Would you breastfeed someone else's baby?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse  February 19, 2010 10:37 AM

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A Chicago couple is suing a hospital for negligence after the new mom was handed the wrong newborn to nurse.

According to an article in the Chicago Sun Times, Jennifer Spiegel was awakened by an Evanston Hospital staff member at about 4 a.m. the day after she delivered her son. A hungry baby boy was brought in, and Spiegel started breastfeeding him.

Soon after, a nurse walked in and told her that it wasn't her baby. "She said, 'The baby you're feeding isn't yours,' " Spiegel, 33, told the Sun Times. "It was just an awful, internal feeling."

Awkward? Sure. Awful? Possibly. But worth suing over? I don't think so.

 

 

Breastfeeding someone else's baby used to be considered fairly normal. Wet nurses were popular in Europe, especially in France, where infants were often sent to the countryside to be breastfed by peasant women, and in England, where aristocrats hired professional wet nurses. In Germany, people complained that wet nursing was too popular -- they felt that encouraged immorality among the poor. In the United States, black slaves were routinely forced to nurse their white owner's babies instead of their own. In 19th-century Brazil, people could purchase or rent slave women to act as wet nurses through ads placed in the local paper ("In the street behind Rua do Hospicio No. 27 we have for sale or for rent a black woman of the Mina nation with a six-day-old child, with very good milk and healthy..." reads one ad from a 1827 edition of Jornal do Comercio).

During a good will trip to Sierra Leone last year, actress Salma Hayek publicly nursed a baby boy who had been born on the same day as her daughter; she said it was an effort to reduce the stigma on breastfeeding in that country. (Sierra Leone has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, partially due to malnutrition; it is traditionally believed there that women who are breastfeeding should not engage in sexual intercourse, and so some women are pressured by their husbands to limit or avoid breastfeeding their children.)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discourage women from nursing other people's children, as does the La Leche League; certain diseases, like HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis can be transmitted via breast milk. But what if the mothers are healthy? Is there ever a circumstance where it could be warranted?

Last year, a group of moms in Michigan banded together to cross-nurse a newborn whose mother had died minutes after his birth. The father, Robbie Goodrich, knew that his wife would have wanted baby Moses to be breastfed, and so when a family friend offered to feed Moses along with her 1-year-old, Goodrich accepted. Six months later, Moses was still being breastfed (in all, about 25 women took turns feeding the child). According to the post at Ecochildsplay.com, most of the women said that they "never even considered wet nursing before, but they wanted to give a baby something he was missing." 

There's little fuss over babies who are given breast milk that had been donated to a milk bank -- even hospitals bank breast milk for premature or sick infants -- which seems to indicate that the issue isn't about milk vs. formula, but bottle vs. (another mother's) breast. Is it the fact that our society still views breasts as sexual objects? Or is it about relationships -- would it more acceptable to nurse your niece or nephew instead of a stranger's child?

Sorry, Dads, this one is for the female readers out there (though feel free to weigh in, if you like): Would you breastfeed someone else's baby?

 

Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at lalphonse@globe.com.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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81 comments so far...
  1. More than awkward. Awful for this woman, apparently, yes. And therefore, it's OK to sue.

    The wet nurses in other countries/cultures that you mention knew what they were getting into and/or were paid, or were forced. They weren't victims of shoddy healthcare.

    This woman deserved better from the hospital.

    Posted by Frank N. Berry February 19, 10 02:33 PM
  1. I'm not a fan of the suing culture but if this happened as this woman described it, it's troubling. Is she suing because she is repulsed or is she suing because she's angry such a mix-up could happen? What if that same mix-up had happened when she was handed her baby to take home? Breastfeeding is a personal and important part of a mother's and child's life. It's a little unsettling to have thought you were feeding your baby and then finding out that you weren't. All the women you've pointed out in this article KNEW they were feeding children who were not their own. The situations are just different.

    Posted by Linney February 19, 10 02:39 PM
  1. I breastfed two infants at the Boston Lyon Inn (now Beth Isreal) when I gave birth to my son in 1974. Babies were allergic to formula and mothers were unable to breast feed.

    I see nothing wrong with it as long as the mother has a "clean bill of health".

    Posted by Chris February 19, 10 02:41 PM
  1. When I struggled with supply issues due to diabetes, my best friend whose son is two days younger than my daughter pitched in and added a pump every day so that my daughter (who was deathly ill at the start of life) could get all breastmilk. I will forever be grateful for her generosity, and would do the same if I were ever in a position to do so (however unlikely as I will most likely always have supply issues).

