Jillian Johnson wishes a happy 5th birthday to her "sweet boy" Landon in a blog post at Fed Is Best—a post in which she publicly opens up for the first time about his death to accidental starvation at 19 days old. "If I had given him just one bottle, he would still be alive," Johnson writes, sharing a story that she hopes will prevent another family from suffering her fate. Yahoo Be reports Landon was born via C-section on Feb. 25, 2012, in a "baby-friendly" hospital where breastfeeding was highly emphasized, so much so that a doctor would need to write a prescription in order to obtain formula. And so her 7 lb., 7 ounce baby was exclusively breastfed—constantly. She was told her latch was good, but one lactation consultant suggested her milk production might be impaired due to a diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome, and recommended some herbs.
By day 2 of life, Landon nursed for nearly 14 hours; Johnson writes that she was reassured he was just cluster feeding, and she tells People that "pressure" is too light a word for the breastfeeding counsel she was given. "You felt brainwashed ... like you were a horrible person" if you turned to the bottle." Nearly as constant as the nursing was the crying. "I had no idea that he was inconsolable because he was starving—literally," she writes. Half a day later, they were discharged, with Landon having lost 9.7% of his birth weight. They spent fewer than 12 hours at home as a family: Landon went into cardiac arrest caused by dehydration, and was taken off life support 15 days later. "There is nothing wrong with supplementing," she counsels new moms. It's advice the California mom herself has taken, having breast- and bottle-fed daughters Stella, nearly 4, and Aliona, 18 months. (Pediatricians warn of a breastfeeding risk that has nothing to do with nutrition.)