From Romper: Jillian Johnson Shares Tragic Story About Her Son’s Death, & Every Parent Needs To Read It

By , March 5, 2017

Amanda Jordan/Unsplash

Breastfeeding can be enormously beneficial for both babies and their mothers. Nobody disputes that. But the “Breast is best” mentality that permeates our culture can actually be very dangerous in some cases. Just ask Jillian Johnson, whose son’s tragic and preventable death serves as a lesson that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to feeding children, and the health care industry need to reexamine the way in which they support new mothers. In an essay for the Fed is Best Foundation, Johnson shared the story of her son, Landon, along with technical commentary by Christie del Castillo-Hegyi, M.D.

“Jarrod and I wanted what was best for Landon,” Johnson began. “We took all of the classes. Bought and read all of the books.” All of the classes and literature stressed the importance of breastfeeding, and Landon was born in a “Baby-Friendly” hospital, a designation that means it followed the protocol put forth by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. The stated goal of the program is to give “all mothers the information, confidence, and skills necessary to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies or feeding formula safely,” but in practice, it pushes to discourage formula feeding.