Mum sues after newborn smothered

Jodi - posted on 02/15/2011 ( 76 moms have responded )

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February 15, 2011, 5:30 pm



An exhausted young mum who accidentally smothered her newborn daughter after being left unattended to breastfeed is suing the state government for $600,000.



Bela Maddison Lee Heidrich died at Rockhampton Hospital on February 28, 2008, just hours after her birth.



Her mum, Zelia Blomfield, accidentally smothered her after falling asleep while breastfeeding.



According to documents lodged in the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Monday, Ms Blomfield had undergone a difficult and painful labour, and had been awake for more than 24 hours when she gave birth to Bela.



Ms Blomfield claims a midwife positioned her to breastfeed on her side in bed and told her it was okay to fall asleep.



She woke an hour later to find Bela was blue and cold.



An inquest held in the Rockhampton Coroners Court last year heard and an autopsy revealed the tiny girl could have been dead for up to 20 minutes.



No findings have yet been handed down from the inquest but Ms Blomfield has now taken civil action against the state government, which runs the public hospital where Bela died.



According to court documents, Ms Blomfield is claiming $600,000 in damages, costs and interest.



She alleges hospital staff were negligent by failing to advise her of the risks of falling asleep.



She also claims they should have supervised her while she was feeding her new daughter.



Court documents reveal Ms Blomfield has suffered chronic adjustment disorder and post-traumatic stress since Bela's death.



No date has been set for hearing.



http://au.news.yahoo.com/latest/a/-/late...



Thoughts? I am still actually not sure on my opinion - I am just posting because of the topical issue. I mean, most of us would have had our baby positioned to breastfeed after labour and birth, some of them long labours, so I was interested in opinions.

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Tara - posted on 02/15/2011

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@Deanna,
At the risk of turning this into a co-sleeping debate, over 90% of the worlds population co-sleep.
This woman was TOLD by a professional to go to sleep with her baby lying beside her breastfeeding. I have no issues with safe co-sleeping but allowing a new mother who has just endured endless hours of labour and pain (and possibly medications, do we know?) is not safe co-sleeping.
And that is what resulted in the death of her baby, unsafe co-sleeping that was advised by a health professional. If that same health care professional had advocated for breastfeeding while sitting upright and the mom had chosen to lay down despite being told that's not a good idea, than sure it's moms fault, but she was TOLD to lay down and have a nap.
Deanna,
Co-sleeping is safe when done correctly, if it were not safe the human species would never had made it far enough to proclaim it unsafe at all!!

Isobel - posted on 02/15/2011

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I think it's "common sense" to listen to a health care professional.

Tara - posted on 02/18/2011

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@Tracey,
First you start by pretty much accusing the mom of killing her infant intentionally. Then you end with you sympathizing with the mom.
There is nothing wrong with safe co-sleeping. or sleep sharing. Our midwives hand out information about safe co-sleeping.
It's just like teen sex. If you only preach abstinence than teens will have unprotected, unsafe sex because they don't know better.
If you only preach "no co-sleeping" than you will have parents who do it unsafely unfortunately possibly ending in death. But over 90% of the worlds population co-sleeps and some of the those countries have the lowest sids rates and rarely ever do parents kill their babies like this.
It's sad but this mom was not instructed about safe co-sleeping as she should have been. If she had been this baby would likely still be alive.

Mary - posted on 02/15/2011

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Arghhh....this is frustrating on so many levels, because there is just no good outcome from this. I disagree with the suit in principle, mostly because I fail to see how all that money is going to "help" this mother who lost her child.

I look at this, and see a woman consumed with grief and anger. The grief I understand, the anger...well, a lot of it is probably misplaced. Who knows whether or not this midwife told her it was "okay" to fall asleep while nursing? She claims she did, the midwife denies it...and both have motivation to lie. I will say this...co-sleeping is something that almost all US hospitals strongly discourage (at least while you are their patient) for exactly this reason; if something untoward occurs while co-sleeping, they will be blamed, and not the grieving mother.

My stay on the mother-baby unit was similar to what Kylie described; anytime I was alone with my infant, there was someone popping their head in the door just to eyeball us. It was annoying as hell, and twice woke me up after I had just drifted off.

