The Breastfeeding Police Should Have Made This Mom Use Formula

Heartbreaking 137

murder by nursingWhile there are a zillion benefits of breastfeeding, we ignore the downsides at our own peril. Stephanie Greene, a South Carolina woman being charged with murdering her 5 1/2-week-old baby, would know this better than anyone. Because Stephanie breastfed her infant while she was taking morphine, and her baby died of a morphine overdose. She is now facing charges of homicide by child abuse because she firmly believed breast is best. Also, because her research did show that taking morphine while breastfeeding was not a danger to her baby. So now who's to blame for the death of baby Alexis?

This case is incredibly complicated, and we only know bits and pieces of what's going on in the courtroom and what happened in the Greene home. The one thing we do know is that it's heartbreaking, and we should try to learn from this tragedy.

Stephanie Greene suffers from fibromyalgia and chronic pain, and was taking morphine during her pregnancy and after. She was also called an addict in this article, and it's unclear which scenario is more accurate. What is clear is that Greene lied when doctors asked her if she was taking any medication when she was in the hospital giving birth to her daughter. Greene claims, as a nurse herself, she knows the history of taking babies away from mothers who are on medication. Which means she also knows the dangers of mothers being on medication, one would assume. It's confusing, but one thing that is obviously disturbing is that Greene hid her morphine use from physicians, and perhaps did not use her best judgment in this area. Or when she chose to breastfeed when she knew what she ingested also went into her tiny baby.

What I don't understand is how a mom could think her breast milk was somehow healthier than formula that did not contain potentially lethal narcotics. I'm hoping she wasn't listening to breastfeeding fanatics who think that breast is best, no matter if you've been smoking, drinking, and shooting up. (You are out there, and you know who you are.) Because obviously, that is not true.

Now if bad judgement can lead to a murder charge, well, that's frightening. We've all had moments in child rearing where we made mistakes. We're simply lucky they weren't deadly. There are also plenty of mothers who have nursed their babies while under the influence, and the baby did not die. But whether or not every breastfeeding mom kills her infant is not particularly relevant in this case. Because a baby is dead of an overdose. This baby, in this case. That should be enough to make us all wake up and realize that sometimes, breast is the worst option for your baby. But it seems to me that Stephanie Greene has already suffered enough without calling her a murderer.

Do you think Stephanie Greene should be charged with murder?

Image via blmurch/Flickr

baby health, breastfeeding, newborns


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femal... femaleMIKE

She sounds like an addict.  They tend to hide their addiction.

Yes, she should be charged with the baby's death. 

Ms.Pu... Ms.PuNkrOckStar

A NURSE? She def. needs to be charged for killing her baby. . .

nonmember avatar Shelly

The article linked is VERY biased to the mother. I don't trust it. You don't "hide" things from doctors, if you know your legit. She was an addict. She killed her baby.

nonmember avatar Shelly

A better article.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

She's a drug addict who knowingly overdosed her child with the drugs that she's addicted to. That's murder.

fluff... fluffnera

Though it appears we may not know the WHOLE story, I find it strange the docs who helped her have her baby didn't know her history unless she went out of her way to go to a different one than had been seeing her all through her pregnancy, which is a red flag there.

She may have genuinely thought morphine in the breastmilk would cause no issues, though I doubt it, and maybe a manslaughter charge would suffice.  However, I do think some extensive psychotherapy and analysis needs to take place to figure out her state of mind.

dirti... dirtiekittie

if the woman was a nurse and 'hid' the info about the morphine because she 'knew' they would take her baby away - well that's pretty telling to me. sorry, but you purposely withheld information from your dr's, and it was to hide a narcotic (most likely) addiction. yes, she should be charged.

also, @rae - fibromyalgia has very little, if ANYthing to do with weight loss. it is a disease marked by chronic and widespread body / joint pain. while i believe we overdiagnose everything, i think a blanket statement like "lose weight" is really uncalled for, and doesn't even apply.

nonmember avatar emily

What "breastfeeding fanatics" think it's ok to shoot up, heavily drink, or do drugs while nursing??? Sorry, I've never met a druggie breastfeeding nazi.
Sounds like someone is a little bitter.
Sorry, but this post is ridiculous. How are you turning this into an anti-breastfeeding rant?? How many children have died from bad formula? Should we rant about how they should have nursed and their kids would still be living?
Taking a case like this where someone is clearly negligent has nothing to do with "breastfeeding police.' Sometimes people do stupid things and sometimes those things have lethal consequences.
Breastfeeding IS best, as long as you are not a drug user!! Duh.
It's like having a child die from getting strangled in car seat straps cause a negligent mom installed it wrong and then arguing that driving without a car seat is better.

mem82 mem82

This article is so sad. That poor baby! Why would you take morphine while breastfeeding? Especially without a doctor knowing?

Kritika Kritika

I was watching "I'm Pregnant and...Addicted to Drugs" a few weeks ago and this girl was taking methadone her ENTIRE pregnancy. Her baby was born addicted to it of course and the baby was in so much pain and had to put on morphine etc....meanwhile the mother was acting like mommy of the year with her baby in ICU. I was so angry! Why wasn't she arrested as well?

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