Five years ago Jillian Johnson welcomed a healthy baby boy into the world via an emergency c-section.
After around two hours, little Landon had latched perfectly onto his mother’s breast and began breastfeeding. Everything seemed normal.
“Jarrod and I wanted what was best for Landon as every parent does for their child,” writes Jillian in a blog post for FedIsBest.
“We took all of the classes. Bought and read all of the books. 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.”
Nurses and lactation consultants had pointed out that Jillian’s PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) may cause her to not produce as much milk but, despite this, she was still encouraged to exclusively breastfeed.
Jillian says Landon would not stop crying unless he was on the breast, so she nursed him continuously, what the nurses described as “cluster feeding”.
“I trusted my doctors and nurses to help me through this – even more so since I was pretty heavily medicated from my emergency c-section and this was my first baby,” says Jillian.
“But I was wrong. I’ve learned I have to be my child’s number one advocate.”
Despite feeding for longer and longer each day, Landon’s weight was plummeting.
In just over two days since he was born he had lost over 9% of his body weight, even though he had spent nearly half that time at Jillian’s breast.
"I had no idea that he was inconsolable because he was starving – literally."
Only 12 hours after being sent home from hospital, Landon went into cardiac arrest caused by dehydration.
He was rushed to hospital and placed in NICU. Two weeks later he was taken off of life support.
“I still have many, many days of guilt and questions – what if I would’ve just given him a bottle? And anger because how would I have known.”
Jillian says she still struggles daily but that by sharing her story hopes Landon’s death won’t be in vain.
The Fed is Best Foundation is dedicated to the prevention of newborn and infant starvation from insufficient exclusive breastfeeding.
Their message is “Feed your baby. Feed them as much as they need to stay safe and satisfied. Only they know what they need."
This article first published on marie claire.