Calgary mom Shelby Herchak was handed a 5.5-year sentence Tuesday after earlier confessing to killing her newborn baby.

Though she never explained what happened, Herchak pleaded guilty to manslaughter last October.

Daniel Herchak died in 2010 of blunt force trauma inflicted by his then 18-year-old mother, who had been out drinking with friends.

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Shelby Herchak pleaded guilty last fall to manslaughter in death of her infant son four years ago. (Facebook)

Doctors said the baby suffered injuries to his head and neck and died 10 hours after being admitted to the Alberta Children's Hospital. An autopsy showed the 26-day-old baby’s skull had broken in two.

“It breaks my heart to know she could have inflicted that kind of damage on a baby,” said Susan Lloyd, the baby's great aunt.

“He didn't do anything to deserve that.”

The Crown had asked for a sentence of seven to eight years, while the defence requested a less than five-year sentence. Lloyd said she was hoping for the full eight-year sentence.

“She would have been more mature, she would have seen the severity of her actions, what she did and she would have actually got the help,” said Lloyd.

“I've never bought my niece’s remorse. She's very good at saying what she needs to say to get you to feel sorry for her.”

2.5 years left on sentence

Herchak told the court earlier in the trial that she should have reached out for help with her young son.

The 22-year-old cried when the sentence was read in the Calgary court.

“I think those were tears of relief,” said Herchak’s lawyer Kim Ross.

“She's glad this is all over now.”

With three years already served, Herchak has 2.5 years left on her sentence.

"You caused Daniel incredible pain which lasted several hours ... and a much too early death," said Justice Kristine Eidsvik when handing down the sentence.

She also urged Herchak to get help for anger and substance abuse problems.

"You have a long road ahead ... take it one day at a time," said Eidsvik.

With files from Meghan Grant/CBC