I guarantee that regardless of whether or not this woman wins this lawsuit, no woman who gives birth in that hospital will be trusted alone with her child while she is still on their grounds. After all, this woman was only alone an hour and her baby died. It's not as if they were left unmonitored for a huge amount of time. A healthy mom and baby, after a normal labor and delivery (despite the dramatics of the article, 24hrs is normal for a first labor) are considered physically stable, and do not require constant, or even frequent supervision after the that first hour.

Kate CP - posted on 02/15/2011

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I'm actually inclined to agree with the poor woman who is suing. One of the "rules" to safe co-sleeping is to never do it while sleep deprived or on medications that can cause drowsiness as you may not wake up when the baby starts to move. Also, a NEW mother (one who has never had any kids before) probably should be given more tips and help then just "Oh, just fall asleep with the baby. It'll be fine!" Those hospital beds are NOT safe for co-sleeping. I think the hospital (or at least the attending staff) IS responsible in this case. And my God, this is a sad story. :(

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Jan - posted on 12/17/2012

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she has every right to sue them and i think the hospital staff is 100% accountable a new mom hasnt a clue what to do (at least i didnt) and also i was so tired and doped up on pain meds during the first 48 hours at the hopsital after the birth of my son that i can barely even remember them and a woman in that state should not have been left laying on her side with a newborn attatched to her breast without someone keepin an eye out for them.

[deleted account]

My thought is that we have a new mother who was already exhausted and emotionally wrung out from both the trauma of labor and the beautfiul thrill of her newborn baby. I do think that she needed more supervision but I dont' think suing the facility is the way to go.

When I wanted to have my son in the room (16 years ago), theywere pro-breasmilk but told me that I would not be able to co-sleep and if I wanted him to sleep in a bassinette instead, my husband or some other relative had to sleep in the other bed.

My heart breaks for her. But I think she is misplacing her guilt. I cannot truly imagine how it would feel if I accidentally killed my child. My gosh, I would be utterly lost and destroyed.

BabyBatter - posted on 12/16/2012

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Sometimes I pass out so hard I could smother myself to death, not to mention a wee little baby sucking at the teet.

Michelle - posted on 08/14/2011

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I fell asleep with my newborn on my bed. My husband had been holding him and needed to use the bathroom so set him in the boppy and made sure he was in a safe place. The nurse came in while hubby was not in the room and woke me; she offered to place my son in his bed. It wasn't done to make me feel badly or whatever, it was done so something like this didn't happen to us.

Christina - posted on 08/14/2011

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Laura, true, that might have happened. OR, the staff offered to take the baby and the mom said no.

Merry - posted on 08/14/2011

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Christina, maybe sheidd say I'm too tired tostayawake but they apparently said it's ok if you sleep.or maybe she thought that's what they said but the nurse didn't intendon saying it's ok to sleep. But either way it sounds like the mom thought she had the ok to sleep while feeding.
I know sleeping while feeding isn't always dangerous but it can be if the situation isn't setup right.

Christina - posted on 08/14/2011

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My big thing is why didn't the mom tell the staff she was too tired? I had been awake for almost 36hrs when I gave birth to my 4th child. I was so exhausted that I couldn't hold him. I tried to breastfeed, sitting up, and kept falling asleep. I made the nurse take him to the nursery because I knew if I kept holding him, I would drop him.

Becky - posted on 08/14/2011

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I had a c-section with my daughter and was at the hospital for 4 days. I was exhausted because I simply was not able to sleep much due to an allergic reaction to the epidural. The nurses were wonderful! They would bring my daughter in to BF and they would leave, but they would peek in the room every few minutes to make sure everything was fine. If they weren't busy (and if I didn't mind) they would sit in the room with me if no family was there (usually in the middle of the night). Because I was so exhausted for the first few days, they felt it was more safe to keep my daughter in the nursery at night since it was difficult for me to get her in & out of her crib on my own. I wanted my daughter with me more, but I understand why they would not leave her unsupervised. If I couldn't get out of bed by myself, how can I decently attend to her needs on my own should she need me to! And as several nurses pointed out - soon enough I'd be on my own, take advantage of the help & rest while I could! lol!

