If I Had Given Him Just One Bottle, He Would Still Be Alive.

by Jillian Johnson with commentary from Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi

Landon would be five today if he were still alive. It’s a very hard birthday–five. It’s a milestone birthday. Most kiddos would be starting kindergarten at this age. But not my little guy. 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. But I want people to know how much deeper the pain gets.

I share his story in hopes that no other family ever experiences the loss that we have.

Jarrod and I wanted what was best for Landon as every parent does for their child. 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. 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.)

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To Baby-Friendly Hospital Caregivers, “It is Better to Be Safe Than Sorry,” Mom Urges After 3-Day-Old’s Dehydration

About two days after initial discharge from her Indiana birth hospital, my three-day-old baby was admitted to the Children’s Hospital with dehydration and high sodium levels (hypernatremia).  My purpose in sharing the following exceptionally personal detail is that these words might prevent similar suffering for others.

Several separate oversights in care culminated in my  baby’s health crisis.  If only she had been supplemented earlier, she might not have faced hypernatraemia and dehydration. 

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Why Was No One Listening To Me Or My Baby At Our Baby-Friendly Hospital? The Signs Were There.

I was so excited to breastfeed my second child last April. I had my first eight years ago, and thought that perhaps back then I just had not tried hard enough. I also thought maybe the first time I did something wrong, and thought that this time would work out perfect. My first baby was sent to the NICU for jaundice on day three, and then was given an IV for dehydration, which was followed by formula. I did my research and was told that you should not supplement because if you did supplement you could lose your supply of breast milk.

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I started to fret at the hospital when my new baby was struggling to latch. I became frustrated when I could not hand express anything other than the smallest beads of milk. However, I was told that number of diapers was fine and his weight loss was within the acceptable range. I was told to go home and keep bringing him to breast, and to not supplement. So that is what I did. My baby cried endlessly and his throat always sounded dry. His latch was very weak. The milk still had not come in and I never felt engorged. I thought something was wrong and my husband wanted to give him some formula, but I begged him to wait for my milk to come in just liked I was taught.

Fed Is Best HUNGRY

On day five of my baby’s life we took him to his first appointment. He weighed in with a 17% total weight loss, and ran a slight fever when they took his temperature. His doctor told us that we needed to rush him to the hospital because she feared he may have a bacterial infection and that he could only have hours to live. The doctor also told us to immediately start supplementing. We gave him formula in the office and rushed him to the children’s hospital. While we were in the emergency room his temperature dropped to a normal temperature. I felt relieved. We stayed there for a while and they came to check on him a little later. They found that his temperature had dropped below a regular reading and that he was developing symptoms of hypothermia. They told us this was serious and he needed to go through testing to run cultures. I had never been so scared in my life. Continue reading

Si Yo Le Hubiese Dado Sólo Una Botella, Él Todavía Estaría Vivo

escrito por jillian johnson con el comentario del Dr. Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D.

Landon tendría cinco años hoy, si estuviera aún vivo. Es un cumpleaños muy duro. Es un cumpleaños importante. La mayoría de los niños estarían comenzando el jardín de la infancia a esta edad. Pero no mi pequeño. Quise compartir durante mucho tiempo lo que le pasó a Landon, pero siempre temí lo que dirían los demás y cómo me juzgarían. Pero quiero que la gente sepa cuánto más profundo es el dolor.

Comparto su historia con la esperanza de que ninguna otra familia experimente la pérdida que sufrimos. Continue reading

If I Had Not Found The Fed Is Best Foundation, I May Not Be Holding My Sweet Baby Boy Today

AshleyCoverPageI power pumped. I took fenugreek. I baked lactation cookies. I cried, and cried some more. I baby wore. Skin to skin. Nursed on demand non-stop. I never slept. Never bathed, and cried some more. I was told over and over I was producing enough milk, that my body knows how much to produce to meet my baby needs.

I posted these pictures to a well known exclusive breastfeeding Facebook group. I was praised for how great I was doing and to keep it up.  I was told my body made enough for my baby and this amount (1.5 ml) was enough. That he was “cluster – feeding”.

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My baby cried and cried. No weight gain. Never slept.

Then I found the Fed Is Best Foundation and woke the heck up! I asked myself what am I doing and why am I doing this? What am I trying to prove? I actually got kicked out of two popular breastfeeding groups just because I asked about supplementing-with formula! That made me feel like even more of a failure and I cried again and just sobbed.