    And before anyone suggests the 8 million things I *could* do to boost supply...I did them. All of them. The fenugreek. The near constant pumping. The herbs. The medications. The compressions. It just didn't happen for me. Some women just have poor supply.

    Posted by C February 19, 10 02:46 PM
  1. Would I breastfeed a child not my own? Yes, I would. Do I think the hospital made a mistake? Yes, I do. Do I think these parents are overreacting to SUE the hospital? Yes, I do.

    Posted by anita February 19, 10 02:55 PM
  1. I dont believe that breast feeding someone else's baby is inherently wrong, but breast milk is a bodily fluid, and as such does carry diseases like HIV. When I take my son to his day care, breast milk is very carefully handled. The point here is that the hospital failed her and the infant they brought to her. If it was not her wish and that family's wish then this was an accident due to negligence. In the days where babies are very carefully monitored for things like kidnapping from hospitals, this mix up should not have happened. The issue here is not just breast feeding, it is irresponsible and potentially dangerous negligence on the part of the hospital staff. I would be furious if my baby was given to another woman to feed, not out a misguided sense of ownership, but because of the risk to my baby's health and safety.

    Posted by Danielle February 19, 10 03:01 PM
  1. Just what this country needs: another frivolous healthcare lawsuit. This is certainly a mistake that should be investigated, and the perpetrator should be disciplined accordingly, but nobody should be looking to get rich off the back of this.

    Posted by James February 19, 10 03:09 PM
  1. I can see how this would be unsettling, but I also wonder how the OTHER mother feels! Her newborn baby was mixed up and breastfed by a stranger...I think I would certainly sue in that situation.

    Posted by acm February 19, 10 03:13 PM
  1. Being given the wrong baby is a legitimate gripe; how scary for the mom to find out the baby she thought was her's wasn't. However, what damages did she incur? Wouldn't the baby who was fed have more a claim?

    Breastfeeding babies whose mom's can't feed them is a mitzvah. I saw on CNN a father in Haiti begging for someone to feed his child after the mother was lost in the earthquake. I would take that child to my breast without a second thought. I wish it were so simple to solve all the world's problems as it is to sooth a hungry babe.

    Posted by Rustica February 19, 10 03:16 PM
  1. Can we stop with the breastfeeding questions and articles? What's the big deal? Some do it, some don't and frankly, who cares. It's a personal choice and it shouldn't be banned or mandated. All the issue does is pit women against each other. Enough already!

    Posted by reb64 February 19, 10 03:18 PM
  1. This isn't a breastfeeing issue. It's a trust issue, an issue of responsibility. The Chicago mom was handed a child by a trusted caregiver (her nurse) to engage in a deeply intimate, sometimes difficult, painful, and emotional bonding experience with her newborn. To then learn the child was not her own was a betrayal of trust. That new mother had not intended to share her precious milk (or colostrum) with a stranger's child, had not intended an intimate interaction with a stranger's child. And all new moms have enough on their plate without having to worry whether their nurse double checked the mom and baby ID bands before bringing a baby from the nursery. Choosing to donate milk to another child, choosing to serve as a wetnurse is an entirely different issue.

    And while we may be an overly litigious culture, and while 4 am is a rough time for anyone to be working, perhaps the nurse and the hospital will be reminded of their responsibility to their patients with the hassle of a lawsuit.

    Posted by matthew'smom February 19, 10 03:20 PM
  1. I could see the mother of the baby suing, since it was a health risk to the baby (what if the "wrong" mother had a communicable disease?), but not the mom who accidentally fed the wrong baby. I wouldn't have any problem with nursing someone else's baby (other than the time commitment - but that's pragmatic, not emotionial). I think wet nursing someone's child is a beautiful gift (and I'm a science nerd, not at all nuts-and-berries-all-natural kind of person!).

    Posted by mgwa February 19, 10 03:21 PM
  1. Not to be a pain, but unless it changed hands the Boston Lying-In is part of Brigham and Women's. Hopefully I'm not wrong, can't say I've spent much time in the building since I was born there (tomorrow) in 1974.

    Admittedly I'm a guy, knowingly breastfeeding someone else's baby doesn't seem like a big deal to me... but of course it wouldn't be me doing it, so I don't know that my opinions matters a great deal.

    It seems to me there's no question the hospital was negligent... not that it applies in a doctrinal sense, but this really is apt moment to pull out the olde "res ipsa loquitor" ("the thing speaks for itself"). How she felt and how any other woman would feel about it, I couldn't say.

