Mother shares heartbreaking warning about breastfeeding: 'If I had given him just one bottle, he would still be alive.'
A mother whose baby died after she breastfed him is speaking out about a serious problem she wants fellow moms to be aware of on what would have been her son's 5th birthday.
"I wanted to share for a long time about what happened to Landon, but I always feared what others would say and how I'd be judged," Jillian Johnson wrote. "I share his story in hopes that no other family ever experiences the loss that we have."
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"Jarrod and I wanted what was best for Landon as every parent does for their child," Johnson said in a blog post for Fed Is Best, a non-profit organization of parents and health professionals focused on infant feeding. "We took all of the classes. Bought and read all of the books. We were ready!
But Johnson wasn't ready for what followed.
Landon was always hungry, wanted to feed constantly and cried whenever Johnson removed him from her breast, she explained.
"Landon cried. And cried. All the time. He cried unless he was on the breast and I began to nurse him continuously," Johnson explained. "When I asked [the nurses] why he was always on my breast, I was told it was because he was 'cluster feeding.'"
Cluster feeding, also known as bunch feeding, is when babies bunch their nursings close together at certain times of the day. It's not abnormal behavior for infants.
But cluster feeding didn't explain the constant crying, and Johnson didn't find out why he was crying until it was too late.
He was starving to death.
Johnson had been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, which meant her breast milk wasn't nourishing Landon.
Lactation consultants recommended herbs for Johnson to take, but continued to encourage her to exclusively breastfeed her fussy baby.
"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," Johnson said.
"Nobody is educating mothers how to prevent this," Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, a co-founder of Fed Is Best, told CBS News. "We have a national health crisis. 'Baby-friendly' protocol is unsafe and barbaric."
"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," Johnson wrote. "If I had given him just one bottle, he would still be alive."