On what would have been her sons fifth birthday, his mum, Jillian Johnson, finally speaks out about the death of her baby boy at 19 days old.

Jillian has struggled with wanting to share what happened to baby Landon for a long time. She feared what others would say and how she would be judged.

However, she is ready to put those feelings aside in the hopes that sharing her story will help prevent other families from experiencing the loss that she has been suffering.

Jillian shares on the Fed is Best page that Landon was exclusively breastfed, even though he would constantly cry unless he was on his mum’s breast. Jillian felt like she was continuously breastfeeding and when she asked why her baby was always on her breast, she was told that it was because he was “cluster feeding.”

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 – even more so since I was pretty heavily medicated from my emergency C-section and this was my first baby,” she wrote.

“But I was wrong. I’ve learned I have to be my child’s number one advocate.”

Landon nursed over nine hours during his first 24 hours of life, but after being alive just 53 hours, he had lost 9.72 percent of his birth weight.

Landon was discharged at less than 3 days old and continued to frequently and exclusively breastfeed “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,” she wrote.

“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 shares, “the best advice I was given by one of his NICU doctors while he 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.”

I still have many, many days of guilt and questions – what if I would’ve just given him a bottle? And anger because how would I have known. I remember when Stella was born, and she was always quiet. I kept asking the nurses what was wrong with her. They said nothing. She’s doing what she’s supposed to. Sleeping. Eating. 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.

Read her full story on Fed is Best


After sharing her story on Fed is Best, Sheryl, has been able to ensure her tragic experience teaches other mothers there are other options and breastfeeding isn’t always right for everyone. Breast isn’t always best.

Appearing on an episode of The Doctors, Jillian said: ‘Life isn’t the same after losing a child. There’s a huge hole in my heart, all because we trusted everything that we were taught – that exclusively breastfeeding is best thing for a baby.

“We want to educate as many parents as possible that you have to be your child’s number-one advocate,” Jillian says.

‘His death was 100 percent preventable. There is no reason that he shouldn’t be here today other than we were failed.’

There are two reasons why a child isn’t breastfeeding properly; the mother isn’t producing enough milk or the baby isn’t latching onto the breast appropriately.

There are several indicators that a newborn isn’t breastfeeding correctly that parents can spot to make sure the child is given the proper supplements immediately.

In Jillian’s case, her body wasn’t producing enough milk for Landon.

Experts advise mothers to exclusively breastfeed their child for the baby’s first six months of life and then for six more months while introducing new food to them.

Expert speaks out “Babies do not die from cluster feeding

Meg Nagle, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, recently explained when cluster feeding is NOT NORMAL.

“A baby who is awake all the time or very sleepy all of the time is a baby who might not be getting enough OR have something else going on.”

“A baby who is breastfeeding for up to an hour or more at EVERY or MOST feeds, 24/7. This is a really important one. Babies will breastfeed anywhere between 5 minutes to 45 minutes-ISH. And the time spent at the breast can change between each feed for the same baby.

BUT if your baby is taking an hour or more at every or most feeds then this can be an indication that they are not effectively and efficiently removing the milk. Time to get an IBCLC or volunteer breastfeeding counsellor to help you look at the whole picture and assess whether or not your baby is getting enough milk.”

Previously  we shared a very similar story from Mandy.  Thankfully with the help of family and her local doctor she realised before it was too late. Read that article here. 

If you need support establishing feeding with your baby please contact your medical provider or call ABA on 1800 686 268

Share your comments below.

Image via Fed is Best

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  • Looks like there was a failure in the system and a hole in someone’s knowledge. That baby should never have been discharged without confirmation that the mothers milk had come in, that there was enough milk AND the baby was putting on weight. If the baby was not producing wet nappies in hospital why on earth did they let him go home?!!


  • For people out there who still advocate breast is best, I hope they read this article and know that their stupid action has consequences.


  • I had a large 9lb 3oz baby son for my first baby. I had plenty of milk, I had to hold a glass under the other breast while he was feeding on the other side. I would fill the glass, and assumed that he got the same. He was not gaining weight and he was crying a lot. The health centre sister did test weighs and although he was getting enough in fluid, because he was not gaining weight, so I was sent to a paediatrician who immediately said put him on the bottle, your milk has no substance to it. He immediately gained his birth weight and thrived and slept and was happy. Never think that breast is best, because it isn’t always so. I fed my third baby, a son who weighed 9lb 4oz until he was 5 months old, with four other children in the family and had no issues!!!


  • It’s a sad story for a unexperienced first time mum.


  • I could not imagine the pain this woman had gone through. My Mum had a story like this with me but had gone to hospital earlier and they advised a bottle.


  • Thank you for sharing this story. So important.


  • This is heartbreaking! This poor mum and bub were failed by the system.


  • What a shitty thing to have happen to this family. I stopped breast feeding after 3 months as I didnt think bub was getting enough. She was always screaming and pulling off during feeds. We made the right decision to move to formula, she was always full then.


  • I think the whole “breast is best” movement has a lot to answer for. At a stressful time for new parents who are like deers in headlights, there are far too many stories like this as everyone is trying to do the’best’ thing for their child. Add this woman says, feed is best


  • On my goodness, this is literally heart breaking! Going through the private health system we were so blessed with the care and support we received . I’ve been able to breast feed but not without trials and many moments of wanting to give up.
    Such a terrible tragedy that could have been prevented. We need to do better. We need to trust mums and we need to actively acknowledge newborns and their behaviours not dismiss things so easily.
    I’m so sorry this family had to experience this.


  • Wow. That’s so sad. I remember when I first started breastfeeding, I was so stress about if my baby was getting enough. My Bub was dehydrated the first couple of days but the hospital didn’t care, they were very dismissive. I ended up feeding he with a syringe until we were able to get his latch right as I had flat nipples (not that I was told that, had to work it out myself) and he kept getting his tongue in the way. A dummy fixed that. We are now 5 months on and going well. After all the experience with the doctors and nurses. I don’t bother asking for help. I just work it on my own now.


  • This is just heartbreaking. It’s so hard having your first child as it is and we rely so much on the professionals around us. I can’t fathom how this baby was let out of hospital in the first place.
    I hope this family can have a happy and loving future.


  • this is so sad….it is difficult having a newborn.


  • It’s actually really easy to tell if a baby is eating enough…what goes in must come out, no? Hospitals here make sure both mom and baby are passing enough waste to prove their bodies are capable of sustaining life and there aren’t any digestive issues they can’t see. I’ve had 3 babies and I’ve been in the hospital numerous times for various surgeries and every time, I was not allowed to leave without informing them and even showing them in the toilet (they make you put a little pot in there) that I’ve gone #2. And my babies were all monitored for appropriate numbers of dirty diapers. I was given a piece of paper to keep track of feedings and diapers, and I even had to keep their diapers to show the nurse.
    I feel like this woman has a good lawsuit on her hands against this hospital for not doing that. But also, I feel like her warning for mothers against breast is best is pointless.


  • This poor mother. I think midwives & nurses should stop jamming their opinions so heavily down new mums throats. “Breast is best” crap is what killed this baby. This mother thought she was doing the best thing for her baby.


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