It's a shame that the nurses & hospital staff in this situation were not more attentive, but I'm not sure if I really agree that it's anyone's "fault." The nurses do have a job to do & other mom's & babies to attend to also. Mom should have asked more questions about BF if it's something she's never done before. Even if no one told her it was ok to fall asleep, if she's exhausted, sometimes you can't help it, your body shuts down & you sleep if you want to or not.

Merry - posted on 08/14/2011

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I see this is a few months old but I had to comment, ihad a short labor, 4hrs, and an unmedicated home water birth. Fia was born at 10 pm and by 2am she and I were safely asleep together in my bed. I had planned on bed sharing so it was already a safe place. We had a decent night sleep and every night since then has been the same set up.
This mom had too much going against her. Long labor, no knowledge of safe bed sharing, and not having a safe bed for bed sharing.
I don't think it's her fault or the hospitals fault. It was a tragedy. A horrible tragedy.

Caitlin - posted on 06/25/2011

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I co slept with both my daughters at the hospital, but not while nursing. I would nurse them and then go to sleep with them in my arms. They were only happy and calm when they were being held by me, so it was pretty much imposed. The first time around I was shown how to breastfeed on my side because My delivery had been pretty nasty and I was in a great deal of pain (no pain meds though - so I wasn't "impaired"). The second time around I took pain meds after, but nothing very strong, adn still kept my girl with me. If it is done safely,then it's fine. There is no way I could have fallen asleep while feeding my girls for the first 2 weeks or so because they weren't very good latchers and had to be constantly adjusted or re-latched, so there was no sleep during a feeding, but afterwards they were so happy curled up in mommas arms, I couldn't put them down. I also had some backup of course, while my hubby was there, he would hold them and let me get a nap, and when he wasn't I was rested enough to be aware of their cues. If they had been small babies I woudn't have been comfortable doing it, but they were both above 8 pounds, so it was easy enough to feel them move!

On the other hand, I researched co-sleeping beforehand, and originally had decided against it, but both my girls refused that option, and the only wasy either of use would sleep was co sleeping, so that answered that quetion right there. I LOVED my lazy-boy recliner for those middle fo the night feedings, and their alert phase that always happened around 4am, because I could hold them safely and still nod off if I needed to.

Vicki - posted on 06/25/2011

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What would the mother have said if her baby had fallen out of bed and died as a result of that?! would she still blame the hospital??

Whilst I sympathise greatly, I do think she could have waited until the baby was fed and sleeping before taking a nap herself, other exhausted mother's do it!! xx

Erin - posted on 06/24/2011

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When I had my daughter the nurses wouldnt really leave me alone. I was 19, and they wanted to make sure I had all the support I could ever need. They stayed by my side until I nursed sucessfully. They asked if I needed anything, and would check on me every 20 minutes or so. I cant imagine that a mother would assume its ok to fall asleep with a day old child in bed with her though...

Sneaky - posted on 02/18/2011

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Different hospitals have different policies in place, and I bet that QLD hospital has a no co-sleeping policy in place now.

Am I anti-co-sleeping? Nope, did it for months with my second daughter and was just not comfortable doing it with my first or third (squirmy babies that kept me awake). The problem is - we are living in Australia! Our SIDS and Kids association does NOT recommend co-sleeping! I found out in another discussion that Japan actually has the highest percentages of co-sleeping and the lowest percentages of SIDS, and co-sleeping is generally considered safe and natural in many countries in the world - but not here! I didn't even know that there were 'safe' ways to co-sleep, beyond an article or two I read when i was pregnant that said not to do it while drunk or on medication, my point being that in Australia health care workers (like midwives) are expected to follow the SIDS and Kids guidelines and NOT recommend co-sleeping, thus they tend to not give out information about how to do it safely.

And yes, I did say that IF it was an accident then I sympathize with the mother. a) I am generally suspicious of everybody, b) I think the world is not always black and white but shades of grey, and that some accidents are less accidental than others. Yes I am a cynical bitch. Sorry if that offends anyone, but I think it's too late to change my personality now.

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@ Tracey, To be a midwife it's one extra year on the nursing course so instead of 3 yrs at UNI it's 4.

