Breastfeeding Mom Kills Baby While Drunk


breastfeedingImagine 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.

How about you? Was this something that could happen to any mom or was this a direct "Mom did wrong, Mom caused the child's death" case in your eyes? Is it criminal?


Image via ODHD/Flickr

crime, breastfeeding, baby sleep


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Happy... Happypancake

How about a happy and uplifiting article now?...



Amber Welton

OMG this just sickens and me. I simply have no words. That poor baby....

Emily Enslow

I'm pretty sure she's learned her lesson. While I agree she is to blame, I don't think jail will help her, or her other children in the long run.

momav... momavanessa

Yes she should be charged!! She could of prevented it from happening. She is very selfish.

Rumsita Rumsita

I have to agree that she needs to be held responsible.  I'm a big breastfeeding & co-sleeping advocate, but I'm not a drunk-parenting advocate.

Just a point of order on the article - alcohol + co-sleeping (bedsharing, actually) does not equal an increased risk of SIDS, it equals an increased risk of smothering.  The causes of SIDS are still unknown, but the mother clearly smothered her child.

Jessica Colley Brown

This is one of those stories that makes my stomach hurt. I hurt for the child lost...such an awful, tragic way to die. And I also can not imagine the guilt that her mother must carry with her every day. I do believe that she deserves to be punished for the child's death. It was clearly her bad judgement that caused it. I don't know about prison though. She does have two other children who need her. Maybe some community service is in order, though...maybe a lot of it. Other mothers need to hear this story, especially ones who struggle with substance abuse. This is a prime example of a mother putting her own needs first. What was she thinking when she drank an entire bottle of wine...while breastfeeding!?! Very sad.

Young... YoungHold

"every parenting book out there warns that alcohol plus co-sleeping equals a huge increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome,"
Correction:  should be "equals a huge increased risk of death by suffocation".

I have mixed feelings.  I'd be in my own personal hell if that happened.  Can't decide if there needs to be legal action to.

Anna Parker

yes, she did wrong. i have a 5 month old baby and a 4 yr old and while i do drink sometimes, i never drink unless my mother keeps them overnight. when your a mother, the child should always come first. not making yourself feel good. although there are plenty of time i think "man, a drink would relax me so much right now." i always image my baby waking in the middle of the night needing me or sick and i wouldnt be able to care for her. so yes...she did wrong!

Katherine Carter Scott

I say that we do not know all of the facts of this situation. Why did this woman feel the need to down an entire bottle of wine without eating? Where was the husband?  Such a tragedy the baby is dead. This woman will be punishing herself  for the rest of her life.

Jennifer Lutz

I agree with Emily Enslow, she has two other children to think about and i don't believe you'd want them to be raised without a mother. Maybe some parenting classes should be in order. Thats so sad that it happened but i'm sure it was not her intent, although you'd think people would think a little more before putting an infant in bed with them while intoxicated.

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