These unsuspecting parents didn’t think twice about the simple task that could’ve saved their son’s life. Now, this grieving mother is speaking out so that no family ever experiences the horrifying grief of losing their newborn.
Most women hope and dream of all the ways they can provide for their child and give them the best life they can. Of course the fathers do too, but there are just some things they can’t provide. Take breastfeeding for an example. For so long it’s been called “beautiful” and “life-giving”, but it’s quite controversial these days.
For some, breastfeeding is a natural part of becoming a mother. But for others, it’s just simply not a part of their journey. Neither is wrong or to be looked down on, but the majority of mothers don’t know the facts behind breastfeeding. And some mommies struggle to produce adequate breastmilk.
Now, one sweet mama by the name of Jill is boldly speaking out about her horrifying experience with breastfeeding after the death of her her son, Landon. Jill hopes that by sharing her story, other mothers will recognize the signs and prevent the incomprehensible tragedy of losing a child.
Shortly after giving birth to Landon, Jill expressed her concerns about her lactation. Even still, her lactation specialist as well as her doctors encouraged her to exclusively breastfeed.
“Landon was on my breast – ALL OF THE TIME. The lactation consultants would come in and see that ‘he had a great latch and was doing fine’ but there was one who mentioned I may have a problem producing milk. The reason she gave was because I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and it was just harder for women with hormone imbalances to produce milk. She recommended some herbs for me to take when I got out of the hospital.”
Throughout their stay at the hospital, Landon was constantly feeding and when he wasn’t he cried nonstop. Jill was concerned, but she trusted the doctors and nurses caring. By the baby’s second day of life, he was nursing continuously totaling 14 hours.
Despite the constant feeding, Landon had lost 4.75% of his birth weight. Weight loss after birth is normal, but by 52 hours of life Jill’s son was down 9.72%.
Sweet Landon just wasn’t getting enough milk because his mama couldn’t produce the nutrients he so desperately needed. The sad thing is, because she wasn’t pumping, Jill had no way of knowing that she wasn’t producing.
After being in the hospital for 64 hours, Landon lost a total of 9.7% of his birth weight and was strictly breastfeeding. Jill was told that babies can lose up to 10% of their weight after birth and was encouraged to simply keep trying.
“So we took him home….not knowing that after less than 12 hours home with us, he would have gone into cardiac arrest caused by dehydration. And the best advice I was given by one of his NICU doctors while he was on life support is sure breast is best, but follow with the bottle. This way you know your baby has eaten enough….if only I could go back in time.”
Landon continued to breastfeed after his arrival at home. But everything took a tragic turn for the worse during one of his feeds when he suddenly turned blue, lost his pulse, and became unresponsive.
The terrified parents immediately called 911. In route to the ER there was no heart rate and the paramedics performed CPR. Upon the arrival of the hospital, the baby was found to be hypothermic and there was still no heart activity so they chose to put him on the ventilator. He was soon after diagnosed with hypernatremic dehydration and cardiac arrest from hypovolemic shock.
His medical report stated:
“Landon received a brain MRI in the hospital which confirmed brain injury consistent with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy or brain injury from oxygen deprivation due to low blood pressure from dehydration and cardiac arrest. He was diagnosed with diffuse seizure activity on EEG, the consequence of severe, wide-spread brain injury. Given his poor prognosis, he was taken off life support 15 days later. The autopsy report deemed the causes of death were hypernatremic dehydration followed by cardiac arrest causing hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (diffuse brain injury).”
The mother grievingly shared, “That little boy gave me ten of the most incredibly life changing months. I’ve been humbled. Challenged. My relationships have fallen apart. Some have come back together. I’ve learned forgiveness. And the true meaning of “life is short.” I love hard – to a fault. But I couldn’t live with myself knowing his death was in vain. I’ve learned so many lessons. I’ve learned the true meaning of compassion and unconditional love.”
Though the Johnson family has faced this difficult time, they now have 2 beautiful girls have a learned a new found love.
Studies have shown:
“As many as 15% of women will have difficulty producing enough breastmilk to fully nourish a child. Alison Stuebe, MD of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has acknowledged that as many as 1 in 7 first time mothers suffers delayed onset of breastmilk production leaving their newborns in need of supplementation with formula in order to survive the first few days without suffering severe hunger, possible dehydration and even death.”
This heart broken mother is sharing her story so that all moms can prevent this tragedy and be aware of the dangers of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is not bad, it just needs to be understood that due to circumstance, it’s not always the wisest thing for you and your baby.
If ever in doubt remember these four words: FOLLOW WITH A BOTTLE. If this heartbreaking story helped you better understand the hard facts about breastfeeding please share — by doing so, you could safe a life!