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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ninje... ninjenise

Really doesn't seem like that a deal to me.  Isn't there some type of group that takes donated human milk for babies that need it?  It would have been much easier to test the mom for the diseases.  I don't really get the big deal.  If we can administer donated blood products after testing the doner, why would the breast milk be that much more risky?  It does say something about their method of taking the babies to the moms though.  They really should be a little more organized when there are so many tools available to help avoid this type of mix up.  I mean if the mom was able to tell by checking the name band, I would assume the nurses would be doing this too, and that it is likely hospital policy or something to check the name band prior to giving a baby over.

TDLyric TDLyric

For all the people saying test the best fed mom or just look at her records, that is against the law. They have no right to her medical records. So they likely don't even know who the other mother is because it would violate privacy laws. So, they do have to test the baby. There are also a lot of people out there who would best feed their child even if they were sick. There is an actual group that doesn't believe HIV is real. So yes her baby really does have to get checked out. I would be devastated. That is such an important bonding time. How terrible. Also in the hospital they take babies for tests frequently even if they room in. I'm surprised this happened what with all the new technology. I guess this hospital hasn't updated to the new systems yet.

nonmember avatar Ashley

I remember as a child my sister was getting a shot and the nurse dropped the needle. It went into the nurse's shoe and because it "may" have broken her skin they wanted to run blood tests on my sister who was 2 at the time. My mother refused to have the tests done. This mother could have done the same. They draw plenty of blood following delivery that they could have just tested the "wrong" mother's blood for any diseases. People need to remember that they have the right to approve or refuse medical treatment/procedures.

nonmember avatar Jack

Didn't this happen in "The Office" when Pam breastfed for the first time but it was the wrong kid?

nonmember avatar Richene Vanderf

One of my fears would be of the newborn could possibly reject the real mother after having the wrong mother's milk. The correct mother will not have the same scent and taste. There may become a problem with not getting the good antibodies along with not having that close bonding between mother and baby as well

nonmember avatar Casey

Not really as big a deal as they make it. Sure there is the potential for disaster but accidents happen and noone is perfect. Instead of blowing up all retarded like take it for what it is, an accident, and move on and be thankful it wasnt worse. As far as all these checks... sure an initial round to be on the safe side but otherwise anymore is moronic. All those checks are done on the mothers to begin with. Chill the eff out. On a sidenote, you can test the breastfeeding mother instead of putting a baby unnecessarily through it. Retards.

mmwillow mmwillow

I have some serious questions about this story.  The first being was the other mother infected with something contagious?  If not then this truly sounds more like a scare tactic from the hospital to drum up more money than reasonable conserns.  Afterall I've been donating milk directly to families since 2006 and there have never been any similar concerns.  If the other mother had issues of a contagious illness then in all likelihood the she was on medications to reduce the risk of transmission and as a result a single breastfeeding encounter would be an extremely low risk of infection.

Maria-Victoria Medina

They actually can not tell the mother if her child was breast fed by an HIV or Hep positive person. That is a HIPAA violation. Because of this, then the child has to go through the testing to be sure. That is how the health care system works. Even if an employee is stuck by a dirty needle it is the same protocol.

Dawn Rodgers Morehouse

Well, testing for HIV and some other diseases one clean test is not a clean bill of health. They must be repeated over time as they can lay dormant in the body for potentially years. Obviously the hospital staff did not check the tags well enough before leaving the child with the wrong mother, she spotted the difference when she looked. I am sorry they will have to do the testing too..but grateful it didn't progress into a much longer separation ala "Switched at Birth"

nonmember avatar Ghanimatrix

Wet nurses have been around forever. My 2nd son was supplied with breast milk for several weeks by a friend of mine. This is SO not a big deal - unless the woman who breastfed the baby was actually Hep or HIV positive, something the hospital should already know if she delivered there!

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