The amazing life of a parent is truly something else. Cradling your new child in your arms is one of the most unbelievable experiences, and is one that profoundly changes your life.
Our natural inclination is to love and care for our babies with all our heart. Parents do all that they can to make sure they have prepared themselves for the day they welcome a new child into the world.
For one set of parents, despite all the love in the world and many long nights of preparation, things took a tragic and unfortunate turn. Now they are sharing their story on social media in the hope that their tragedy doesn’t happen to anyone else again.
First-time mom Jillian Johnson and her husband could not have been more thrilled to find out they were pregnant. They did all that they could to get ready for the arrival of their son, Landon, and read up on all parenting best habits.
Landon was born completely healthy but just a few short days later, the unimaginable happened: Landon passed away suddenly from a cardiac arrest. Doctors said it was the result of dehydration.
It has taken Jillian five years to gather the courage to tell this story, but she wants to make it public so other moms will be warned.
In a blog post, the devastated mother described how she accidentally starved her baby to death.
“We were ready! Or so we thought…. Every class and book was geared toward breastfeeding and how it’s so important if you want a healthy child. Landon was born in a ‘Baby-Friendly’ hospital. (What this means is everything is geared toward breastfeeding. Unless you’d had a breast augmentation or cancer or some serious medical reason as to why you couldn’t breastfeed, your baby would not be given formula unless a prescription was written by the pediatrician.)
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.”
But it didn’t seem to matter how much she fed Landon – he would still cry. Jillian actually him for around nine hours on his very first day in the world, which is what nurses referred to as cluster feeding. In spite of this, it just felt he was not getting enough milk as evidenced by his crying. And in fact, he wasn’t.
Jillian was actually unknowingly starving her baby.
It turns out that Jillian had not been creating enough ‘colostrum’ in her body, which is a thick, concentrated fluid that is often golden in color and typically comes in during late pregnancy. While vary rare, some women don’t produce enough colostrum in the first couple of days after childbirth.
“The best advice I was given by 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,” Jillian wrote.
Pediatrician Rachel Prete with said she suggests moms look out for colostrum as evidence that the baby is being properly fed.
“Moms should be able to hand-express some colostrum. A minimum of a teaspoon (or 5 milliliters) per feeding is enough,” she said.
Take a look at a moving memorial slideshow of tiny Landon below.