By this time I started taking Zoloft for PPD (postpartum depression), which in my opinion should really be called EBFIPPD (exclusive breastfeeding induced postpartum depression)

So there I sat in my shower, holding my latched on baby who was frantically nursing.  He was not the happy baby you see nursing sweetly; my baby didn’t pass out “milk drunk” he passed out from non-stop crying  exhaustion.  I finally couldn’t bare seeing him suffer anymore. I texted my husband, “Can you pick up some formula”? He immediately called me back and asked if I was okay and if I was 100 percent sure.  Even he was brainwashed by the “Breast is Best” at all costs movement.  I hung up because I was crying again, and I texted him to get formula for supplementation only. That was my plan, to supplement. When he got home I grabbed the ready to feed bottle and popped it in my baby’s mouth.

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My baby came alive!!  This boy was IN heaven.  He is now 11 weeks old, and it seems like an eternity since breastfeeding him the first 2 weeks of his life. Those days were long days and nights of sobbing and constant internet searches about why breastfeeding wasn’t working for me this time. His tears turned into my tears and my frustration turned into postpartum depression.  My son’s story could have easily ended up just as tragic as baby Landon’s. https://fedisbest.org/2017/02/given-just-one-bottle-still-alive/  If I had not found Fed Is Best Foundation’s information and private support group, I may not be holding my sweet baby today.

I am and always will be pro-breastfeeding, but only when the baby is thriving. Not thriving at month 2 or 3, but thriving at day 1, 2 and 3 and every day there after.  I formula fed my first baby, exclusively breastfed my second baby and attempted to exclusively breastfeed my third baby.  I learned my body is fallible, despite reading it is rare to not produce enough breast milk. I refuse to have my bond as a mother, my ability to nurture, or my love for my child to be measured in milliliters and ounces.  I feed therefore I bond. I care therefore I nurture. I put his needs above my desire to breastfeed because I LOVE my baby. 

My baby didn’t pass out “milk drunk”. He passed out from constant crying and exhaustion.

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Please refrain from seeking medical advice from any  breastfeeding mommy groups. They are responsible for needless suffering and potential harm.  Please see your pediatrician for immediate medical help if you baby is constantly crying.  Learn from my mistake.  #FedIsBest

For more information on #SafeBreastfeeding and our feeding plan: https://fedisbest.org/resources-for-parents/feeding-plan/

https://fedisbest.org/resources-for-parents/why-weigh-my-baby/

If you are suffering in silence, please contact us!  We have a private support group that has licensed medical and mental health professionals who can help you.  contact@fedisbest.org

https://www.facebook.com/fedisbestfoundation/

Please donate your money or time at The Fed Is Best Foundation.  Together we can educate families all over the world on safe infant feeding.  https://fedisbest.org/donate/

Thank you!

From Dr. Brian Symon: Words of Advice on Early Supplemented Breastfeeding Until Full Milk Production

Given new scientific data that exclusively breastfed newborns are in fact at significant risk for brain-threatening hypoglycemia, jaundice and dehydration, mothers are asking how they can supplement in the first days of life without compromising their long-term breastfeeding success. What they don’t realize is that supplemented breastfeeding in the first days of life transitioning into full breastfeeding or combination feeding was in fact the norm before the WHO/UNICEF Baby-Friendly exclusive breastfeeding guidelines. In fact, the historical evidence shows that all native breastfeeding countries, before the Baby-Friendly guidelines, supplemented their newborns with the milk of wet nurses, sugar water, also called “pre-lacteal feeds,” almost universally until a mother’s milk came in. The reasons for supplementation were to prevent newborn hunger, starvation, jaundice, dehydration and hypoglycemia.  Despite widespread mother-led supplementation of newborns in places like Bangladesh, mothers successfully breastfed the vast majority of their babies up to one (98%) to two years (89%) of age.  We used common sense to feed our babies and that is how we protected them in the first days of life and beyond.  Sadly, since the publication of the exclusive breastfeeding guidelines, hospitalizations for jaundice and dehydration have steadily increased and are now the leading causes of newborn hospitalization worldwide.

Here is Dr. Brian Symon talking about supplemented breastfeeding in the early days and how to transition over to full or combination breastfeeding.

By Dr. Brian Symon, General (family) Practitioner, Adelaide, South Australia

My heart goes out to the mothers writing about their struggle to breast feed and in some cases, babies ‘failing to thrive‘.  Landon Johnson’s story is a tragedy.

