A couple from the US has been charged for killing their 10-week-old daughter by diluting the breastmilk they gave her.
Allegedly, the couple either received breastmilk donations or bought breastmilk, said an article. They then watered-down the milk to stretch its volume and fed this to their baby. This caused the infant’s electrolyte and sodium levels to drop, which made her brain swell and led to her death.
“A baby's electrolytes are at fixed levels and do not adjust well to change,” said Dr. Ashanti Woods, pediatrician at Mercy Medical Center in the US. “These low levels of electrolytes can result in confusion, lethargy, seizures or death.”
Breastfeeding USA Counselor Rachelle Lesteschen agrees, telling parents not to worry if they think their baby isn’t hydrated enough. “Breast milk contains the perfect amount of nutrients for a baby's growth,” she said.
Woods also reminded parents that, as with breastmilk, not to dilute formula milk. Preparation instructions given by the baby’s pediatrician and those written on the back of the formula container should always be followed.
“Understandably, some parents, when they notice they are getting low on milk, may consider adding less powder to a baby's bottle, which ultimately changes or dilutes the baby's feed into more of a water bottle and less of a milk bottle,” he said.
There are many risks to a child’s developing brain if the child is given diluted breastmilk, experts warn. It could lead to problems with behavior, memory, and in worst cases, death.
Talk to your health care professional if you feel like your milk supply isn’t sufficient for your baby’s needs. There are safe milk donors found all over the metro as well, like this recently opened milk bank in Quezon City.
Sources: May 8, 2015. "Why diluting breastmilk can be dangerous". sheknows.com May 1, 2015. "Idaho breastfeeding experts warn about diluting breast milk". ktvb.com