Also i'm in NSW and like i said in an earlier post the woman across from me when i had my first was told to lay down to feed because the latch was easier.

I was lucky at the 2 hospitals i was in the midwives would take the babies into the nursery so that i could get some sleep and not wake to every little movement they made and as soon as they were hungry they would come and wake me and then if i got baby settled well they would leave us be.

[deleted account]

What you do in your own home is your responsibility 100% i feel.When in a maternity ward were there educated and trained in whats safe and whats not is there responsibility.I feel the hospital should not of allowed that woman or any woman to co-sleep.

I was told on my first child at 19, i did it as i respected the nurses and what they were telling me.I co-slept with my first child for 3 yrs after i did my research on the pros and cons.

After the second child and being so tried not being able to move after the c-section as normal and being doped up on Morphine i knew better but having a qualified midwife assure me it was okay to co-sleep in my state was absolutely WRONG.We cant assume all mothers know whats safe and whats not.It was the midwifes place of work and her job to make sure both mom and baby were safe.She failed by allowing her to co-sleep.By first-suggesting it to her,second -if a woman wanted to do it, by not educating the woman on the possible dangers in doing so.While in a hospital were safety should be the number one priority.

Stifler's - posted on 02/18/2011

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The nurses took Logan way for me because one of them came in while I was bawling my eyes out going "whyyy why won't you stop crying"..

April - posted on 02/18/2011

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It is not a matter of "knowing enough" that co-sleeping isn't safe. Tara already explained about safe co-sleeping. It is more of a matter of knowing yourself, knowing your body. As Mary already explained, labor exhaustion isn't the only kind of exhaustion. There's the I-was-up-all-night-because-my-baby-doesn't-STTN-exhaustion (there are other examples, too). You can be out of your mind exhausted at ANY time for whatever reason. You SHOULD be able to recognize when you're THAT tired. No one can do that for you....they're not you! My son is 2 and sometimes we bedshare...but not on the nights I know I am so tired that I might not feel him beside me! (We do have a gate on the bed, but still it's good practice to be aware of your child next to you)

Jenni - posted on 02/18/2011

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With both my son and daughter (I had c-sections for both).

I maybe slept 8 hours accumilatively in a 72 hour period with my son and 4 hours in that period with my daughter.

By the third night I needed help, seriously. My husband had returned to work. My daughter was extremely fussy and I couldn't lay her down in the bassinet because she just wanted to be held. I was buzzing the nurses because I was nodding off holding her in my arms. Full moon or something but everyone was giving birth that night. So the staff couldn't take her for me. Extreme lack of sleep, pain from the operation was taking it's toll, I think I sobbed the entire night. I was just so unbelievably overwhelmed and exhausted and nobody was there to help me. I wouldn't blame the hospital staff for it but they didn't tell me to just go to sleep with her while nursing. If they had, and godforbid that happened to me... I'd certainly blame them for the incident.

You should never co-sleep when you're that exhausted but how can you expect a new mother to know that? Especially in that state where she obviously wouldn't be thinking clearly and highly open to suggestion. Usually you trust that nurses and doctors are highly unlikely to be that negligent. Lack of sleep mirrors being under the influence of alcohol it's like that sad story about the man who killed his 5 year old SS because the police hauled his wife off to jail and told him to drive home even though he was under the influence.

Sneaky - posted on 02/18/2011

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To answer an earlier question, in Australia a midwife is actually a trained nurse who has to do an extra two years (? I think, it could be one year) of study to become a midwife.

I really do not know were I stand on this issue, my first impulse (being the cynical, depressing person I am) is to say: prove to me that it was an accident and the mother did not intentionally smother her newborn. It happens :o(

But let's assume it was an accident. After an exhausting 24 hour labour, how can the mother even be sure what the midwife said to her? Maybe the midwife said it was OK to breastfeed on her side and then she could go to sleep afterwards and the mother was so tired she just misheard.

As to the hospital, the fact that they did not have an anti-co-sleeping policy in place just smacks of negligence to me. At the hospital I gave birth in almost every piece of information I was given (pre and post birth) clearly stated the hospitals policy of not co-sleeping and if you were caught doing it - you got in BIG trouble, like the midwifes telling you what a terrible danger to your baby you are and making you cry kind of trouble (no I wasn't caught, a friend of a friend was).

