosing weight was if at all.

    also i dont know much about vegans but im sure most of them could put up quite the case promoting the good health benefits of being vegan and the fact you can buy vegan formula makes me think it must meet the health standards and i would guess one of those standards would be nutrition based.

    • Author Alys B. Cohen

      No, it’s not . Losing up to 15% of body weight in the first week or two after birth is actually expected as a baby’s body adults from nutrients through the womb to nutrients through breastmilk, or from a can (which isn’t exactly holistic since it’s an artificial replacement for a natural substance). About 10% is completely normal. Odd as it may seem, losing no weight at all if more concerning than losing 10%.

      • miles (dave)

        thank you very much for your reply. in that case it looks like the article is misleading. its tempting to believe the mother wasnt doing somthing right due to the lost weight. but it thats normal then was there anything wrong with what this mother did.

  • Author Alys B. Cohen

    Vegan diets for babies and young children have a lot of potential to go very wrong since it an be a struggle for even vegan adults to get all the nutrients they need (and I wonder if that all-natural mother even thought about natural breastfeeding, which IS vegan), but there’s a discrepancy. She says she believes in holistic approaches to medicine (let’s hope her son never needs major medical care). Why did she a doctor instead of a midwife? Midwives see the mothers and babies for a while after birth. I had a midwife, so know, and part of my reason for going with a midwife was not wanting to have to deal with this or that being pushed on to me. Why did she go with a hospital birth? Yes, that’s what happened, or else a doctor wouldn’t have been doing the well-baby check yet.

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