    Posted by TSM February 19, 10 03:22 PM
  1. Wow. Suing? The mix-up itself speaks to a more nerve-wrecking potential than the actual feeding of a hungry newborn who is not your own, but if this woman is repulsed because she fed someone else's child...that's just rather a sad state.

    Personally, if it were a matter of life and death for a child, I would do it if I could. But in this day, in our culture, it's usually _not_ a matter. Breast milk may be best, but formula was developed to increase infant mortality rates way back when, especially among poor populations who could not afford wet nurses if the mother died in childbirth or was too malnourished or otherwise unable to feed the child herself. Chris's example though, is a matter of life and death, yes? In her case, I would. Probably in C's case too.

    It's tough though. Having a child fed by 25 different women, as in the case in MI, seems a little...just kind of weird but I can't explain or put my finger on why.

    Posted by Phe February 19, 10 03:26 PM
  1. Is it worthy to sue? It is walking a tricky line but I am inclined to hear arguments in the case as they say. Why? If the lady that was given the wrong child to feed, then couldn't her son just as easily been given to the wrong woman to feed as well? And what if that other woman didn't have a clean bill of health? And if they are careless with returning the child to the mother for feeding what else are they careless about? It is all about details.

    Wet nursing provided both parties know what they are getting into, and are both aware of the medical histories, that is cool. What the hospital did is not.

    Posted by WES February 19, 10 03:26 PM
  1. It's really the mom of the baby boy that should be appauled and upset. What does the baby's mom have to say?

    There was no harm done to the woman who was mistakenly handed the wrong baby. She's just looking to make a quick buck. Were there siginifcant damages to warrant a lawsuit? I think the harm done to the reputation of the maternity ward at Evanston Hospital is sufficient. If she is awarded any damages, we all pay the price in the form of higher healthcare costs.

    To Frank (1st post), to insinuate this was "shoddy healthcare" is a stretch.

    Posted by Michelle Hume February 19, 10 03:26 PM
  1. We Pasteurize cow's milk. If my children were to be fed the milk of someone other than their mother, I would want it Pasteurized.

    Posted by Dad February 19, 10 03:26 PM
  1. While I don't think I would breastfeed a baby that wasn't mine under ordinary circumstances, when it comes down to it, breast milk is food. So if that food could save a hungry baby and there wasn't another option, then yes I would do it. There are probably many hungry, orphaned babies in Haiti right now who are alive because other women have done the same.

    As for suing the hospital for its error, if everyone sued over every little thing that made them upset, medical expenses would spiral out of control. Oh, wait, that has already happened. No one was hurt here. As long as the hospital acknowledges it needs a better system, wouldn't it be more productive to just work with the hospital to make sure it happens? Why drag this to court? Besides, if the mom had bothered to open her eyes and look at the baby, I find it hard to believe she would not have noticed it wasn't hers. After more than two full days of labor, no sleep, and plentiful medications, I could still recognize my own baby from another on sight within minutes of giving birth. If my hospital hadn't had a state of the art system in place to guarantee the moms and babies matched, which it did and maybe this hospital should look into, I think I would have taken just a second or two to check the name on the wristband if I wasn't quite sure what my baby looked like.

    Posted by NC February 19, 10 03:27 PM
  1. I think I would be a whole lot more furious if I were the mother of the child that was breastfed by a stranger. That seems more negligent to me. What if that mother had a cummunicative disease that she then passed on to my child. I would be requiring her to take blood tests and admonishing her for not checking the bracelets to make sure.

    To the awful feeling she had. I relate that more to how we are taught to feel about our bodies and it is a cultural thing. I don't think the breast feeding mom has standing to sue. But wealth through litigation is the american way!

    I also think that unless the maternity ward only had 2 babies in it that day you have to have some room for error and follow the no harm no problem rule. Lets endeaver to be better tomorrow. But that is a very un-american idea, because we always need someone else to blame and blame we always do. Why didn't the mother check the name on the bassenet or the ankle bracelet or the wrist bracelet. If it were that important to the mother why didn't she bring in a special hat for her child. That is what I did just 8 days ago when I gave birth to my son.

    Posted by NewMomToo February 19, 10 03:31 PM
  1. This is what is wrong with this country and why we need major court reform.. What an fn joke.

    Posted by Goodgod February 19, 10 03:40 PM
  1. I thought all hospitals now have a policy in place requiring them to check the baby's ankle bracelet against the mother's bracelet before any contact takes place? When I had my son, he was never handed to me until the 2 were compared.

    Bet that policy will be in place NOW.

    Posted by Amanda February 19, 10 03:48 PM
  1. I know people who have breastfed their friends' babies when they are babysitting and the child is wailing and won't take a bottle. The fact that they could soothe the baby was 100x more important to them than whose DNA the baby had.

