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Devastated Mum Didn't Realise Breastfed Baby Was Dehydrated

A heartbroken mother has opened up five years after the death of her newborn son to help educate others about the importance of feeding babies correctly.

Jillian Johnson shared her story on the Fed is Best blog, revealing that, until now, she had been afraid of being judged.

"Did you know newborns aren't supposed to cry all the time? They're supposed to eat and sleep and dirty their diapers," Jillian wrote. "I had no idea that he was inconsolable because he was starving - literally."

According to the still-devastated mum, she and her husband Jarrod made sure that, as first-time parents, they did everything they were supposed to, including booking into a "baby-friendly" hospital in the US.

And when little Landon was born in February 2012, she was told the bub had an excellent latch and exclusively breastfed him for 15 - 40 minutes every one or two hours.

But, Jillian says, when he wasn't on the boob he was crying constantly; the nurses and lactation specialists told her he was cluster-feeding and not to worry.

"I recalled learning all about that in the classes I had taken, and being a first-time mom, I trusted my doctors and nurses to help me through this," she continued. 

"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."

Jillian and Jarrod rushed Landon back to the hospital, where he remained on a ventilator in the neonatal intensive care unit for 15 days, until an MRI confirmed the baby's brain had been starved of oxygen.

He was taken off life support and tragically passed away.

Jillian knows now that Landon was crying out of hunger, and wonders why no-one encouraged her to supplement his feeding.

"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?" she asked.

"And where is the limit as to weight loss and a minimum for the diapers changed?"

Five years after Landon's death, Jillian is urging other mothers to trust their instincts - and to educate themselves on their options.

"I had the opportunity to get the dialogue started and it needed to be done," she continued. "I only wish I did it sooner.

"I'm so grateful knowing there's a foundation [Fed is Best] dedicated to educating parents on the importance of feeding your newborn - whether supplementing or breastfeeding. I'm pro-feeding. Plain and simple."

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