A grieving mum has warned against bottle propping after her son choked on the milk from his bottle and died.
Baby Alexander Masters was being looked after by his godmother Claire Sawyer on 3 October 2015 in England while his mother Chloe Masters was dealing with a back injury. Claire claimed she'd fallen asleep while giving Alex his bottle on the couch, but in a subsequent inquiry, the coroner ruled Claire was an "unreliable witness", and that "she had left the baby to feed in that way".
Coroner Stuart Fisher ruled that Alex had choked to death on milk, inhaling it into his lungs, after Claire had propped the bottle on a blanket while he was lying in a car seat. Claire fell asleep on the couch and woke up to find Alex leaning forward in his car seat, not breathing, and with a blanket over his face.
Alex was rushed to hospital, where he later died.
"It will always haunt me," Alex's mum Chloe told Lincolnshire Live. "I will never know what happened to my little boy that morning."
An inquest has found Alex Masters choked to death on milk in his bottle. The baby from Gainsborough died in 2015 after his godmother Claire Sawyers fell asleep on the sofa. The coroner Stuart Fisher has warned of the dangers of feeding babies with 'propped up' bottles of milk. pic.twitter.com/X9hYejsvx9— BBC Radio Lincolnshire (@BBCRadioLincs) February 10, 2018
The grieving mum also shared a warning with other parents who are bottle feeding.
"Never, ever, ever bottle prop under any circumstances. You could be put in this situation with your own child. I did it and thought it would never cause anything like this and I was supervising. But people can lose concentration."
Experts agree. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says caregivers should never prop up a bottle and allow a baby to feed alone.
"Not only will you miss the opportunity to bond with her while she feeds, but there's also a danger that she'll choke or the bottle will slip out of position," the AAP states. "Propping the bottle also increases the risk of ear infections. We do not recommend devices to hold a bottle in a baby's mouth – they could be dangerous."
Coroner Stuart Fisher also took this opportunity to warn against bottle propping.
"I would like to say how very sorry I am that your little boy died," he said. "It is always, for me, despite doing this for many years, always a great tragedy dealing with an inquest of a baby's death.
"What I would say, which I am not saying to lecture, perhaps what has come out of this is the great danger of bottle propping."