Opinion | Sexuality

Baby Dies Aboard United Airways Flight: A Response

In our eagerness to assign blame, mothers usually bear the brunt of tragedies like this.

My mind is still reeling from the news that a 4-week-old infant was unable to be resuscitated after the baby stopped breathing on a flight from Washington, D.C., to Kuwait. The plane made an emergency landing in London, but the child could not be revived.

"Mom smothers baby breastfeeding on jet," the headline blared when I went to check my e-mail last Thursday. I quickly closed my laptop before my daughter could wander over and start reading over my shoulder. But I went back online later to read more, driven by the same compulsion that makes us slow our cars and look out the window when we pass an accident. All morning the headlines stuck in my brain as I cleaned the house, played with my children, and nursed my own baby.

Breastfeeding isn't the culprit, experts were quick to state (to my relief) when the news hit the press. Dr. Ruth Lawrence, past president and founder of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, was very clear in her interview with ABC News: "Breastfeeding doesn't smother ...

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