Breast is best ... except when your breastmilk is laced with hardcore drugs. Last year, an 8-month-old baby boy named Ryder Salmen died from a overdose, five months after his mother was found to have high levels of methodone (what drug addicts typically take to wean themselves off heroin) in her blood and told to stop nursing the infant. The mother Sarah Stevens, was recently charged with murder and two counts of child endangerment. All because she refused to do the best thing she possibly could for her baby and use formula instead of her breast. This story is so full of contradictions it boggles the mind!
What on earth was going on in this mother's mind?! -- well, besides her obvious drug addictions, if what is being reported is true. The fact that she even bothered to breastfeed in the first place (hopefully) says something about her.
Most mothers at least try to breastfeed because they know there are so many benefits for their baby -- and for themselves. It's an incredible bonding experience. The pleasure of holding your baby, and giving them what no one else can, can be highly addicting too!
Clearly this woman was in no state-of-mind or condition to take care of that baby -- which is why the child protective services department assigned to her case is now being criticized for not treating this situation with more urgency.
Social workers discovered high levels of drugs in the child's blood after he was brought to the hospital for being "lethargic." Stevens was warned that in order to keep custody of the child, she'd have to stop nursing.
But something fell through the cracks with this plan and it was never agreed upon by managers -- and in the meantime, Stevens was still caring for the child.
Clearly, prosecutors feel that Stevens, regardless of her condition or dependency issues, was still able to make parental decisions or they would not have charged with a crime as hefty as murder. Why that and not manslaughter? Are they suggesting she actually intended to kill her baby with drugs? That would take this crime into a whole new dimension on this case and we shudder at the thought.
What do you make of a murder charge as a result of breastfeeding?
Image via Sacramento Sheriff's Office