Jillian’s tragic loss
When Jillian Johnson and her husband Jarrod welcomed their son, Landon, on February 25, 2012, and they were overjoyed. The boy was healthy and everything seemed fine. Little did the new parents know that they were about to live through their worst nightmare.
Little Landon was crying and reaching for his mom’s breast all the time. She grew concerned, but the lactation consultants reassured her that “he had a great latch and was doing fine.” However, one of the specialists pointed out that Jillian could have trouble producing enough milk due to her having polycystic ovary syndrome.
By the time Landon was discharged, he had lost 10 percent of his birth weight. This is considered normal in newborns, so it didn’t set off alarm bells for the baby’s parents and the hospital staff. But it should have.
Just twelve hours after Jillian and Jarrod brought their newborn son home, he suffered a cardiac arrest caused by dehydration. He was rushed back to the hospital and placed on life support. Unfortunately, doctors couldn’t save him.
It took Jillian five long years of pain to muster the courage to share her story. She wrote a blog post for The Fed Is Best Foundation, in which she shared the details of her heartbreaking loss. She also encouraged moms to give babies the bottle when they need it:
The best advice I was given by one of his NICU doctors while [Landon] was on life support is sure breast is best, but follow with the bottle.
This way you know your baby has eaten enough….if only I could go back in time.
How to recognize dehydration in babies and when to seek medical help
Dehydration in infants is not very common, but it can happen if the breastfeeding mom is not producing enough milk or for a few other reasons.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration you should watch out for include the following:
- Dry lips and dry mouth.
- Fewer than 6 wet diapers in 24 hours.
- A lack of interest in feeding OR trying to feed more often than normal.
- A sunken fontanel (a soft spot on the top of a baby’s head).
- Crying without tears.
Call your baby’s doctor immediately if the baby has signs and symptoms listed above and/or has a fever.
How to lower the risk of dehydration in babies
To reduce your baby’s risk of dehydration, the following can help:
- If you aren’t sure your baby is getting enough breast milk, get professional help from a breastfeeding counselor.
- Breastfeed your baby often (at least every 2 to 3 hours, round the clock).
- If your baby is sick and has diarrhea and/or vomiting, make sure your baby is getting enough extra fluids.
- Check your baby’s urine output regularly by keeping track of the number of wet diapers.
- To produce more milk, you can try some foods and herbs that facilitate milk production (use them after you get your doctor's approval).
- If you can’t produce enough milk, supplement with formula or donor breast milk.
If you choose to exclusively breastfeed your baby, you need to make sure you have enough breast milk to meet the baby’s needs for nutrients and fluids. If your milk supply is low, there’s nothing wrong in offering your little one the bottle.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.