I also had three babies (two different hospitals in two different cities) and while in hospital not one midwife (and if felt like I met 20 of them with shift changes, etc) ever encouraged me to breast feed in a laying down position. In fact I had natural births and every single time I was encouraged to get out of bed and breast feed sitting up in chair with a pillow on my lap because it would be better for my back . . . . maybe things were just a bit more relaxed in the QLD system because I was in the NSW system?

I think I am firmly on the fence. I think both parties were wrong but it is easier to sympathize with the mother :o(

Sarah - posted on 02/17/2011

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I think the hospital is totally at fault,,,after I had my son I had moments just hours after birth where I would just instintley fall asleep. exspecialy while breastfeeding.
At the hospital where I had my last they had nurses come in every 15- mins to see how your doing and how the wee one is.

Joanne - posted on 02/16/2011

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I would think as a mom you would automatically know enough not to fall asleep with a newborn for fear of anything happening even if a nurse did say it was ok. The mom could/should have suggested to nurse to bring infant back as she felt to exhausted to feed her infant. Not to sure if nurse/hospital should be held accountable. I believe it was a very sad accident to happen but my feeling ways more towards the mom she had to have know through instinct that it wouldn't have been safe anymore than it would have been if you propped a bottle to feed baby and walk away. Find hard to believe a nurse would advise this to be ok but one never knows, none the less again instinct is automatic and should have been followed. Just my opinion.

Charlie - posted on 02/16/2011

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I was in intense labor for over 48 hours I was so exhausted I was falling asleep at the end during the most painful contractions , Harry I was feeling a little euphoric afterward given the labor wasn't as intense but I still waited a couple of days before sleeping with him.

[deleted account]

Everything Mary N said i agree with. I was euphoric almost after giving birth and much like Mark i couldn't sleep but the day we got home and she was feeding ever few hours it hit and i would always wake my hubby because i knew i would fall asleep.

[deleted account]

Yes i agree with her claim.I was told after a c-section to do that, while doped up on drugs.I said no way, i shall feed her and back in she goes.I rang the bell when i was done for the nurse to put her back as i couldn't move.I could sit up and feed her.I needed help to get up to sit but i could lie back down myself.I cant imagine her heartache, god love her.

The nurse was left with mouth open, so i apologized and said, its best to be safe than sorry and she replied okay your not happy doing that, its okay.I knew the risks myself, i was shocked the nurse for one but the option to me, while i was on morphine and she knew that and how extremely tired i was as i told her that.I feel yes the hospital is responsible.

Lesa - posted on 02/16/2011

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I slept with my child while in the hospital too, I had c-section and didn't feel like getting out of bed every hour to breastfeed the baby then get up again 20 minutes later to put her back in. It hurt too bad. So I kept her with me. I didn't move while sleeping as it hurt but the nurses kept coming in and taking my baby from me and putting her back in the bassinet. This annoyed me. They told me to call them when the baby needed to eat. Whenever I did that it took them at least 20 minutes to come in to my room. By then my baby was hysterical. I just don't know how I feel about the lawsuit though as there doesn't seem to be enough information. This mom didn't seem educated enough about co-sleeping and that is enough to have made her say she wasn't comfortable with doing it. We trust hospitals and doctors too much to do what is right for us. If only we could trust our instincts the same way. Such a tragedy!

LaCi - posted on 02/16/2011

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My son was in bed with me the whole 3 days I was in the hospital, I'm sure I dozed off breastfeeding. He also slept in our bed the night we came home. I don't think the hospital is responsible, I don't believe cosleeping, or dozing off is dangerous in itself. I think this was tragic, it was also an accident. I don't believe its anyone's "fault," not the mother's, not the staff's.

Jackie - posted on 02/16/2011

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I was too tired after having my son... I nursed him for about 3 minutes and couldnt stay awake. The nurse took him to the nursery and he was given a small amount of formula in a bottle... didnt affect my ability to nurse him at all.

