NOTE: Drug use and parenting is always an emotive topic. Mum Central does not endorse or encourage illegal drug use. We choose to share this information believing that, should parents or breastfeeding mothers choose to take drugs, this knowledge may assist in keeping their infants and children safer than without it.
A drug-addicted mother who killed her newborn baby with toxic breast milk has been convicted but escaped prison in the USA.
Samantha Jones’ ten-week-old son, died after ingesting a combination of methadone, methamphetamine, and amphetamine, The Sun reported.
The mother who is described as ‘loving her son more than life’ made the fatal misjudgment of breastfeeding despite knowing that there was a cocktail of drugs in her system.
In a controversial decision, a judge has this week announced that Samantha will avoid jail. She will, however, be sentenced to three years of probation and 100 hours of community service, after she agreed to a plea deal.
The inquest in 2018 showed that the infant died from a cardiac arrest caused by a combination of methadone, methamphetamine and amphetamine in its bloodstream.
Jones allegedly told police that she had been primarily breastfeeding the baby but switched to formula three days prior to the infant’s death because he wasn’t getting enough milk. At around 3 a.m, the baby began crying and Jones allegedly told police she tried to breastfeed the child because she was too tired to go downstairs to get a bottle of formula.
Bucks County District Prosecutor Matt Weintraub told the court: “Mrs Jones made a conscious choice to feed her baby breastmilk, which she knew would be laced with illegal drugs such as amphetamine and methamphetamine, along with methadone.”
Jones pleaded, “I never wanted this to happen. I loved my little boy more than anything. I have to live with this every day.”
The presiding Judge, Wallace Bateman, said jailing her would be pointless, as she was already suffering the true penalty of regret and grief. Jones was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Not the first infant death related to meth poisoning this year
In March this year, another case of infant death from meth-laced breast milk was reported by Mum Central.
Brandie Froeba, 35, was arrested for second-degree murder after her daughter, Daisy Marie, died. She had been breastfeeding her newborn while using methamphetamines.
An autopsy of the baby’s body revealed that she was not a SIDS victim (as claimed by the mother) but had died of methamphetamine toxicity.
The toxicology report from the baby’s autopsy, texts on Froeba’s mobile phone and previous drug test results culminated in the mother’s arrest. Froeba was charged with one count of second-degree murder and her sentencing is still pending.
Important facts on drug use, alcohol, and breastfeeding
For more information on drug use and breastfeeding Healthy WA provides this information:
Alcohol and breastfeeding
When you drink alcohol, it passes into your breast milk. There is no known safe level of alcohol consumption while breastfeeding. Even drinking small amounts of alcohol may reduce your milk supply and possibly cause irritability, poor feeding and sleep problems in your baby.
You should avoid alcohol in the first month after your baby is born until breastfeeding is well established. However, if you are going to drink alcohol, you should:
- breastfeed before drinking alcohol, or express and store breast milk before you drink
- limit alcohol to no more than 2 standard drinks a day
- avoid drinking immediately before breastfeeding
- ‘pump and dump’ breast milk to help keep your supply and for comfort if you are not feeding for an extended time.
It takes about 2 hours for the average woman to clear from her system 1 standard drink – therefore 4 hours for 2 drinks, 6 hours for 3 drinks and so on.
Drug use and breastfeeding
- If you use amphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine or heroin, you should not breastfeed for 24 hours after use.
- If you smoke cannabis or tobacco you should breastfeed your baby before you smoke, and smoke outside and away from the baby. Do not have your baby in the same room as the smoke.
Find out more about using over the counter medications and prescription medications when breastfeeding.
There is mixed information regarding methamphetamines and its transfer to breastmilk, with a lack of conclusive studies on the topic at present. The drugs and lactation database is a good resource until further information is available.
If you think your baby has been affected by your alcohol, drug or medication intake call an ambulance immediately. Take the drug or medication with you to the hospital.
Alcohol and drug use as a parent
Using drugs (including prescribed medication) or alcohol may make you fall into a deep sleep which can be dangerous for your baby. Obviously not using drugs at all is the best choice as a parent, however, if you are going to use drugs or drink alcohol:
- Do not have the baby sleep with you in your bed – always put your baby in his or her cot.
- You may not wake for the baby’s next feed, or if the baby becomes distressed.
- Make a ‘safety plan’ – have a responsible adult to take care of the baby if you decide to use drugs or alcohol.