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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My Daughter Starved Because of My Determination to Exclusively Breastfeed and Lack of Knowledge on How to Supplement

By Jamie Nguyen

As new parents, my husband and I relied on professionals: doctors, nurses, lactation consultants to guide us in providing the best care for our newborn. But what happens if most of these professional have bought into a dangerous lie? The lie that all moms, except in very rare cases, are able to produce enough milk for a newborn baby.

After a long unmedicated labor that lasted over 36 hours, my daughter Noemie was born on November 2nd 2016. She was perfectly healthy and weighed 7 lbs 3.5 ozs. My goal was to exclusively breastfeed and the staff at the Baby-Friendly hospital were very supportive. Noemie lost 4% of her weight in the first 24 hours and we were told that it wouldn’t be anything to worry about until it got to more than 7%. However, she had become very fussy and inconsolable, but as we were new parents we just assumed that this was normal baby behavior. Having taken a breastfeeding class, I simply trusted that my body would make enough milk for her. I had been told that not being able to make enough milk was very rare. I asked to see a lactation consultant as I had previously had breast surgery to remove a benign lump from my right breast. The lactation consultant told me that I should have no problem breastfeeding from just my left side. She reassured me that my milk would “come in” sometime over the weekend at day 4 – 5. We were told to get a weight check at the pediatrician’s office on day 4.

Born healthy at 7lbs 3.5 ozs.

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Open Letter to Obstetrician-Gynecologists and Family Practitioners on Counseling Expectant Mothers on the Importance of Safe Infant Feeding

Dear Obstetrician-Gynecologist and Family Practitioner,

I am writing to you as a mother and advocate for Fed is Best.

You may have seen the story of Landon Johnson, who was welcomed into the world by his parents in February 2012.  Like most new parents, Landon’s mom and dad were lead to believe that Jillian would produce enough breast milk to meet Landon’s caloric needs.  The hospital where they delivered was “Baby-Friendly” and would only provide formula with a doctor’s prescription.

While in the hospital, Landon cried whenever he was not latched onto his mom’s breast. Jillian described him as inconsolable.  She was told that this was normal.  At less than 3 days of life they were discharged from hospital after having the appropriate number of wet and dirty diapers.  However, less than 12 hours later, Landon was readmitted to hospital after suffering cardiac arrest due to severe dehydration.  He suffered brain injury and ultimately died in the arms of his parents when life support was terminated.  His is a story that you cannot read without tears in your eyes. Continue reading

In Hong Kong News: 奶水不足以為餵飽 B仔脫水監生餓死

「我餓死了我的孩子。」餵哺母乳普遍被視為最佳的育嬰方法,但美國加州新手媽媽約翰遜(Jillian Johnson)餵哺初生長子蘭登(Landon)時,渾然不知自己奶水不足,成為孩子的催命符,寶寶僅活了19天就逝世了。

約翰遜近日亮相電視台節目《The Doctor》,剖白這段令她悔恨又悲痛的育嬰經驗。2012年,她與丈夫滿心歡喜地迎接蘭登誕生,惟他出生後不久即病得非常嚴重,把他送院搶救後,約翰遜才赫然得悉自己根本沒有足夠人奶餵飽兒子,可惜為時已晚,蘭登在出世後第19天因脫水夭折。



Jillian Johnson and The Fed is Best Foundation Interview on the Doctors Show

By The Doctors Staff on 12:00 AM PT, May 9, 2017

I May Never Forgive The Hospital For Starving My Baby While Under Their Care!

On Easter morning, I gave birth to a perfect 7 lb 15 oz little girl named Coraline Quinn. Cora started life as the world’s happiest little baby. She almost never cried and just wanted to snuggle more than anything in the world.

However, our first visit with one of the lactation consultants immediately had me scratching my head. The lactation consultant reassured me that nobody would attempt to “sabotage my breastfeeding” in their facility, unlike others. Then they helped me get her to latch, said that we were doing great and that she was getting enough to eat. 24 hours later, she was a fussy mess that was inconsolable unless she was being held. We fed a ton, but she’d get frustrated and break the latch to cry every 3-4 swallows. Lactation was consulted again, and they reassured me that everything was fine and that these were standard findings for the second day and I continued feeding as instructed. Continue reading

I No Longer Judge Other Mothers; My Breastfeeding Challenges Have Absolutely Changed Me As a Mom, a Woman, And a Friend

As a nurse, I knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby. I learned everything I could about breastfeeding and I just knew that it would work for us. In nursing school, we were told that anyone could breastfeed that wanted to and I believed it. I would not even consider the possibility of feeding my children in any way other than nursing and was extremely judgmental of anyone who did not breastfeed their children. I honestly thought they were lazy and selfish and weren’t willing to put in the work.  I lived by the mantra that “breast is best!” My son was born and I was so excited to meet him and begin our breastfeeding journey.  Unfortunately, we struggled from the very beginning.  It was very difficult to get him to latch and when he did, he wouldn’t stay on very long.  Eventually, our son became difficult to wake up but the nurses responded to our frustrations saying, “he must not be hungry!” By discharge I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing. I bravely went home, just knowing that it was okay, this was normal. We would figure it out because “breast is best.”