    Posted by Diamondgirl February 19, 10 03:49 PM
  1. I think this is much ado about the wrong issue. The breastfeeding mistake is harmless. The hospital and the staff involved should apologize. No one has been harmed.

    But, the real problem is how did the staff make an error in identifying a newborn? Newborns have bracelets with identifying information. What if the child was subjected to an invasive test or procedure due to an error in identity?

    Is the lawsuit about breastfeeding or oversight in identifying the newborn? One is much more serious than the other.

    Posted by portiaperu February 19, 10 03:49 PM
  1. I think people have lost sight of the fact that accidents and mistakes happen. No one was harmed, no babies died a horrid death. This is the same mindset that blames parents for every accident that ever befalls a child, that then leads to everyone sucking all the joy out of our kids' lives in order to keep them 'safe' (i.e., prevent lawsuits). These are going to be the same people suing school districts because little Brittanee scraped her knee on the playground. It was an accident. They apologized. Let it go.

    Should the hospital review their policies? Sure. But to waste even more of our country's time and money on yet another lawsuit? Please.

    Posted by bms February 19, 10 03:52 PM
  1. For the child that was fed from 25 different women after his mother passed away... I think that is crazy! What about the bonding with dad! Is formula/bottle feeding that terrible? This child had a revolving door of women coming in to do something that was the most intimate and bonding time with my children in the early months. Sure mom would have wanted him to be breastfed... but that was when she was thinking it was going to be from her! I think breastfeeding anothers child in times of emergencies - the HAITI Disaster - WWII, but I don't agree with the wet nurse for convienence or doing it to be trendy.

    Posted by Aideen February 19, 10 04:00 PM
  1. I'm a man, and a public health scientist. My one and only concern here it the health aspect. Other than that I think a community working together is important and that breast feeding is essential to a new born.
    From the legal counsel perspective, the irresponsibility and poor organization at the hospital should be the facts which the mother points to for her legal case. Obviously emotional distress and trauma have been seen as grounds for a case in the past, and this is no different. Therefore I believe that the article really is confounding two issues, the irresponsibility of the hospital and the right to breast feed.

    Posted by SteveF February 19, 10 04:00 PM
  1. agree with number 10-Can we stop with the breastfeeding questions and articles? What's the big deal? Some do it, some don't and frankly, who cares. It's a personal choice and it shouldn't be banned or mandated. All the issue does is pit women against each other. Enough already!

    Posted by Molly Avers February 19, 10 04:03 PM
  1. I have nursed my sister's child. When my neighbor was ill, while nursing her child, she had to stop for a few days due to her medicine. I thought we were extremely good friends but when I offered to nurse her child she was horrified. I was amazed and saddened that her infant was put on a bottle. I think the mother that sued for this "one time" mistake is trying to get money. Is the mother of the baby also suing the hospital? Law suits should be regulated to keep these inconsequential and frivilous suits out of court. The only ones to really make the money are the attorneys.

    Posted by Gingit4 February 19, 10 04:03 PM
  1. I don't see how this is going to be much of a lawsuit.

    The cause of action would likely be negligent infliction of emotional distress. Contrary to headlines, emotional injuries/"pain and suffering" are hardly a goldmine. I'm curious as to how she would go about proving psychological injury as well. She could claim all sorts of stress and anxiety...but teasing out what anxiety was caused by the mix-up and what was caused by being a new mother is complicated. This would be a nuisance-type payout, nothing more.

    Just a FYI: you can't claim "what could have happened" as an injury in a suit. That the mother could have taken home the wrong child, etc. is not relevant. She needs an actual - not hypothetical - injury to sue.

    Posted by vvv12345 February 19, 10 04:04 PM
  1. nasty - and in this day and age where mom and baby get wristbands that should match - idiotic that it happened on the hospital's part - yes, i'd sue -

    Posted by josh February 19, 10 04:05 PM
  1. I would breastfeed another's child. The mother whose breast was used is not the one who should be concerned. It's the infant who was fed her possibly tainted milk. Suing the hospital is completely ridiculous unless her milk contains gold. People act so entitled. They made a mistake and apologized.

    Posted by JB February 19, 10 04:13 PM
  1. I'd be willing to bet that the mom's "awful" feeling was less about the mix up and more about about the fact that she breastfed someone else's child and didn't realize it wasn't her own. That's not the hospital's fault.

    #10 and #27 -- if you don't care about breastfeeding then why are you reading an article about it? This is a column about child care and breastfeeding is part of that. Frankly, this was an interesting take on the issue.