As a Family Physician my work is largely focused on the care of pregnant women and newborn babies.

My stance is very simple.

1. The ONLY logical reason for having a child is ‘the joy of parenting’.

We don’t do it because it’s easy.

We don’t do it for the “life style”.

We don’t do it for the “money”.

We do it for the deep joy of raising a child and seeing that baby thrive and develop.

If it’s not being joyful for the mothers whom I care for I want to change things so that the pleasure and joy returns. Continue reading

I Was Ashamed to Ask for Formula in the Hospital, But I Couldn’t Hear Her Scream Anymore

I took some time to write up my story and let you all know why this cause is so important to me. Thank you for welcoming me to this community.

I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve had some issues with post-partum anxiety following the birth of baby Ariya – I still struggle with irrational anxiety from time to time at 8 months post-partum. One of the biggest reasons was because of my ‘failure to provide for my daughter’, AKA struggling, and ultimately deciding not to breastfeed her due to my inability to produce milk at the time of her birth.

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We Supplemented Our Baby with Confidence Until My Milk Came In…Thank You For Helping Us Have a Happy and Healthy Baby

From Alison

Thank you for sharing your important message. My husband I found your website and resources when we were four months pregnant. While pregnant, we regularly talked about the stories you post and my husband’s older son who became severely dehydrated and underweight in his first two months of life as a result of inadequate breastmilk supply. Your stories and my husband’s firsthand experience helped me recognize the importance of putting the health and safety of our soon-to-arrive baby ahead of any pressure to exclusively breastfeed.

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I finally realized what shame was put on me by the hospital staff for wanting to feed my child and keep him and myself healthy and happy

By Jennifer Brozowski, Mom and Behavior Health Specialist

My son, Jakob, was born 3 days after his due date weighing 8lbs 6 oz, healthy and very hungry. I delivered by c-section and my milk did not come in right away. I had other medical complications making it difficult to hold my son to breastfeed. The nurses discouraged my husband and me from giving my son a bottle and fed my son with a very tiny amount of formula in a cup. My husband struggled to feed Jakob this way and he went several hours without drinking any significant amount of formula. I was committed to breastfeeding and stuck to the plan of very tiny amounts of formula without using a nipple. I trusted the hospital staff to do the best thing for me and my son. The baby began showing signs of hypoglycemia and was not crying, only grunting the first 12 hours of his life. The doctor decided to admit my baby to the NICU. While he was in the NICU, Jakob was fed by bottle and showed immediate signs of improvement. My baby was discharged out of the NICU and back at my bedside within 24 hours. My husband and I continued to follow the discharge instructions from the NICU, which were to feed the baby with the same amount of formula as he was getting in the NICU when breastfeeding was not successful. We were both scolded by the nurses, being told that we were feeding our son too much.   The postpartum nurse stated that, “The NICU does things different than we do. They feed the babies too much and do so using a bottle. We promote breastfeeding alone.” Continue reading

Supplementation Kept My Daughter’s Sugars from Falling

By Paula 

After undergoing five years of infertility, my son was born on November 27, 2012.  He was a strong, healthy boy weighing in at 9 lbs 7 oz and 21 inches long.  I had an easy pregnancy, no health issues and delivered him without any medication, without even an IV, with a midwife in a hospital.

He latched on and nursed, just as expected.  However, because of his size he needed hourly blood sugar monitoring to be sure he’d maintain his sugars.  The delivery nurse recommended giving him some formula after nursing to avoid the NICU.  I also did skin to skin, his sugars stabilized enough that I was able to stop supplementing and he stopped getting the heel sticks a few hours after birth. Continue reading

The Breastfeeding Conspiracy

I wrote this piece over thirteen years ago, at the time thinking of publishing it as a New York Times Op Ed but eventually losing the courage to do so. The subject was just too raw and painful. Next month my son will be fourteen. He is wonderful and healthy but has severe ADHD and learning disabilities that have shaped his and our life everyday since he was born and will continue to shape them always. I will never know the effects of what I now call the breastfeeding conspiracy on my son. I know that he had, and still has, low muscle tone, which may have caused his inability to suck properly in his first days of life. Or it may be that this and other setbacks were the result of the dehydration he suffered when I insisted on “not giving him a bottle” in those first (near-}fatal days of his life. Continue reading