I can't imagine the guilt of that poor mother, if the nurse did tell her that falling asleep was okay then I think the hospital should be held accountable. I also see this though as the reason why cameras will be installed in maternity wards to ward off "she said, she said" claims.

April - posted on 02/16/2011

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It's true that you can become extremely exhausted several days after the baby is born. I do believe some women exist on adrenaline for a few days after. The key is to recognize that level of exhaustion in yourself. I want to side with this woman so badly, but it bothers me that she didn't seem to have any self-awareness (either to know she was that exhausted or to feel so comfortable about falling asleep. Me...I had to be reassured over and over before I would close my eyes. I was afraid of something happening or even just missing out on being with him!)

Mary - posted on 02/16/2011

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I've pondered this situation a few more times, done some additional research on this story, and read everyone's posts.

First off, the midwife in question denies telling this woman it was okay to fall asleep while nursing her infant. Rockhampton Hospital did not have a written policy about co-sleeping at that time (2008), but during testimony, it was noted that:

While breastfeeding, Ms Blomfield was lying down and Mrs Rapkins told the court the option to breastfeed lying down was considered acceptable, and that sometimes mothers were more comfortable lying down.

Mrs Rapkins said she “didn’t believe a mother was more likely to fall asleep while breastfeeding lying down” and if they did “the baby would be removed.”

The court heard that while the midwives would always remove the baby if they or the mother was found to be sleeping while breastfeeding, the hospital had no specific policies about co-sleeping or co-bedding.

Giving evidence on Monday, Ms Blomfield said she had been told by the midwife that it was okay to breastfeed and sleep, but Mrs Rapkins countered this.

“I would never have said it’s okay to breastfeed and sleep,” Mrs Rapkins said. “I never saw her sleeping.”


http://www.themorningbulletin.com.au/sto...


While there appears to be some question about the duration of time the patient and her baby were left unsupervised (due to the fact that the hospital clocks are not synchronized, the maximum amount of time she was alone with her infant was 45 minutes. To me, that is not negligent or an unreasonable amount of time for healthy and stable woman to be left alone with her infant. Was she exhausted? Obviously...but no where in her testimony did she say that she expressed this level of exhaustion to her caregiver, or in any way indicate that she was too tired to be left alone while nursing. Should it be assumed that she was that tired? No.

Not all women are that exhausted after giving birth. Her labor was not unusually long for a first time mother, nor were there any complications (at least, none that came up in any articles I read). Many women experience a hormonally driven rush after delivery, that can last for hours. I myself was so wired, happy and excited that I couldn't fall asleep for over 12 hours after delivery...I knew I should sleep, since both baby and hubby were out cold, but I simply sat quietly with her in my arms, watching her in wonder.

It brings up something that the advocates of co-sleeping have mentioned here about safety and the rules of "safe" co-sleeping. I'm not against co-sleeping; I often did it the first eight weeks. However, I disagree with the thought that it is always unsafe immediately after giving birth, but "safer" a day or two later.

As I said, I was pretty wired after having my daughter - in fact, I seemed to be existing on some adrenalin rush for about the first 3 days after delivery. It wasn't until my second night at home, when she was nursing every 1-2 hours, that my lack of any solid sleep finally hit me. THAT was when I was dangerously exhausted. THAT was when "unsupervised" nursing or co-sleeping would have been unsafe for me and my baby. Unlike this mother, though, I recognized it. At 2am, I woke up my husband, and told him he had to "watch" us as I nursed. I did fall asleep, and when she stopped nursing, he gently dislodged her, and held her while she slept, eventually laying her down in the bassinet next to me. I didn't stir at all, until the next time she woke. I'm honestly not sure if I was able to fall that soundly asleep because I knew he was watching us, or if I would have passed out like that regardless. Luckily, some inner voice just told me that I was too tired to be "safe".

[deleted account]

I used to fall asleep really heavy with our 2nd. We had recliners and it was just so easy to get comfy latch him and then i'd nod off but as soon as i felt i was going into a deep sleep i'd jerk myself awake. Somehow. Hubby didn't like it and would send me to bed i guess i'm lucky that i am so in tune with my kids that even now i will wake about 10 minutes before they do.

