Mother arrested after infant dies from drugs transmitted through her breast milk
A 30-year-old Pennsylvania woman is charged with killing her 11-week-old son by feeding him a lethal combination of drugs through her breast milk, authorities said.
Law enforcement officials reported that a woman from Philadelphia killed her 11-week-old baby by allegedly transmitting drugs through her breast milk, and now the self-described drug addict is being held on a homicide charge.
On Friday, 30-year-old Samantha Jones was charged with criminal homicide in the death of her infant, which took place on April 2. According to court papers, the child is identified as R.J. Fox 29 Philadelphia, said the baby reportedly died after being fed breast milk containing amphetamine, methamphetamine, and methadone quoting the Bucks County District Attorney’s office on the autopsy.
Jones told law enforcement that due to her addiction to painkillers, doctors had prescribed methadone as an alternative. The affidavit states that the mother had taken it during her pregnancy and had continued to take it until the death of her baby, according to the station.
Police responded to a 911 call by Jones' mother and found the baby in cardiac arrest. She had previously tried CPR on him. According to the affidavit, Jones had switched to formula three days before the demise of young R.J. She said at the time that the infant wasn't getting enough milk from breastfeeding although she had been feeding him right from the start, reported the station.
Citing investigators, Fox 29 reported that the baby was crying at 3 a.m. on the ill-fated morning. Jones said she was too tired to go downstairs and prepare a bottle of formula and so ended up trying to breastfeed him. Then, Jones said she fed the infant formula again at 6 a.m. She fell asleep right after and woke up to find her son's body pale, with bloody mucus coming from his nose. Currently, the mother is being held on a $3 million cash bail.
The station reported that Jones' other 2-year-old son is in the custody of his father. That being said, Jones' defense attorney argued for a minimal bail as R.J.'s death was not intentional in the least, according to a news release from the D.A.'s office.
Consult a Physician
Breastfeeding is often deemed the best way to feed your baby in the first year of its life. But you could harm your baby if you need to take medications or have an addiction to recreational drugs or even alcohol for that matter.
During your baby's infancy, it is highly imperative to be honest with your physician about the medications or recreational substances you're on. A doctor will consider two factors in making their recommendations to you for your baby's well being.
Firstly, it must be determined the amount of the drug that is being released into your breast milk. Secondly, the physician would examine the risk of adverse effects, both short-term and long-term, on your baby.
Having said that, the amount of drug excreted in your breast milk depends on how it enters your breast milk from your blood plasma, and of course, on the characteristics of the drug itself. One can determine the proportion of the drug that is in your breast milk by taking into account the milk-to-plasma drug concentration ratio. But this ratio is not an absolute measure as it varies over time. Other factors include the individual's breast milk.
Breast is best - but as we encourage breastfeeding, we need to be careful to keep the big picture in mind and not demonize formula feeding. By @drClaire https://t.co/Y3LtuslYEa #HarvardHealth #breastfeeding pic.twitter.com/VnEmlpslpC— Harvard Health (@HarvardHealth) July 13, 2018
It is not immediately known as to what level of a dose is safe for the baby, which is true for most drugs. And therefore, the therapeutic dose for infants is calculated by adjusting equivalent body weight. In most cases, it is at 10 percent. The exposure to the drug will generally be considered non-critical is the dosage received by the baby is less than 10 percent, although there are a few exceptions to the rule. Here are some drugs and their effects on infants.
If the mother is on cocaine, its breakdown products easily pass from her blood-plasma into the breast milk. Babies are highly sensitive to these substances. If exposed to cocaine or any of its by-products, the baby can experience tremulousness, vomiting, diarrhea, and extreme irritability.
For years, scientists have debated the effects of marijuana or cannabis products on breastfeeding. Some say that the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in the weed can gravely affect the child's nervous system. According to a long-term study, the baby may experience delays in motor development if the mother is a frequent user of the drug.
If a baby is exposed to Methadone while ingesting it through breast milk, they can experience sedation, respiratory depression, and the effects of withdrawal. Higher doses of the drug can be fatal. Medical reports suggest that if the mother is consuming up to 20 milligrams per day while breastfeeding, it is relatively safe. If she is taking any more than that, the concentrations of the drug must be monitored in both the baby's blood as well as the mother's breast milk. As a safer alternative to Methadone, doctors suggest taking Buprenorphine, which has similar effects.
When it comes to detoxification, a mother should discuss in detail her alcohol and drug use with her doctor as a rule of thumb and should follow their advice to the letter.