Mom Breastfeeds the Wrong Baby In the Hospital

Photo: Thinkstock Photo: Thinkstock

Those first days in the hospital after my son was born are a bit of a blur. I was sore, sleep deprived and getting to know this new baby, who was mine, but still a complete stranger. I remember the nurses checking and double checking our hospital bracelets when I picked him up from the nursery after taking a shower, and thinking, “Oh, come on, I know that one’s mine. Sure, he’s new, but I’d recognize those piercing dark blue eyes anywhere.” (Now, his eyes are dark brown, but still intense.) But at the same time, I was kind of relieved they were checking because, honestly, my mind wasn’t exactly with-it, and, well, newborns look a lot alike. No one wants a mix up.

But, mix ups do occasionally happen — in fact, one did this week at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Apple Valley, Minnesota. New mom Tammy Van Dyke says her newborn son, Cody, was placed in the wrong bassinet and taken to another mother’s room, and that the other mother breastfed him, according to KARE 11 in Minneapolis.

Reportedly, the other mother told a nurse  “I don’t think this is my baby,” and the nurse told her it was, and that she was just tired. After the feeding, the mother saw that the baby’s bracelet was not her child’s. Both women underwent tests for HIV and hepatitis after the incident.

Thursday, Abbott Northwestern Hospital released a statement that said:

“Yesterday morning at Abbott Northwestern Hospital an infant was taken from the newborn nursery to the wrong room and was briefly breastfed by a woman who is not this infant’s mother. While hospital procedures require staff to match codes on the infant’s and mother’s identification bands in order to prevent incidents like this, it appears these procedures were not followed in this case.”

Scary! It just goes to show, even in those first days, you do have mother’s intuition, but it’s worth it to do some double checking — trust your gut, and check the bracelet.

What do you think of the baby mix-up story? Was the mother at fault? Or the nurses or both?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Top 10 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

Tool: Breastfeeding Log

What Will My Newborn Look Like?