‘Breast Is Best’ Except When You Are Breastfeeding The Wrong Newborn Because The Hospital Switched Babies

At Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a baby-mix up resulted in a mom receiving the wrong baby, who she cuddled and bonded with and breastfed. As a mom who also nursed her babies, I can’t imagine how traumatic and disturbing this would be for both the new moms involved! Shouldn’t hospitals be super careful about giving the baby to the correct mom? From The Huffington Post:

As a precaution, the baby was tested for HIV and hepatitis, and will need to receive the tests every three months for the next year. The baby has so far tested negative for both diseases. If a child is accidentally fed breast milk from a woman who is not his mother, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the child undergo HIV testing.

The baby’s mother,Tammy Van Dyke, told ABC she could not stop crying on the way home from the hospital because the homecoming had not gone as she imagined.

The incident also left the mother who accidentally breastfed the baby distraught, as she had to wait before hospital staff found her baby, Van Dyke said.

The hospital gave Van Dyke a letter expressing its sincerest apologies, and said it would pay for the baby’s tests.

Tammy Van Dyke’s new son Cody will have to undergo blood tests every three months for a year. The chances of contracting a disease via breast milk are very slim, but I doubt that is very reassuring to a new mom who had her baby breastfed by a total stranger. Van Dyke has said she thinks all new moms should insist the baby be kept in their room at all times, which can be difficult when you are an exhausted woman who just gave birth and the baby has to be taken to a different room for certain medical tests. Parents can also make sure the ID bracelets they attach to newborns match up with their own, but when I was in the hospital after having my babies I never checked, assuming that the nurses would make sure I didn’t have the wrong baby.

Come to think of it, my daughter is much prettier than I am and has a serious aversion to eating peas and oh man, I can so see how this type of thing can happen.

(photo: wavebreakmedia  /shutterstock)

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  • JAN

    I had my second child this year in a hospital that is seeking WHO Baby Friendly status and she never left my room the entire time.  They conducted hearing tests, heel sticks, etc., in the room with me.  Granted she had an uncomplicated birth and no health issues likely makes it easier, but it is possible to have the baby never leave the mother’s side.  On a side note, I had a horrible experience with my first child so I carefully researched hospitals for the second.

    • Ordinaryperson

      Having the baby in your room at all times is the norm where I live. I don’t know if it’s because there’s less nurses in our public system, or if they’re following the WHO system you mention, but I liked having them close too. Do hospital nurseries exist in real life like you see on tv? If so, are you allowed to keep the baby with you if you want, or do they have to go on display?

    • Lori B.

      They do exist! The hospital where I delivered my first and will deliver my second in April has a nursery. They require that all babies be in the nursery during the visiting hour between 7pm and 8pm. I actually really liked that because it meant that I did not have to tell my visitors no when they asked to hold the baby. Otherwise, the baby could be in the room with the mother or not.

  • 1st-Time Mommy

    I had an emergency induction with my son and was incredibly sick from pre-eclampsia complications and kidney damage after he was born. It was pretty serious, and it was a few days before I was out of the woods. I wasn’t even alert enough to sit up and hold my son until he was two days old.

    Because of that, he spent the first couple of days in the nursery. Though my family was excited that he had arrived, their focus was on whether I would pull through, so he didn’t have the constant attention and fawning that a lot of newborns get.

    In certain situations, the baby just cannot be in the room with the mom 24/7.