    Posted by JVM February 19, 10 04:18 PM
  1. It's most likely the fault of the previous administration

    Posted by Greg February 19, 10 04:27 PM
  1. If you read the Chicago Sun-Times article, the husband bringing the lawsuit against the hospital is a--wait for it!--lawyer. Hmm.

    That being said, any damages that hopefully NOT be awarded to the plaintiffs should limited solely to compensation on the value of the colostrum that was fed to the other child. That's all.

    Posted by Madra February 19, 10 04:29 PM
  1. Nursing is a personal thing, at least it was to me. Fine and good for those who served as wet nurses. I would bet any woman would be outraged if she were in this position--whether she did the nursing or her baby got nursed by a stranger. The hospital should do something as a gesture to account for their mistake so that it's not to happen again. I think the lawsuit is not an inappropriate course to take. I would be more than upset if this happened to my baby.

    Posted by cnf29 February 19, 10 04:30 PM
  1. The hospital should not be mixing up babies - after all, moms and babies are supposed to be wrist-banded and are not supposed to be re-united without continually checking the wristbands. Thats bad news, hands down.
    ...but to sue? That's appaling. As a mom-to-be in six weeks, I would not have an issue nursing someone elses baby. Yes, the hospital made an error, but it's not like they performed surgery on the wrong baby or sent them home with the wrong baby. Its breast milk - get over it!

    Posted by anonymous February 19, 10 04:35 PM
  1. I was handed the wrong infant to breast feed after giving birth to my second child. I completed a feeding and did not find out till the administration of the hospital made me aware of it the next day. I did not sue as that is just crazy. I did submit to any and all blood tests / exams the parents of the baby wanted me to have to reassure them I was healthy and did not pass anything unwanted onto thier child. It is what I would have wanted if my child was fed by another.

    I also breast fed my sisters child while she was out of state for a funeral and while she was taking exams to complete her doctorate. The cousins were happy to share!

    Breast feeding is the healthies way to feed a baby to year one and beyond. It should only be done if the mother wants to breast feed and feels comfortable. It should not be forced or have others made to feel inadequete if they can not/ do not want to breast feed.

    Posted by Catrina February 19, 10 04:48 PM
  1. I've pumped for a friend who had to take a medication that she was told wasn't compatible with breastfeeding.

    If her newborn had refused to take the bottle I would've nursed her baby without hesitation.

    I wouldn't lightly nurse someone elses baby, but if I knew them well and there was a *need*, of course I would.

    And this "oops" incident wouldn't have happened if the mom and baby had been together, as they should have been.

    Posted by Natalie February 19, 10 04:50 PM
  1. Reb64 and Molly -- this is not a standard breastfeeding question. Your posts sound defensive; and at any rate, breastfeeding is a normal part of childrearing, and so it makes sense to discuss any such issues in a childrearing column. A lot of parenting issues come down to "some do this, some don't" -- putting breastfeeding in a category that should not be discussed is odd.

    As for what COULD have gone wrong -- well, you can't really sue for hypothetical things that could have gone wrong but didn't. So yes, what if she had been given the wrong baby to bring home? Didn't happen, so can't sue. The issue is how was she damaged by breastfeeding another person's baby for 5 minutes? It will be really difficult to prove that she was so horrified she suffered some real emotional trauama. Being bothered or worried is not enough -- a court will not care about that. She has to be seriously distressed and traumatized.

    Some annoyances, worries, and bad feelings we have to just deal with. We don't get monetary compensation for every trespass or worry or bad feeling we experience.

    Posted by jlen February 19, 10 04:51 PM
  1. Hospital mistake --> free money!
    Of course the mother is not going to pass up an opportunity to sue. That in itself is the most disgusting aspect of this story.

    Posted by Linda P February 19, 10 04:52 PM
  1. Big whoop. Get over it. It is troubling that the nurse took the baby into the wrong room, but the breastfeeding part of it? Whatever!

    Posted by jenny February 19, 10 04:59 PM
  1. I want to know what the parents of the baby feel? To me, they are more of the ones who should be complaining. THEIR baby was handed to someone else. That someone - who they didn't know anything about, especially the health history - nursed him. Ok, so she feels this might have happened to her child, but it did happen to theirs. I'm sure there is plenty of emotional anguish on the other side. Guess those parents aren't out to try to make a buck.

    Posted by Leah February 19, 10 05:04 PM
  1. First of all, I think newborns should be with their mothers not in some other area of the hospital where such a mixup could possibly occur. That would ensure no mixups and probably enhance the bonding between mother and child. Second of all, I see nothing wrong with breastfeeding another baby or breastfeeding in public. It can be done very subtlely so no one even notices.

