Jillian Johnson, a mother who lost her newborn son five years ago, has finally gathered the courage to share her story: her baby unintentionally starved to death during breastfeeding.
Only The Best For Baby Landon
Before her son's arrival, Johnson and her husband had prepared everything. They attended classes, read books, and even chose a "baby-friendly" hospital — which supported breastfeeding — the way expecting couples do, to give their child the best care.
Johnson had given birth to Landon, a full-term 7.7 pound healthy baby boy in the hospital, but the baby acted strange. He always stayed for longer hours of breastfeeding.
When Johnson asked the nurses about it, she was told that it was because of his cluster feeding, which happens when a baby bunches his or her nursings closer together at certain times of the day.
However, Landon's strange behavior went on. Johnson continuously nursed the baby lest he cry incessantly.
The medical consultant on lactation explained to Johnson that her polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition where imbalance in sex hormones causes difficulty in women to lactate, was the reason why she was producing less milk. The expert advised Johnson to take some herbs.
Johnson was then discharged and took Landon home, but after 12 hours of being home, the baby experienced a fatal cardiac arrest from dehydration, despite Johnson nursing him.
Breast Milk vs Milk Formula?
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, United Nations Children's Fund, and American Academy of Pediatrics believe in the advantages that babies receive from breastfeeding. These benefits include a nutritionally well-balanced diet and protection against common childhood illnesses, such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and influenza.
Breastfeeding also has helpful effects on the mother's health, namely, a decrease in blood loss postpartum, improved post-delivery healing, better weight loss, and enhanced emotional health through mother-baby interaction.
Breast Is Best But Follow With A Bottle
If a mother has had breast enhancement, or a serious medical condition prevented her from breastfeeding, then she can opt for formula milk for her baby, but only upon prescription by a pediatrician.
Given all these pointers about how best to feed a child, however, Johnson may have received the greatest advice too late.
"Sure, breast is best but follow with the bottle. This way you know your baby has eaten enough," said Johnson.
Previous studies on breastfeeding would prove breast milk is better in many respects than milk formula, but the tragic case of Johnson and baby Landon suggests an exception.
This is an eye-opener for expecting parents, and could spur further studies on the subject of breastfeeding.
"I share his story in hopes that no other family ever experiences the loss that we have," Johnson said.