Mom Accused of Killing Baby With Her Drugged Breastmilk

A mother was charged with killing her infant after she allegedly snorted a powerful painkiller and then breastfed her newborn, who subsequently died. Reanne Pederson, 32, of West Fargo, North Dakota, allegedly snorted hydrocodone before breastfeeding her 4-day old son, Avery. A half hour later, little Avery Keith was unresponsive -- he died the next day. In this case, breast was not best, but worst.


Pederson had reportedly gone to sleep with the infant, and when she woke up to find her baby unresponsive, she assumed she had accidentally smothered him. Originally, it was reported that the mom passed out and suffocated her baby. But authorities now say it was actually the drugs Pederson allegedly snorted that killed him. Pederson has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Pederson had also reportedly admitted using drugs during her pregnancy. She reportedly also smoked meth before the delivery. The baby's grandmother, Lisa Miller, says the baby was born "shaking," which she didn't think was normal. Unfortunately for Avery, no one in the hospital seemed to notice anything amiss and he was sent home with his allegedly drug-addicted mom.

Miller is devastated by her grandson's death and says that the maximum sentence of five years in prison if her daughter is found guilty for negligent homicide isn't enough. She told Valley News Live:

If he was here with us, he could live to be 80, 85. What's five years? That's not justice. Five years is not near enough time for taking a life and that's exactly what she did. She took a life. She took my grandson's life.

Miller isn't even listed in Avery's online obit, so it's possible she and Reanne don't get along.

While it sounds like the mom didn't do this on purpose and is most likely struggling with drug addiction, once you're a mother, you do have to take responsibility for your actions, even if those actions lead to a death not intended. I'm sure the mom is gutted by what happened, but this was severely negligent.

Does every mom know that taking drugs while breastfeeding is a bad idea? Maybe not. I've heard even educated moms say it's fine to drink while breastfeeding. We really need to make sure moms have more information before they leave the hospital with a child.

Even if she didn't know the effect this could have by breastfeeding, taking a powerful drug that makes you pass out while taking care of a newborn is a terrible idea too.

Does she deserve more time in prison? That's a tough call, given that she is probably devastated and her baby's death is massive punishment already.

But she definitely needs to get clean before even thinking about having more babies.


Image via JoeShlabotnik/Flickr

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