    Posted by Casey February 19, 10 05:11 PM
  1. This has to be the most uptight woman ever. Suing, seriously? I can understand being concerned about the fact that they mistook someone else's baby for hers, but even that's nothing to sue about, as long as no harm was done. Does she want the hospital to reiburse her for the value of the breast milk she "wasted" on a child that wasn't her own?
    The story about the group of moms in Michigan was absolutely lovely, btw.

    Posted by erin February 19, 10 05:16 PM
  1. If you have a homebirth you can avoid this type of mistake!

    Posted by Lynn Lloyd February 19, 10 05:42 PM
  1. i would be very upset about the lax security that would allow for the wrong baby to be delivered into my arms. when i had my baby they always did a bracelet/anklet check to confirm that i matched up with the infant they were bringing to me.

    would i sue? no way. would i feel badly to have fed another baby? not really.

    Posted by meg February 19, 10 05:56 PM
  1. This woman thinks she won the lottery. Greedy. And we all pay the price for this greed in our society - more laws than we need and insurance costs that stifle entrepreneurship and destroy lives. Ask not what I can rob from every possible resource at hand, but what can I contribute to the world, even if it is small -like raising your child and staying out of the legal system. Wow, there are a lot of ways to give.

    Posted by Mary February 19, 10 06:07 PM
  1. I'm due to give birth to my first in early July. Much would depend on the reaction/apology from the hospital if I was put in this situation. Boy, I'd be pissed though...

    I'm not worried about knowingly feeding another child, and don't see it as disgusting (although I'd want to know that person's habits very well) but if I was awoken to feed a child that wasn't mine without knowing it, I would not be happy. I'd feel a little violated, since I thought I was nourishing and bonding with my child instead. And I'd expect an abject apology from the hospital...there's no excuse for mistakes like that. But often hospitals/doctors never apologize because it means admitting they screwed up. I would be even more horrified if this happened to my kid and she was breastfed by a stranger and I didn't know what substances, medications, etc. the other mom was using. Everything goes into breast milk!

    I don't consider myself litigious, but sometimes it takes smacking someone in the pocketbook to get them to own up and change their policies. Unfortunately. Let's not kid ourselves. Of course, I wish it wasn't that way.

    I know after reading this story, which I thought was just about community breastfeeding and wet nursing, I will be that much more paranoid when I give birth at BWH. Thanks. Wish I had known, I like to avoid these sorts of labor/hospital horror stories, heaven knows I hear them enough from people sharing their war stories. Not very helpful.

    PS: Re: those that blame the Mom for not checking bracelets---puhleeze...do you realize how tired and sleep deprived you are the day after you give birth at 4 am in the morning? Is there anything else of the hospital's/doctor's work she is required to check for them? Her episotomy stiches? For what we pay for health care, don't you think a minimum standard of care is giving the right baby to the right mother 100% of the time? And while rooming in is definitely on the rise, mom eventually has to get *some* sleep and recover before she goes home and is on her own without nurses to help. At some point, my baby's going to the nursery so I can recover as much as possible before heading home. Taking care of mom does not equate neglecting baby.

    Posted by Issy February 19, 10 07:07 PM
  1. Another question---for the baby boy who didn't get fed by the mother who is suing...how did he eventually get fed? Hopefully not handed off to another mother? For those first few days, breastfeeding (recommended within the first hour after delivery) is crucial and introducing a bottle or pacifier can cause confusion issues. (Babies usually can suck milk from a bottle easier than the breast, so they can get "lazy" and then refuse to nurse from the breast.) Obviously they didn't allow the correct baby boy to go hungry. So how was that addressed?

    Posted by Issy February 19, 10 07:13 PM
  1. The same thing happened to my mother forty years ago. My mom says that the baby was Asian, and she thought it wasn't her baby, but she was so tired, and didn't look really close, so she just took it and started to breastfeed. When the nurse realized the mistake, they all had a good laugh and now it's just a funny story that my mom tells about how she was so tired she didn't notice she was nursing a Chinese baby. This is a ridiculous lawsuit. Years ago cross-nursing and wet nurses was a respected, natural thing. Give me a break.

    Posted by Diane Sam February 19, 10 07:51 PM
  1. I agree with those who have pointed out that a homebirth or at least keeping brand-new babies with you could avoid the mix-up altogether.

