Mum shares tragic warning after breastfed baby dies

Jane Richards
March 5, 2017

This way you know your baby has eaten enough.

Her piece, titled "If I had given him just one bottle, he would still be alive", has been shared more than 1,900 times since it was posted on Facebook on Feb 25. Instead, her baby died.

A mother's love: Jillian Johnson and baby Landon.

Less than a month later, he was dead.

Five years ago, Jillian Johnson tragically lost her baby boy Landon and in a recent blog post on Fed is Best, Jillian shares her tale, in the hope other mothers might be helped by her tragic loss.

His fearless mum Jillian has struggled with sharing the details of her son's death, fearing she would be judged.

Woozy from her recent surgery and unsure as a first-time mom, Jillian asked her nurses if it was normal that her son was eating all the time. Jillian would want all mothers to take these advices to heart and implement them with the help of their own doctors while using their discretions here and there.

The birth of her daughter was another moment when Jillian realized how she'd been misled after her son's birth- her daughter ate and slept like she was supposed to. What this means is everything is geared toward breastfeeding.

Landon was born at a "baby-friendly" hospital that discouraged feeding babies formula without a medical reason and prescription.

But despite suckling on her breast at nearly all hours of the day and nurses proclaiming that he "had a great latch and was doing fine", Landon cried nearly all of the time, said Jillian.

"The lactation consultants would come in and say that "he had a great latch and was doing fine" but there was one who mentioned I may have a problem producing milk".

After the surgery, Jillian's doctors told her that she had polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition which could hamper the woman's ability to breastfeed her child. "She recommended some herbs for me to take when I got out of the hospital". To educate new moms, she took up the courage to share how her son Landon, died a few days after birth as she attempted to exclusively rely on breastfeeding as his source of nourishment. Jillian remembered hearing about cluster feeding in her antenatal classes, and she trusted her healthcare providers, so she continued to breastfeed Landon. And cried. All the time. I kept asking the nurses what was wrong with her. "I've learned I have to be my child's number one advocate", wrote Jillian. "And it was then that I realized that it wasn't normal for a newborn to cry as much as Landon did". Johnson wrote. "They're supposed to eat and sleep and dirty their diapers". Due to this anomaly, Jillian couldn't produce enough milk to fill up baby Landon's belly. The baby, however, was always crying and inconsolable after breastfeeding, and he rarely wet or soiled his diapers. Weight loss, jaundice and weakened vital signs should also be considered warning signs that a child isn't receiving enough food from breastfeeding alone.

The mum was concerned about the constant feeds and crying, but was told her son was latching well and was "cluster feeding". If a mother's colostrum does not meet the child's caloric requirement, they will breastfeed for hours a day in an attempt to relieve their hunger.

Baby Landon had suffered severe dehydration and died of cardiac arrest a few days after its birth.

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".

"But I didn't know. If only I could go back in time".

Just 12 hours after Landon came home, he was found unresponsive and without a pulse, according to Fed Is Best. He was given CPR on the way to the hospital, but had no blood pressure and was hypothermic. The Nazareth home take in women who are expecting mothers and have no capacity to raise a child due to varied socio-economic reasons. An MRI scan showed that he had a brain injury as a result of oxygen deprivation.

Jillian wrote: "I still have many, many days of guilt and questions - what if I would have just given him a bottle? And anger because how would I have known", Johnson confessed.

"I remember when Stella was born, she was always quiet".

Other reports by VgToday

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