Bed sharing woman breastfeeds while drunk

Merry - posted on 06/28/2011 ( 17 moms have responded )




I didn't write this article.

Imagine a mom's worst nightmare. She settles in to breastfeed her baby girl for the last time for the night, baby snuggled at the breast, happy and content. Then she falls asleep. When she wakes up, the baby's dead. Would you judge her? Now what if she had an entire bottle of wine in her system?

Kind of changes things, doesn't it? I really want to feel bad for Emma Hector, a British mom accused of killing her baby girl, Naomi, as she breastfed the 7-month-old in the family bed back in 2009.

It's one of those "there but for the grace of God go I" situations. I've slept with my daughter in my bed. I wasn't a dedicated co-sleeper by any means, but I did it at times because it was convenient. Because the smell of my infant was in and of itself intoxicating, I was so overcome with love that I couldn't be apart. Because some nights, I was so exhausted, it was just easier.

But then there's that bottle of wine that Emma sucked down. Hector's husband was said to have found their daughter face down and motionless, with blood in her mouth and her mother's breast covering her face. His wife was passed out cold. Drunk. Not only had she drank just about the full bottle, she'd had nothing to eat.

I'm going to go ahead and say it. A glass of wine, one mug of beer, when you're breastfeeding, and most of us will look the other way. Most pediatricians these days say there's no reason to pump and dump. But I've yet to meet a doc who'd suggest the best way to build up your milk supply is to chug that wine and skimp on the eats to boot. Just like pregnancy, breastfeeding requires a mom to keep baby in mind as she eats and imbibes throughout the day. Just from a sustenance level, Emma Hector did Naomi wrong.

Add to that the fact that every parenting book out there warns that alcohol plus co-sleeping equals a huge increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, and Emma Hector -- who has two other kids, one child older than Naomi, one born since her death -- knew the risks she was taking.

I'm all about "Moms need to support each other," but I just can't do it here. Emma Hector knew what she was doing was wrong. She did it anyway. Although an inquest has just determined they're unable to prove a direct linkage between Emma's actions and Naomi's death, I think the mom should be carried straight to the clink. She's culpable.

I think this is really sad and honestly quite disturbing.
Also sad is I'm sure it gives a bad name to bed sharing and breastfeeding.....
But the real culprit is obviously the alcohol I think.


Ez - posted on 06/28/2011




There is no punishment more severe than losing a child due to your own poor choices. But how can the authorities look the other way on this? This mother killed her baby. There's no getting around that. She needs to be held accountable. Just the same as if she had been drink-driving and had an accident.

Dana - posted on 06/28/2011




I don't think it gives a bad name to bed sharing at all. It gives a bad name to a drunken parent- where it belongs.

It's truly a tragic story.


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Vera - posted on 06/28/2011




That poor baby girl! Maybe the mother will start doing something good with her life - maybe as her sentencing she will have to speak about what she did to educate others about drinking and nursing children. Why she did that I would always wonder. I personally would never have done that while nursing (the drunken part, ok actually the sleeping part because I've read about too many little ones being killed due to being rolled on or slept on by their parents)

Nikki - posted on 06/28/2011




This happened somewhere else last year. It's awful, yes she was stupid and irresponsible but having to live with yourself would be awful.

I wouldn't even have one drink when I was co sleeping, no way not worth the risk.

Tara - posted on 06/28/2011




Extremely sad and disheartening.
And I would hope that people will see this as an alcohol related death and not a co-sleeping death.
I do take a bit of an issue with the following excerpt:
"...Add to that the fact that every parenting book out there warns that alcohol plus co-sleeping equals a huge increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome,.."
If a woman is drunk and smothers her child it is NOT sudden infant death syndrome. It's manslaughter.
Her child did not die suddenly of unexplained causes as is the case with SIDS. She died by suffocation from her mother's breast.
And she was drunk.
Ya. That about sums it up.

Ez - posted on 06/28/2011




I don't know. I'm not sure a custodial sentence is appropriate, but she should be found guilty, because she is.

Sara - posted on 06/28/2011




Yeah, I don't think that's appropriate bed-sharing. Drinking, drugs, etc, are not the responsible choices for sharing your bed with an infant.

Still, a sad story though.

Merry - posted on 06/28/2011




Would the baby die from the alcohol in the milk? Or would that just cause other damage....idk exactly the outcome of nursing so drunk...

Charlotte - posted on 06/28/2011




I agree with the other ladies thats its not SIDS, I feel for the family BUT not for the mother I dont think it was responsible of her. I was getting upset reading of this poor helpless baby.

Stifler's - posted on 06/28/2011




I also agree, SIDS has no known cause. It's not code for suffocation by mother's breast via co-sleeping drunk. This woman breastfed while wasted and then suffocated her child, she should definitely be locked up.

[deleted account]

Its not SIDS.They say there is nothing to say why a baby dies of SIDS.Here a mother is so intoxicated she rolls over on her baby and smothers her.There's your reason.Suffocated by drunk mom.Not SIDS.
I agree Becky 100%.

Becky - posted on 06/28/2011




It bugs me that they call it SIDS. It's not SIDS, it's suffocation. They're not the same thing.
This is a tragic story and I feel terrible for the family. But, what was she thinking???

Amber - posted on 06/28/2011




How are they unable to prove direct linkage?
A woman who is passed out drunk, with part of her body covering a helpless baby's access to air is not responsible?

[deleted account]

What a bad choice.Most generally don't b/f with alcohol in there system in the first place.As for bed sharing, that can be done safely if you take all safety measures like don't be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Mom made a very bad choice.Shes paying the ultimate heartbreaking price.Were not perfect and i do feel so sorry for that mother.She must be going through hell.As for her baby, god bless her.:-(

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