    Posted by Jen February 19, 10 07:59 PM
  1. A) I had a medical procedure performed at a hospital earlier today, and it was downright silly how many times I was asked my name and birthdate, with my answers compared to my wristband. But I understand why that is done - precisely to avoid errors like this. No excuses on the part of the hospital in this case. The mix-up was unacceptable, period. They deserve whatever consequences, legal or otherwise, that they get.

    B) Either mom in this case has a right to be enraged by what happened. In addition to the potential for disease as others have pointed out, consider that perhaps the 'other' mom did not want her baby breastfed at all, by anyone. That is a parent's choice to make. Neither mom had a choice here.

    C) As for all the wet-nurse analogies, and to the question as posed, in a free society I see nothing wrong with women choosing to breastfeed their own, or others' babies as they see fit; so long as it is, again, their CHOICE to do so. I don't see the big deal, or any reason for that to be taboo. But again, it all hinges on choice.

    D) This entire article, and most of the responses, are heavily skewed toward the political-bordering-on-religious view that breastfeeding is the ONLY acceptable form of nourishment for a newborn. It is not. Many people, including my wife who initially tried but had difficulty with breastfeeding, have chosen to use formula instead, with no untoward effects. I was a "formula baby" as were my wife and both of our children, and we are all quite healthy, thank you. Breastfeeding has been elevated to an almost ugly form of political correctness in recent years. As a society we really should move past that. Too many parents are made to feel guilty or inadequate by the 'breastfeeding police' in hospital maternity wards. Let's get our priorities straight, shall we? Better that these self-appointed guardians of all that is "proper" should pay a bit more attention to whose baby is being handed off to whom.

    Posted by ajerrold February 19, 10 08:24 PM
  1. I really hope the lawsuit gets dismissed. What are the damages? What's the injury? A baby got breast milk, the breastfeeding mother fed another baby and her baby missed a partial feeding. Oh the travesty.

    My wife and I had a baby nearly 11 months ago. I would have never thought to sue, though I wouldn't have been happy about it. Hopefully the hospital does more to prevent this in the future but please, no lawsuit.

    Posted by MakeLoveNotWar February 19, 10 08:40 PM
  1. Why was the baby separated from the mom to begin with? In state-of-the-art maternity centers, moms and babies room-in together, so there is no middle-of-the-night baby confusion.

    Keeping your baby in your room is the safest (and cuddliest) way to go!

    Posted by shecahz February 19, 10 09:49 PM
  1. The first few days of nursing involves the concentrated, special first milk called colostrum that is yellow to orange in color and has a specific balance of fat, antibodies, protein etc. that is the perfect food for a newborn. There is only so much of it before your real milk comes in and if I gave it to someone else's child before mine, I would be pretty upset. I do not have any objections to women nursing other peoples babies but that would bother me immensely that my baby did not get my colostrum.i would probably sue too.

    Posted by krista February 19, 10 09:49 PM
  1. If anyone has the right to sue it's the parents of the CHILD who was accidentally breast fed. It's their child who could potentially suffer damages if exposed to any illness via the breast feeding.

    Posted by megan February 19, 10 09:49 PM
  1. Would I breastfeed an infant not my own? A hungry baby? Of course, without question. I would ask the woman filing the lawsuit: how did you lose track of your newborn in the first place?

    Posted by Lauren February 19, 10 10:07 PM
  1. I have breastfed friends' children -- several of them. We were all aware of each others' heath statuses.

    If anyone has a complaint here, it's the parents of the baby who was nursed by the wrong woman. The one suing needs to get over it.

    And I agree that hospitals shouldn't be segregating newborns in hospital nurseries, unless there's a pressing medical reason. Keep babies with their mothers and this sort of thing won't happen!

    Posted by Ellen February 19, 10 10:16 PM
  1. I'd be more inclined to sue if I were the mother of the wrongfully placed infant. Hello...health hazard! But the woman doing the feeding is just being a baby herself.

    Posted by Beth February 19, 10 10:20 PM
  1. I'm a guy. My wife is pregnant for the first time. I know my perspective is warped but I don't think this is anything to sue over. The incident should only be used to highlight potential problems with hospitals losing track of babies and their corresponding moms. That is a scary issue, and maybe this indicates a larger problem.

    Everyone likes to sue these days, and it is ruining all of us.

    Posted by steve February 19, 10 10:30 PM
  1. The breastfeeding part in my opinion is no big deal. I donate breastmilk via milkshare and would not have any problem nursing someone else's baby. The part of this story that bothers me is that she was handed the wrong baby!

