Hospital Gives Mom Wrong Baby to Breastfeed

baby mix upWhat would you do if a stranger breastfed your newborn baby? It's something that happens by mistake at hospitals from time to time, and it just happened again. A Houston hospital gave a newborn baby to the wrong mother to breastfeed. Jessica Escobeto says her baby Melanie spent about two hours with a different mother. Meanwhile, the hospital handed her that mother's baby instead. By the time Escobeto realized she'd been given the wrong baby, Melanie had already been fed by the other mother. Yikes! That would creep me out. But is it really that big a deal?


I know it's newborns and body fluids we're talking about, so that makes this mix-up scary. And you want your baby to bond with YOU, not a stranger. You need your baby to connect with your smell, your milk. Not to mention, you have no idea what's in that stranger's milk -- what meds she's on, what illnesses she may be carrying. And it definitely destroys your confidence in the hospital staff in general.

But it's just one feeding. Escobeto caught on to the mistake. It's not the end of the world. We're talking one feeding (albeit an important feeding) out of hundreds in Melanie's lifetime. Yes, it's creepy. Yes, she should complain and someone should be held responsible. But I think we need to keep this in proportion.

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The one truly disturbing possible outcome of hospital baby mix-ups is that the wrong mother could pass on a serious disease, like HIV, to another baby. Fortunately the mother who fed Escobeto's baby tested negative for HIV and other diseases. But even then, wouldn't a hospital be aware of any maternity patients with serious diseases like that? I would think such a patient would already be on their radar and they'd be extra careful.

On the other hand, they should be extra careful in any case with making sure everyone gets the right baby. The nurse who made the mistake was fired, though. And the hospital says they're retraining staff to follow protocol.

But as long as serious diseases are ruled out, I don't think this is a huge tragedy. In the grand scale of human tragedies, even in the grand scale of baby tragedies, this is minor. So I hope it doesn't weigh on Melanie's parents' hearts for too long.

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How would you feel if the hospital accidentally let a stranger breastfeed your baby?


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