Stifler's - posted on 02/15/2011

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I used to fall asleep bottle feeding, it's easy to nod off at 4 am when you were in a deep sleep and you get up and warm a bottle out of the fridge and are sitting there rocking in the rocking chair. But I always woke up as soon as I felt myself being really really asleep.

[deleted account]

I dunno this is a really sad story and everything but this women sounds fishy to me. First off common sense, second I know plenty of moms who went a hell of a lot longer without sleep (I hadn't slept in two days before I delivered my son) who had no problem being coherant enough to put the baby back in its bed before going to sleep after BF. I could kind of see it if she had been all doped out on drugs but even still... Anyway what got to me is that her first reaction is to sue for money. If I really did feel like the hospital or anyone was responsible for injury or death to my child my first concern would be that they don't do the same to other people so I'd be suing for their job not $600,000. Also I'd be suing the person I felt was responsible in this case the midwife not the government. I dunno like I said very sad for her loss but I personally don't think she should win money from it. Sounds to me like a woman after money not a grieving mother. Sorry if I've offended anyone I just know far too many women who've lost children (a couple due to hospital and doctor negligence) none of which went after financial compensation.

Nikkole - posted on 02/15/2011

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This is truly a sad story and i feel both the midwife and this women are to blame!! I used to fall asleep sitting up after i had my babies i was soo exhausted that i didn't care which way i slept. I also co slept with both kids my son is 3 and my daughter is 7months but now she sleeps in her own bed

Melissa - posted on 02/15/2011

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:( Kate I remember that I got confused as to whether the crying was in my head or for real it was the strangest thing ever I slept in the lounge with the bassinette in here cause of the heating and my oldest was waking up as well because of a new baby in the house my oldest was waking more then the newborn asfter a while we had to leave her and I dont even know how long my oldest was crying at night. This lasted at least a 4month after the new baby was born. The new baby was the easy one. Sleeping 7 hours from 2 weeks old, 5.5 hours the day she was born (but this was due to formula feeding) . When I started EBF she started sleeping 2 hours between feeds for a while. Now both girls are angel so it will get easier before you know it.

And yeah not impossible to fall asleep sititng up I nodded up here and there (I fed her on the reclyners) I think its justwith breast feeding being so time consuming its very hard to stay awake and you know you have to, to make sure they are actually drinking. But Im pretty lucky mostly cause my kids are pretty good sleeper s(12-13 hours a night on a good night, whatever time they go to bed even if its 6pm they wont be up earlier then 7 or 8)

Kate CP - posted on 02/15/2011

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I've fallen asleep sitting up while nursing recently. It's scary to be THAT tired. That's how I know right now co-sleeping with my son would be SUPER dangerous. I'm just too tired to have him in bed with me. I'm already having a hard time waking up to his cries when he's in the bassinet right next to my bed.

*sigh* I can't wait for this kid to sleep 4-6 hours straight. That would be like heaven.

Bonnie - posted on 02/15/2011

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"thats horrible. I read some comments. Its not ok to fall asleep while feeding. Its happened to me couple times but is pretty impossible to fall asleep while sitting up uncomfortable anyway."

Mandy, I would have thought it was impossible to fall asleep sitting up, uncomfortable too until it happened to me more often than I would have liked. I was too exhausted and I would fall asleep in any position, truly comfortable or not.

Isobel - posted on 02/15/2011

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Loureen, I remember waking up once with hickies all over my boob...it was hilarious :D

Kylie - posted on 02/15/2011

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Sorry Sharon, I read your response as she was sleeping on the couch, my mistake. It's a very sad thing to happen to a new mum:( More babies die in their cribs than while co sleeping though.
I also just want to clarify..it was a two days after i gave birth that the midwife taught me how to breastfeed laying down and encouraged me to get some rest while doing so.

