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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Britt Coleman

I have had seven children and i knew everyone of my kids faces from the moment of birth, hell how could she not be able to tell...

JustT... JustThe10ofUs

Nurses at our hospital check the name tag of baby and mother (number coded) before handing the baby over.  This must have been at a small unsecured hospital.

Hattie O'Brien

Meh. So the baby got some milk. Often HIV doesn't not transfer through breast milk and most babies get a hepatitis shot anyway. Not a big deal. The switch however is a big deal.

nurse... nursemama88

Because it is protocol people. That baby came into contact with someone's body fluid other than his mother so he must be tested. This is just like if I as YOUR nurse got peed on, spit on, pooped ob, or got stuck by a needle used on you. I would go through the same tests as this child even though you may not have a disease for my safety. Honestly we don't know what you have unless it is disclosed by you or you are tested at thay time and that is why everyone is treated as infected.

femal... femaleMIKE

I think the hospital is doing this to Cover their asses.  They already know if this woman have it.  They want to make sure the baby is clean just in case in the future the child ends up having it, then the hospital can turn around and say "we tested him several times and he was negative, He did not get it here"

I would be angry that my child was mixed up.  There was potential for the baby to end up going home with them.  I doubt the little bit of breast milk the baby took would cause illness (or am I too naive...maybe I am)

Kim Lamont-Gillispie

in response to Ethans Momma in some situations you may not recognise the baby, for instance what if it was emergency c-section you had to be put under, or what if they had to immediately remove the baby for medical reasons. I know i Did not get a good look at my child til a couple hours later, due to c-section and them quickly holding them up for me to see i could not get a good look. Then they bring the child in your room later.Theres many reasons a woman may not recognize them at first.  Its a shame that has happened and I think its terrible they sometimes dont pay enough attention to the ID's. Lets just be glad this woman was not sent home with the wrong child and hope the baby will be ok and did not get passed something bad from the other mother.


nonmember avatar reynsl

um .... why wouldn't you test the mother who mistakenly fed the baby boy? test her with the slew of tests that I went through to donate breast milk and determine if she's even carrying anything instead of subjecting the infant to unnecessary pokes .... just a thought from a medical professional

Alixandra Mullins

No I wouldn't be freaked. You would think the mother who breastfed would already know if she had Hep or HIV & could communicate it. In ancient cultures wet-nurses (not the mom) ALWAYS fed the babies.. Milk sharing is not a terrible thing and can in fact be lifesaving. Yes, its lame there was a switch, but I'd be much more upset about a switch...!

Birth Navigators

I believe the most horrible thing about this is the is the medicalization of the birth that should be a natural bodily process instead of a sterile clinical experience. I find the whole thing grossly disturbing.

amiec... amiecanflie

What really boggles me is HOW DO YOU MIX UP YOUR BABY?!?!?!?! Maybe it's jsut me, but my son was extremely distinctive looking(full head of dark hair, tan skin, ears that stuck out just a little) and I jsut don't understand how ANYONE can get their baby confused. >.<

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