Mom Warns This Little Known Breastfeeding Complication Almost Killed Her Baby Boy


Many mothers who choose to breastfeed do so with the belief that most issues they have will be solved naturally, with time and experience. While this may be true for a lot of women, there are many out there who need a little extra help to spot serious problems most of us simply aren't trained to look for. After her newborn almost died of dehydration, one woman is urging other mothers to be aware of a little known breastfeeding complication.


Deseray Valdez's newborn son had only been home for a few days before she grew concerned about his health. Soon after passing his first checkup with flying colors, the baby's skin began to change. "He was getting yellow on me,” she told KRGV. Panicked about these sudden and unusual changes, Valdez rushed her son to the hospital to be checked out. It was there that she found out her newborn was starving and critically dehydrated.

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The mother also learned that she had only been producing about an ounce of milk at a time. Valdez and her son spent three long, worry-filled days in the Intensive Care Unit until it was safe for the baby boy to go home again. "It was very terrifying,” the mother recalled. "Knowing that my child could have died on me and then getting high levels of jaundice due to the dehydration. It was just devastating for me."


KRGV spoke with lactation consultant Burlene Carrizales who said that what happened with Valdez and her son isn't at all uncommon. She says that she has had dehydrated infants come in to see her many times. Carrizales also claimed that the signs are relatively easy to spot if you are looking out for them. "Many times they are weak or lethargic. You can imagine if you have a stomach virus and you’re mildly dehydrated, you are going to feel weak not have very much strength, babies are going to feel like that also," she said. 

The lactation consultant explained that dehydration in infants that stems from breastfeeding can happen for a whole host of reasons. Sometimes it is caused by underlying health issues in the child and/or mother, while other times the infant's latch can cause milk production delays in the mother. Carrizales says that each case is different but reiterates that it is always important to be able to recognize the signs of starvation and dehydration in infants. "So by monitoring the babies wet and dirty diapers, by monitoring the baby’s weight gain, looking for signs of satiety after the baby nurses, that will show a mother that her baby is getting enough milk from the breast," she notes.

According to, signs of dehydration in infants include things like little to no urine, sunken eyes, tearless crying, extreme restlessness or extreme lethargy, or meconium that lasts for several days. 

Valdez says that her son is now 3-years-old and is doing just fine with no lasting effects from his near-death experience. Her case is a part of a larger study, looking into women who can't produce enough milk. 

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The mom shared that it was medical issues that kept her from producing enough milk, but she does wish that she had been able to recognize the warning signs in her son earlier. "You’re always told here that breastfeeding is best," she told KRGV. "You’re a mom, it’s natural that the milk is going to drop. You’re going to have enough milk to provide for your baby. It was not the case [with] any of my three babies."

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