Melissa - posted on 02/15/2011

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@ Loureen I was exhausted also after a drug free birth and 22 hour labour and then having a baby with feeding problems who literally did not sleep for a week more then a few seconds at a time during the night and I had visitors during the day so your definately right I dont know what they were thinking advising that, and the only time Ive co slept with my 6 month old is on the couch a couple times and I have a rule never to do it unless shes been awake for more then 3 hours at a time during the night. My first baby we co slept on the couch or bed on rare occasions as well or we jst woudlnt have functioned that tired

Melissa - posted on 02/15/2011

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thats horrible. I read some comments. Its not ok to fall asleep while feeding. Its happened to me couple times but is pretty impossible to fall asleep while sitting up uncomfortable anyway. Never breast feed laying down if you are that tired you do risk falling asleep. She should have known the risks but at the same time young mums are very impressionable and she probably listened to them and thought they were right. With my first baby she wasnt sleeping for more then a few seconds here and there a night I was so sore from constantly feeding the only advice they could give me was keep feeding her and that I would just have to put her in bed iwth me. It didnt help and Im so glad something like this didnt happen to me I would be so devastated. After we put her onto formula a few weeks later she was a little more content at leasr not starving anyway. That poor girl. Midwives should think before that advise such things especially in this persons circumstances

Charlie - posted on 02/15/2011

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I co slept and fed often while sleeping it is natural and instinctive for babies to search for the nipple and latch during sleep mothers under normal , safe circumstances are aware even during sleep of babies position ( there is some amazing footage of this in a bed sharing study ) but like all parenting practices there are safe ways to do it .



Giving birth is EXHAUSTING and being exhausted is not the right time to start bed sharing it is one of the many rules to safe infant sleep .



They were negligent IMO to suggest bed sharing at that point in time and should have offered her information on safe sleep / breastfeeding practices before she proceeded .



I know in the hospital I gave birth in with my youngest they encouraged bed sharing but only after I was well rested and I was supervised at every feed to make sure baby was latching and receiving enough milk and that I was comfortable .



I do think the hospital is somewhat responsible .

Kylie - posted on 02/15/2011

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Falling asleep on the couch isn't co sleeping. I also know of a baby who was smothered when the mum fell asleep on the couch. She was up and down all night feeding and putting the baby back in the crib and was exhausted. If only she had someone to suggest safe co-sleeping because it saves sleep and sanity, then the baby might still be alive :(

Sharon - posted on 02/15/2011

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Lucky you. I know one woman who wasn't drinking, doing drugs or sleeping on the couch - who isn't that lucky.

Kylie - posted on 02/15/2011

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what!?! I sleep and breastfeed and both my children are both alive and well.

Sharon - posted on 02/15/2011

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But breastfeeding is natural? Why should someone supervise her?

I absolutely disagree in saying its ok to fall asleep while feeding your baby. I don't think it is. Not while breastfeeding or formula feeding. what a load of bullshit.

Not that I haven't done it. I just didn't do it on purpose.

I feel badly for her, but if she lacked even that tiny bit of common sense to stay awake while her baby fed, then the baby was going to die soon anyway.

Stifler's - posted on 02/15/2011

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I think legally if they said she could fall asleep without warning her that she might roll etc. they are at fault. Because exactly WHO thinks of those things when they just gave birth? They can't sit there and supervise every feed but they do come around and check on you every hour or so.

[deleted account]

With my 1st i was constantly monitored. They would pop thier heads in every hour or 2. I was told that they do not co sleep and they prefer to not let you lay down to feed due to having just given bith and how tired a mother gets.



There was a woman accross from me ( public system with 4 beds to a room) who was struggling to BF her baby sitting so they asked her to hop in bed and lay down to try and get the baby to latch. It worked. A midwife was with her the whole time she was in that bed laying down.



Midwives in the public system here in Australia run the maternity wards. Doctors are usually called only if there are problems. I had one aweful midwife who when i was having trouble feeding my daughter, she wasn't hungry yet, (she wouldn't latch on) Took her roughly from me wrapped her up and put her in her basinett on the other side of the room and told me to leave her until she is hungry and not let anyone pick her up. ( i had a broken leg to i couldn't get her) Lucky for me my visitors were just showing up and saw the whole thing grabbed my daughter and started giving her cuddles. The next day thought i had a beautiful midwife come in and my daughter latched beautifully first go with her help.



I didn't think it was policy in Australia to bed share. I would have to know more of that hospitals policies before i make judgement on the situation.



But i will say that i think it's strange that mothers instinct didn't kick in. As soon as my 1st was born i was very tuned into her.

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