We have all heard it again, and again, breast is best. It provides nutrition unlike anything else and if we can give our babies this liquid gold they will thrive.
This was not the case for baby Landon, who would have turned 5 last week.
He died just days after birth after suffering from cardiac arrest caused by severe dehydration.
His mother Jillian Johnson just spoke out about her experience in an article posted on The Fed Is Best Foundation. "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," she wrote.
Jillian had read every book and took every class she could, which emphasized the importance of breastfeeding, so she was ready to give Landon the best start in life that she could.
Landon was born full-term in a "baby-friendly" hospital, which means everything is geared towards breastfeeding. Unless there was a serious medical reason why you couldn't breastfeed, your baby would not be given formula unless a prescription was written by the pediatrician, according to Jillian's post. Weighing in at 7lbs 7oz, he was exclusively breastfed with an excellent latch for 15-40 minutes every 1-2 hours, which is by the book for newborn breastfeeding.
That didn't stop him from losing almost 10% of his body weight in the first 2.5 days of his life.
One nurse mentioned that Jillian may be having a problem producing milk. She was told that because she was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), it may be harder for her to produce milk because of horomone imbalances. She recommended some herbs for her to take when she got out of the hospital.
"Did you know newborns aren’t supposed to cry all the time? They’re supposed to eat and sleep and dirty their diapers. I had no idea that he was inconsolable because he was starving – literally." Jillian wrote. "And when a baby is only on the breast, how do we gauge how much they’re actually getting out? Sure, there should be wet and soiled diapers, and weight checks, right? And where is the limit as to weight loss and a minimum for the diapers changed?"
Landon was discharged at 2.5 days old having lost 9.7% of his birth weight, continuously and exclusively breastfeeding with a mother whose milk had not come in.
"So 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," wrote Jillian.
While Landon was on life support a NICU doctor told Johnson, "breast is best, but follow with the bottle." Landon was taken off life support 15 days later.
"I still have many, many days of guilt and questions – what if I would’ve just given him a bottle? " Jillian wrote.
"And it was then that I realized that it wasn’t normal for a newborn to cry as much as Landon did. He was just crying out from his hunger. But I didn’t know. I should’ve known. I still struggle daily feeling as though I failed him."
Jillian and Jarrod created a YouTube video of 200 beautiful moments of their time with Landon.