The 25-day-old baby girl was at her breast and feeding, last when her mother had seen her. Overcome by exhaustion and not yet accustomed to the odd hours of being a new parent, the mother drifted off to sleep. When she woke up a few hours later, she found her baby not moving and lying on the mattress next to her hip.

What is all the more tragic is that the young mother had not realised that a chance shutting of the eye while breastfeeding her baby could lead to her daughter’s death. The distraught mother could not understand how it could have possibly happened. The incident was described in detail in The Northhampton Chronicle when the court heard a case regarding the infant’s death in June 2016.


Her baby had been whiny and clingy often crying out and acting cranky in the nights previous to her death. The young mother was just getting a hang of things and had tried to settle into a feeding pattern but on that fateful day, her baby was crying in her cot. The sleep-deprived mother woke up and in a daze picked her child up at 3.30am and began to breastfeed her. It was the third time that night that the woman had woken up. The mother fell asleep sitting upright with the baby still at her breast and then when she woke up at 7.15am, her baby had died.


The couple had previously been told they could not become pregnant and this baby girl was a surprise to them. The infant was also prematurely born and was underweight. It was a happy birth which suddenly turned tragic.


The post mortem mentioned it as a case of accidental death and coroner also added that the public should be warned that such an incident might happen with new parents. The cause of death was attributed to a condition called overlying.


This happens when the baby’s feels suffocated. The infant’s airway is obstructed as it lies against its mother while feeding and such an incident could happen anywhere. Doctors warn against breastfeeding and then falling asleep in bed with your baby. Most mothers fear sleeping with their baby on the bed as even rolling over and suffocating the  baby is a possibility. In general, doctors warn that sleeping with your baby can be risky if your baby was born premature, had a low birth weight or is under 4 months.