Dehydration2My husband and I cried a lot the first 24 hours home. We fought to wake our sleepy newborn up but we were rarely successful and when we were, we couldn’t get him to eat. I kept on, refusing to allow my husband to give our son any formula because I didn’t want it to ruin our breastfeeding relationship. We went to his newborn appointment when he was 4 days old. I knew at that point things weren’t going well but wasn’t prepared for the realities we were about to face. Our son had lost 13% of his body weight, he was hypothermic with a body temperature of 94.9, he was hypoglycemic, and had lost his reflexes. Our pediatrician looked at us with very sad eyes and kindly, but firmly, explained our son was very sick and needed to eat now. Continue reading

I Was Having Suicidal Thoughts Because I Was Shamed For Not Making Enough Breast Milk For My Baby

I gave birth in a hospital in Tel Aviv,  Israel.  I struggled with breastfeeding from the  moment I gave birth but the lactation consultant told me ‘it’s okay, your milk will come in a few days.  I went home and continued to breastfed all of the time, waiting for my milk to come in.

#3 Making Sure Your Newborn is Fed.pptx (5)

After days and nights, 18-20 hours on the couch breastfeeding, I called a lactation consultant. She assured me that I have milk and all was great; this is just how it is and breastfeeding is hard work. She was really nice and positive about my milk supply and didn’t push me to exclusively breastfeed, but the moms I talked with did.  I joined breastfeeding clubs, I read blogs and stories of moms who breastfeed their 2-3 year old children without a problem.  I became more and more tired, I cried all the time and I stopped taking showers daily. I couldn’t look at my baby, I had constant pain and he cried all the time. I slept a maximum of 30 minutes each day.  I felt like my body and my life was taken from me. Continue reading

My Baby Had Been Slowly Starving – The Guidelines For Exclusive Breastfeeding Were Wrong

Written By :  Hillary Kuzdeba, MPH

Before I had my first baby, I was like so many other health professionals – I believed that breast was best, and that every mother should be encouraged to strive for exclusivity, as recommended by the major medical organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization. I prepared diligently for breastfeeding, speaking to lactation consultant co-workers, watching documentaries, reviewing breastfeeding educational resources, and talking with the breastfeeding mothers I knew. My husband and family were all extremely supportive of breastfeeding, because they too knew breast was best. I knew that breastfeeding could be challenging, but I was prepared to make it work. And everyone assured me that it would, as long as I was dedicated.

My daughter was born at 37 weeks, 2 days after a difficult unmedicated labor, and vaginal delivery. She was a tiny little thing, just over 6lbs but she was strong and healthy. She was born with moderate cranial bruising from the almost six hours of pushing it took to get her out. She was immediately put skin to skin, and we had our first nursing session within 20 minutes of her arrival.

Due to her early term status and her bruise, we were told she was at risk for jaundice. (hyperbilirubinemia) While they told us that they would be watching her bilirubin levels closely, and were encouraged to attend the hospital’s breastfeeding class, we were allowed and encouraged to continue with our original plan of exclusive nursing. Despite my high level of breastfeeding education, I had never learned about this condition, and I didn’t know that it can be greatly exacerbated or triggered by dehydration. I had never been educated on starvation related complications, and only knew that occasionally some babies lost too much weight due to milk supply problems. I had heard of jaundice, but everything I had read indicated that it was “common” in breastfed babies and nothing to worry about in most cases. Regardless, my great care team didn’t seem to be concerned enough to recommend a change in feeding plan, so we just continued with our original plans as if she was like any other baby. Continue reading

My Son Was Exclusively Breastfed and Was Admitted with Hypernatremia and Jaundice the Next Day After Discharge

By Brooke Orosz, Ph.D. Professor of Statistics and Math, Fed is Best Advisor

My son was born 2 years ago today. In my seventh month, he was diagnosed with a condition called intrauterine growth restriction, basically his placenta wasn’t working right, and he was growing too slowly as a result. To prevent complications, he was delivered by c-section at 37 weeks. He weighed just 4 pounds 15 ounces and appeared to have no baby fat at all, but he was vigorously healthy, and was able to spend his hospital stay with us rather than in NICU. We were absolutely over the moon.20

At 48 hours old, his bilirubin was just over 10. Shortly before his discharge at about 80 hours old, a staff member weighed him and discovered that he had already lost 11% of his body weight, but they did not tell us this. Despite several risk factors, no one suggested an additional bilirubin measurement before going home or counseled us on the risks of severe jaundice. We left the hospital with the impression that everything was going perfectly.

The next morning, we went to the pediatrician, who sent to the hospital for another bilirubin check. An hour later, he called us and told us to drive our son to the regional NICU. At readmission, he had lost 14% of his body weight, his sodium level was 159, and his bilirubin was over 19. He had to stay in the hospital overnight, and we had to leave him behind.


My Son in the NICU Admitted for Hypernatremic Dehydration and Jaundice

I cannot praise enough the NICU staff, a doctor, several nurses, a social worker and an LC. They acted swiftly and effectively to save my son’s life, preserve his brain function and restore his health, and treated his father and I with extraordinary compassion on the worst day of our lives. I wish I remembered their names so I could name them, instead I will merely thank the NICU staff of St. Barnabas Hospital.

The hospital where he was born was Clara Maas. I cannot name one single staff member who was clearly negligent, I think it was more a case of him slipping through the cracks. The on-staff LC never checked on us after the first day, and I still don’t know exactly who knew what, when or who made which decision. Nevertheless, they allowed an at-risk newborn (37 weeks and Small-for-Gestational-Age) to go home without double-checking that he was safe or providing any special instructions for his care. Personally, I would not deliver another baby there.

Details of the incident have been reported to Clara Maas hospital in a formal complaint, and to the Joint Commission.

My Son at 2 years of Age


Brooke Orosz, PhD is a professor of mathematics and advisor to the Fed is Best Foundation. After her son’s crisis, she was stunned to learn that readmissions for nursing problems are commonplace, and that they are not tracked or penalized by health authorities. Since then, she has used her knowledge of statistics to study the problem and to advocate for evidence-based feeding protocols that put the baby’s safety and comfort first.