Mother falls asleep while breastfeeding, three-day-old child suffocated to death.

Tragedy at the Pertini hospital in Rome. 

It was just after midnight when a desperate cry shook the gynaecology department of the hospital. A 30-year-old Italian woman, who had been the mother of a baby boy for three days, was grieving.

She fell asleep while breastfeeding and her baby suffocated to death under the weight of her body. Next to the weeping woman was a nurse.

It was she who had noticed, moments before, that the mother was sleeping, crushing the newborn. The burden fell on her shoulders then, telling the woman what the waxy colour of her child’s skin meant. Now the public prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the tragedy.

The prosecutor’s office is proceeding with the charge of manslaughter. The autopsy will be carried out by Professor Luigi Cipolloni.

The mother is being treated as a victim, because her baby should never have been in her arms; someone at the hospital should have checked that the baby was returned to its cot after breastfeeding. It is protocol to do so because one of the main causes of infant death is co-sleeping, i.e. a baby no more than five months old falling asleep next to the parent.