Mom Gets 20 Years in Prison for Killing Baby With Breast Milk

A woman who stood trial for killing her baby by breastfeeding her has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. The new mom, Stephanie Greene, was on morphine for chronic pain and the baby seems to have died from a morphine overdose -- presumably gotten from Stephanie's breast milk. What a horrible scenario. But 20 years in prison? This is the kind of sentence reserved for the worst of the worst of society. There are people who have killed numerous adults who have gotten off lighter (take the teen with "affluenza" for example).

Greene was a nurse who also may or may not have been a morphine addict -- and who may or may not have been aware of the risk she was putting her baby in. All that is clear is that she was on morphine for pain and that her baby most likely died from a morphine overdose. Since there were no needle marks on the baby, authorities decided the drug was passed along through breast milk.

Greene is the first person in the country to be prosecuted with the "weapon" being a substance passed along through breast milk. If you think this is something that could never happen to you, let's think about whether or not you had several glasses of wine or a Xanax or something else that harmed your breastfeeding infant -- would you expect you could spend your life in prison for this? (Many prescribed and over-the-counter medications, including aspirin, are extremely dangerous to children. It's a slippery slope when we start handing down life sentences for what gets transmitted through breast milk.)

Whether or not Greene made the right choice or was the best mother in the world, this could be debated forever. But I'd like to go on record saying this is an unbelievably harsh sentence that has no compassion in it whatsoever. People who hire a gunman to kill their spouse get lesser sentences than this! A DuPont heir who raped a 3-year-old got no time in jail. Are light sentences just for the rich?

Was this a cold, depraved, sociopathic woman? Misinformed, negligent, and ignorant, maybe. But evil? Is this a woman who needs to be kept away from society? I don't think so.

Greene won't be eligible for parole until she has served 16 years in prison. While I agree she should have been charged and punished, given that she hid her addiction from doctors and as a nurse should have known this was dangerous (whether she did or not isn't clear but she should have), I find the sentence to be extreme.

Do you think 20 years in prison is the right sentence?


Image via Spartanburg Detention Center

child abuse, crime


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CLM3345 CLM3345

Ah, well you said she was the first charged for the weapon being her milk, so they needed to make an example out of her about how serious this is. Is 20 years fair? Maybe, maybe not. If she did know the morphine would harm/kill her baby, then yes.

youth... youthfulsoul

You must be joking. If she was a nurse she ABSOLUTELY 100% knew the morphine would pass through the breast milk. She deserves jail time.

This type of story is so sickening and yet we keep reading about it over and over again.

Movie... Moviebuff

She's a freaking idiot I guess breast isn't best.

nonmember avatar Britt

She was a nurse she had to know how bad that would be! She chose her addiction over her child! She put her child in danger. She needs to pay for what she did.

herma... hermajestylanie

A nurse KNOWS this. Plus, ignorance is NOT an excuse. This would be common sense. Additionally, as a morphine addicted nurse, she would be putting her patients at risk with every contact, as she would not be operating at her peak. This gross negligence absolutely deserves 20 years. Where was HER compassion for her baby? Where is it for her patients that she could kill while being on heavy doses of morphine? 

nonmember avatar QoM

Morphine is preferred for breastfeeding mothers as its passage into breast milk and to the baby is less than the pain relieving medicines. There are no pediatric concerns reported with breast milk, but the baby should be watched for sleepiness.

sterl... sterling21

Morphine is a very powerful drug and that has severe side affects and unbearable withdrawals. The pain killer is not meant for long term use, her doctor continued to prescribe morphine for 10 years sould be investigated. Also, the news article says there was enough morphine to kill an adult, how did it kill the baby and not her? Very strange case, if it was transferred through breast milk than the charge should be reckless endangerment of a child, if she purposely killed the infant through other means like mabye pumping milk and overdosing the baby through a bottle. And in that case it could have been her husband, they did a horrible job investigating this and a baby killer could still be on the lose.

zombi... zombiemommy916

I'm sorry, I absolutely do NOT sympathize...I was devastated to give up breast-feeding my oldest daughter due to the fact I was on painkillers for a severe uterine infection...the docs said it was safe but I just wasn't comfortable "drugging" my infant...this woman knew exactly what she was doing! She'd been on opiates for years AND she was a medical professional...

Avian... AviannasMama

I find this weird. What about when women are put on drugs after a csection..opiates..Sometimes heavy duty ones..and they can still breastfeed? I personally had to be on a small dose of dilaudid (which is similar or is morphine..can't remember) bc of complications during my csection and I could breast feed. Hmm seems fishy.

nonmember avatar Stephanie Bates

If the mother had killed her baby because of having meth in her breast milk would we even be debating this?! She was an addict no matter if her drug was a legal prescription or not...let her rot for breast feeding KNOWING she was a morphine addict...formula probably would have cut into her drug money though...

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