Mother Breastfeeds the Wrong Baby Thanks to Horrible Hospital Mix-Up

Say What!? 113

baby The mother of a baby switched in a Minnesota hospital this week is understandably upset about the switch. But that's not what has Tammy Van Dyke really all hot and bothered. The newborn boy was breastfed by the wrong mother!

Think that's no big deal? For a second, I was right there with you. So she breastfed him, so what? At least it was a kind and loving moment. Except ... let's think about what happens when you breastfeed a baby.

You are giving that baby breast milk, something made by your body. You're giving the baby all sorts of good things: antibodies to diseases. But if you have something not so good in your body -- say an actual disease -- you've just put the baby at risk.

In Cody's case, he was taken into the room of a woman who had just given birth to twins. The other (wrong) mother started to breastfeed, but something felt off. So she took the baby boy off her breast and checked his name tag. He wasn't hers!

The switch was solved pretty quickly, but because breastfeeding had been initiated, Tammy's son has already had to undergo blood tests for HIV and hepatitis. That means additional needles going into this teeny, weeny little guy. And he's going to have even more as the months go on; he'll have to be tested again and again over the next few years.

As a mother, that's nerve-wracking. It's not just the fear of disease (although that is obviously the biggest concern), but the thought of your baby being put through additional pain over and over. I remember holding my daughter for her lead test, and seeing the needle coming at her tiny arm put tears in my eyes. We're supposed to protect our kids from pain, not have to sit there and watch it happen.

Would you be freaked if another mother breastfed your baby? What would bother you the most?


Image via limaoscarjuliet/Flickr

baby health, breastfeeding


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nonmember avatar Mariela

This is absolutely absurd. Every woman who is pregnant gets tested for a slu of venereal diseases. And OBVIOUSLY an unhealthy woman wouldn't want to breastfeed her baby if she knew there was a risk to her newborn baby. They are treating this poor baby as if he came in contact with HIV or hepatitis tainted blood! It was just breast milk! I've received donated breast milk for 6 women. 6 women who have all breast fed their babies. And my daughter is incredibly healthy.

Flori... Floridamom96

Yup, Rachel. If you don't need medical intervention to protect your life or the life of the baby why be in a place filled with germs when you give birth? Isn't that awfully risky? Pregnancy and childbirth are not illnesses or diseases.

Curllyq Curllyq

Why was the baby separated from mother in the first place?!?!  If you don't want to do the safe thing and birth at home, at least be smart enough not to send your infant to the nursery alone.  And, if that's just too much for you, check the frickin' name tag when the baby is brought back to you.  I know the hospitals around here check the tags of both mom and baby before handing over the baby.

Baref... BarefootGypsy

if the mother was breast feeding the wrong child, that means she was planning on breast feeding the correct child - HER CHILD.  She would obviously be aware if she has any diseases that could be passed on through breast feeding, if she was planning on Bf'ing her child. 

Sure, I'd be annoyed with the hospital for not paying attention, but I don't get the big uproar. 

three... threeforme157

I am surprised that the mom did not know that this was not her baby.  Most hospitals do have the bracelet alarm technology.  I loved all 3 of my hospital births and yes I did send my babies to the nursery.  I knew that I would be taking care of them alone as soon as I got home.  My husband works long hours and I have no family to help out.  I felt I needed to rest and take the nurses help so I could recover as much as possible.  

Michelle Calicchio

Ridiculous. There is no reason in the world that baby would have to undergo such tests. They would test the breast feeding mother and be done with it. And, the breast feeding mom was going to nurse her own babies - you think if she had HIV or other diseases transmitable through breast milk, that would have been known by the time she gave birth? Articles like this serve no purpose other than to scare new moms. So silly.

Andre... Andreamom001

1)  Big deal.  This woldn't bother me at all unless it was KNOWN the other mom had a disease.  2) Why do they need to test the baby?  The hospital should already know if the mom has HIV or hepititis  3) Have a homebirth--it's safer for mom and baby--if you are too high risk, then keep your baby in the room with you.

Karma Grant

I agree with everyone, if the other mother had been tested as all pregnant women/new moms are, then that baby is fine. Wet nursing use to be a huge thing. That was someone other than the mother breast feeding the baby.

While I'd be upset at the hospital making the mistake because it would make me think they could make other mistakes such as letting the child go home with the wrong mother, it wouldn't upset me too terribly that the child breastfed for 30 seconds.

Lauren Ercolano Benyo

Testing the mom who breastfeed should solve the problem. If a woman is healthy and lactating, milk sharing can be a wonderful thing and has saved many babies from being fed formula. Even the formula companies agree that breast is best. The real issue is with the hospital and the fact that they switched the babies in the first place.

Mrs.S... Mrs.Sparkle

I'm surprised at all the responses! It is absolutely nessasary that the baby be tested for HIV etc etc. That women may not test positive for HIV now but what if she did next month? In the health care field if I got stuck with a needle I would have to also test more then once for this exact reason. Some of you people need to learn a lot about these dieses

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