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


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

amber... amberdotsmom

I think there's some misconceptions here

1.  Who cares moms milk share all the time - yes but that's people who have been tested and are able to safely share milk, something we dont' know about this mom

2.  Well she's breastfeeding her own baby so she must be OK - likely she's been tested but addicted babies are born every day and those Mom's didn't care what they put in their bodies while they're pregnant and don't care what they put in their kids bodies after they're born. And other diseases we carry may be dormant in our bodies but still may be passed on. 

3.  Why don't they just check the Mom that feed the baby - They Can't!  They could possibly get a court order but if she doesn't want to be tested or tested again they otherwise can't force her to do it.  You can't be forced into any medical treatment without cause.  Even people suspected of intentionally infecting others with HIV would be tested through court order if they won't test willingly.  Yes there are exceptions, if you're not in your right mind or a life threatening situation where you're not able to give or withold consent but in this case the hospital can't force the mother to be tested (whether she should volunteer to do it to be nice is a separate question)

LeeAnne Evans

I feel like there's no way I wouldn't have known my daughter, she had sooo much hair and looked so much like me I doubt I could've mistaken another child for her.

FebPe... FebPenguins

Homebirth. Enough said.

lhiannan lhiannan

The issue is that they can't confirm or deny that the mother who breastfed the wrong infant has any of these diseases, since that would be a breach of confidentialtity.  Plus, I would want my kid tested as a precaution, anyways.

Worki... WorkingMom8479

This woman is making a fuss so she can sue the hospital.  That's it... 

Leah Ruszala

It's the mix of bodily fluids that has them worried.  Everyone is talking about the mother having aids and whatnot.  No.  How do you think AIDS starts?  It begins with the wrong mix of the wrong fluids.  That is why they do the testing.  Not because the mother obviously had it.  Both moms could be clean and baby could be clean... but it's the threat of Mom A having different fluids than Mom B, and Baby is genetically linked with Mom A. Mix of wrong bodily fluids starts HIV.

Erika Murray

they're actually finding that exclusive breastfeeding is LOWERING HIV transmission rates:  And besides, the infant is getting colostrum, not milk, and only drops of this precious stuff, not ounces. bunch of unneccesary drama

maryn... marynash88

Leah- WTF are you talking about? HIV is a virus, not a mixture of the wrong body fluids. Educate yourself on the disease before responding. :-/


Lisa Richardson

For everyone wondering why they didn’t just test the other mother, just because you get a negative HIV test result doesn’t mean you don’t have it. It could take years for it to show up on a test. Also, the hospital couldn’t say if the woman had it anyway so the baby needs to be tested just in case.

Miriam Kennedy

The woman who breastfed the other baby was just pregnant for 9 months. You do get sufficiently tested for HIV during that time unless you had like NO prenatal care at all. Duh. 

41-50 of 113 comments First 34567 Last