A distraught mother has issued a warning after her baby daughter died of an infection in her sleep despite being ‘completely normal’ just hours before.
Baby Fleur Edwards died at just 13 weeks old due to a Group B Strep infection.
Her mother Emily Vandenbrouck, from Paignton, is now planning to mark what would have been her little girl’s first birthday.
She wants to raise awareness about the disease, saying she hopes no other parent has to go through the ‘heartache’ her family is subjected to ‘every single day’.
Emily said she thinks her three-month baby picked up the infection while attending a fundraising event for a relative the day before she passed away.
She said: ‘Fleur had been held and kissed by lots of people that day – probably somebody held her who hadn’t washed their hands after using the toilet.
‘I just want to raise awareness so that other families don’t have to go through the heartache that we go through every single day.’
Recollecting the moment she discovered her baby’s lifeless body, Emily said: ‘She went to sleep completely happy and normal. No temperature.
‘There was not a single thing wrong. She never woke up.
‘She loved her sleep and slept through the night. She was the model baby. She was in our room. It was her dad who found her first.
‘I grabbed her and did CPR but I knew as soon as I looked at her she was gone.
‘We thought we were dreaming. For a couple of weeks I kept trying to wake myself up.’
The mum released a family picture taken just hours before her daughter’s sudden death.
‘That photograph was taken at 6pm the night before – it is very precious because it’s the only one of us all together.’
Group B strep is a type of bacteria and lives in around 40% of people.
It is normally harmless but babies can get very sick if they pick it up in the womb or in the weeks after their birth.
In the last decade, national charity Group B Strep Support has recorded a 51 percent surge in the number of babies between 0 and 90 days getting infected.
If the infection develops in the newborn within six days of their birth, symptoms include difficulty breathing due to blood poisoning.
Those who have it between 7 days and three months usually develop it as sepsis or meningitis. After three months of age the infection is extremely rare.
The charity warned women that if they manage to detect the infection during pregnancy, they should get intravenous antibiotics on a regular basis until labour.
Emily and partner Ashley Edwards have now set up the ‘Fleur’s First Birthday’ event to help warn others of the risks.
Among those attending will be Fleur’s siblings Layloa, eight, and Rhys, five.
Emily said: ‘This is my way of marking her birthday – it’s difficult to know what to do when your baby has died.’
Emily hopes the initiative will keep parents in the know of what viruses their children may be exposed to.
Speaking about her frustration at never being told about the risk of Group B Strep, Emily said: ‘I think it’s disgusting. Pretty much 90 per cent of people don’t know about this. I cannot believe how hushed up it is.
‘I am a mother of three and I had never heard of it.’