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It's a sad story.
A few days ago, the mother of a newborn boarded a transatlantic flight and put her infant to her breast, just as so many of us have done to feed and calm our babies. She dozed off with the baby presumably lolling on her breast, which all sounds pretty familiar. But here's where the story turns highly unusual and horribly tragic: The woman, who news accounts have not identified, woke to find the baby dead, presumably asphyxiated.
Police did not go into detail about how this may have happened, but as a new mom you may wonder: Could it be? Is it possible to actually hurt your baby by breastfeeding?
If you are as exhausted and as emotionally strung out as I was during the beginning weeks of my first child's life, you are probably seriously weighing that question. When you're first stepping into the role of mom, anxiety comes careening at you from all directions. Things that seemed perfectly benign (or even fun) before you had a kid are now potential sources of danger. (Example: You probably figured out that you shouldn't ride on the back of your husband's motorcycle with a newborn, but did you realize that honey is off-limits for infants?)
Before you quit breastfeeding out of paralyzing fear, this seems like a good time to give you a little reminder: Every scrap of scientific evidence on breastfeeding concludes unequivocally that when it comes to feeding your infant, breast still is best.