Mom Breastfeeds Wrong Baby After Hospital Mix-Up

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A snafu at a Minnesota hospital this week resulted in a mom breastfeeding the wrong baby, causing awkwardness and emotional distress for all involved.

The mistake occurred after a baby boy at Minneapolis' Abbott Northwestern Hospital was placed in the wrong bassinet in the nursery, ABC News reports.

Newborns at Hospital

As a precaution, the baby breastfed by the wrong mom was tested for HIV and hepatitis, and will 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 HIV testing.

The CDC adds that the risk of HIV transmission through breast milk is small, and the virus is not known to spread through a single bout of breastfeeding.

Still, the CDC recommends women with HIV should not breastfeed their children. Neither hepatitis B nor C can be spread through breastfeeding.

The baby's mother,Tammy Van Dyke, told ABC she could not stop crying on the way home from the hospital because of the surprising event that transpired.

The incident also left the mother who was accidentally breastfeeding the baby distraught, as she had to wait before hospital staff found her own baby.

The hospital gave Van Dyke a letter expressing its sincerest apologies for the infant mix-up, and said it would pay for the baby's tests going forward.

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Ok, this is only weird to our modern society. Back in the 50s, 60s and yes 70s people would nurse someone else's baby, they were called wet nurses. My uncle had a wet nurse and he was born in 61. Back when most people nursed their babies and couldn't afford formula, women who had an abundance of milk would offer their services to just about anyone, family, friends. The wet nurse that my grandmother used in 55 when my mom and aunt were born (they were twins) was a black woman, which was very strange for that time period for a black woman to feed a white baby. But my grandmother was friends with her and she had two babies to feed so no complaints were allowed.


This is weird!


After the birth of my premature twins, I pumped and delivered the breastmilk in designated bottles with labels given to me by the hospital. The bottles were the exact same shape and size as those with baby formula that the hospital used for other babies. My bottle of milk was mistakenly given to another baby and all he** broke loose. I was treated horribly after refusing to give my own blood sample because I'd been stuck so many times that I was sore and had bruises. I did offer to give complete access to my medical records as I'd just given birth, they had taken my blood so recently (just days before), and my entire blood history during the pregnancy. I was treated like a criminal because I wouldn't give them one more blood sample. Was I wrong?


@samantha its nt a big deal for a baby to be breastfed by another mother. Besides dis wld all be avoided if babies were kept with their mothers nd nt a nursery.

@ Teejay

I don't know why you only responded to Samantha and not me, but I will address this. It actually is a "big deal" for those of us not on the fringe of the issue and take exception with another woman nursing a different child. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not endorse babies being nursed by other women. If your issue is more with it being okay to have another mother's milk given to a baby, fine. However, approved milk banks are the only safe way this should occur. Nonetheless, for a woman who cannot or chooses not to nurse, there is nothing wrong with choosing formula instead of using a milk bank.


@samantha its nt a big deal for a baby to be breastfed by another mother. Besides dis wld all be avoided if babies were kept with their mothers nd nt a nursery.


Morhers are tested for HIV and other STDs and diseases while pregnant and before delivery. It was an accident that should have been prevented; however, everytime ive been admitted the hospital staff always tells me to check my babies bracelet to make sure my baby is returned if they have to take my baby out of my room for some reason. I can understand why she was upset but we are all humans and no one is perfect ALL the time. In addition to this, it is not uncommon for a baby to receive breast milk other than his own mothers. premature babies MUST have human breast milk. If the mother cannot produce it, it is supplied through a Milk Bank that runs off donations. I have been a donor in the past and was not even tested every 3 months (i did have blood test done and went through a thorough screening before I could donate). I just feel if no harm was done it would be a frivolous lawsuit since no actual harm was done.

@ Guest

Actually no, premature babies MUSTN'T have breast milk. I so not know where you get this. It's not a federal law or a part of any state law. If the mother can't produce it, she is not forced to give her newborn--premature or full-term--substitute breast milk. As far as being tested while pregnant, also not in the United States. It is recommended, not enforced. Even if this mother who accidentally fed the wrong child had been tested, of course the baby would have to be. Theoretically, she could have had a negative test at some point in pregnancy, and tested positive by the infant was fed. Either the test was a false negative when tested, or infection could have occurred after the testing. But she likely was not tested anytime during her pregnancy so it is a moot point. Either tou live in a country where mandatory tested exists (and mandatory breast feeding, but I don't even know if THAT exists), or you couldn't be more wrong. Well, you couldn't be more wrong about U.S. law.


Can hospital STOP mixing up newborns? Although things like this are a rare occurance, it happens far too often considering what is at stake (with the worst outcome being babies switched and permanently being given to the wrong mother). With tags (usually placed around the legs) and bassinet markings, how hard is it to keep the children straight? On a lighter note, this makes me think of that episode of The Office when Pam gives birth. She accidently feeds the baby of the mother with whom she shares the room because late at night all she and Jim noticed, was a bassinet with a crying baby. Not their crying baby, but after it was all said and done, they never said a thing. Who would? LoL egads. I wonder how often THAT has happened in a maternity ward?


This is so horrible. I don't normally say this, but I hope somebody definitely sues for something. It should be impossible for a hospital to mix up two infants at all, let alone not catching it before giving the babies to the wrong mother's. If some strange woman breastfed my child, I'd be pissed. This shit is not okay. The mother must be going out of her mind, wondering if her child was given an STD by some strange woman.