    Posted by Cat February 19, 10 11:43 PM
  1. i don't think this has anything to do with the issue of breastfeeding, really, it's about the hospital mixing up the babies... i don't know that suing is really necessary, but there should be a definite stand taken by the mother if she is upset, and rightfully so... and agreed with the person who asked, is the mother whose baby was mistakenly given to this woman and nursed upset? and was this woman's baby nursed by another woman? because then you get to the issue of the fluids being passed from mother to child, and whether the mother is in good health. nursing the baby wasn't going to harm that mother, but if she is suing because someone else nursed her baby, then that seems a little more sensible. in any case, what kind of hospital mixes up babies anymore... get it together!

    Posted by meh February 20, 10 01:52 AM
  1. I would breastfeed someone else's baby. That's not what this is about however.

    A similar thing actually happened to me when my oldest, who just turned 11, was born in Camp Hill, PA. He was taken out for the first time since he was born, and another baby was brought back. I tried to nurse the baby but he had trouble latching on, thankfully. Still, I felt incredibly angry and upset and most of all, worried. I worried that this baby had some sort of sickness and disease. Mostly I worried about where my own child was, and what had been done to him. Had some other woman tired to breastfeed him? Had he be given formula against my wishes? It is a terrible feeling. For years, I would revisit the moment, wondering if my baby was really my baby, or if the mix-up had gone further.

    Did I sue? No, but I did write a letter and follow up with phone calls. The hospital did not do it's job. I hope the nurse was reprimanded, because what she did was extremely irresponsible. I always blamed myself a little, too, because even though I was exhausted from a 27 hour labor with 3 hours of pushing and a forceps delivery, I felt like I should have somehow known it wasn't my child.

    I think unless it happens to you, you can't understand the complex feelings involved. I am so glad my fourth baby was a homebirth-- I didn't have to deal with any of the hospital stupidity.

    Posted by Annette February 20, 10 07:25 AM
  1. I don't think the problem is whose milk (except that in this specific case the colostrum cannot be substituted by regular milk).

    The issue here is CARE--normal adults with medical problems take a few minutes to process hospital orders at 4AM. The day after this woman gave birth--at 4AM she was still probably needing several hours of sleep to recover. That's WHY she was in hospital and WHY it is the absolute obligation of hospital employees to take all necessary care.

    The lawsuit is about treatment--what if the hospital employee gave the wrong antibiotic--the wrong painkiller--the wrong IV drip--that could cause severe reactions???

    So just as medical ID is checked for other doses, the medical IDs of TWO patients--mother and child--should have been checked before breastfeeding started. Too bad some places need the kick in the pants of a lawsuit to make this happen.

    Posted by Irene February 20, 10 08:22 AM
  1. It was a mixup, yes. A big deal? Well, no. What are her damages? This is a waste of a lot of people's time. She should get back to nursing her own baby and move on.

    Posted by Kim February 20, 10 03:18 PM
  1. Ohh, here's an idea; instead of letting hospital staff take your baby away and keep it in a nursery, keep it with you and room-in. Separating mothers and babies like this reduces the chances of breastfeeding becoming established, slows the bonding process and allows mistakes like this to happen.

    Worth suing over? No. Man up, take responsibility for yourself and your baby and keep them close.

    Posted by Gloria Stitz February 20, 10 06:39 PM
  1. People need to get over themselves. Reading some of these comments make me laugh - betrayal of trust....haha. Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world for any mother and baby (or animal) to survive - but why is everyone so overly dramatic? gosh. Again - it's is a mistake by the nurse but suing seems over the top - can't anyone just accept an apology anymore.

    Posted by Janie February 21, 10 04:08 PM
  1. I don't think she should sue over the breastfeeding issue, however, the mix-up is certainly something to kick a fuss up about - JUST ANOTHER REASON TO KEEP YOUR BABY WITH YOU!

    Posted by Hannah February 22, 10 07:09 AM
  1. 52 said, "D) This entire article, and most of the responses, are heavily skewed toward the political-bordering-on-religious view that breastfeeding is the ONLY acceptable form of nourishment for a newborn. It is not."

    I don't know where you get this perspective, but maybe it escaped your notice that the article is about breastfeeding, not about breastfeeding versus formula. The whole formula thing is irrelevant to this discussion.

    Posted by barbara February 22, 10 08:51 AM
  1. Sorry, must correct. It was the Boston Lying In, not the Boston Lyon Inn (now Beth Isreal). And that was never the Beth Israel. The Beth Israel has always been the Beth Israel. Boston Lying In became Boston Hospital for Women, which then merged with the 2 Brigham Hospitals (Peter Bent and Robert Bent) to become Brigham and Women's Hospital.

    I don't think that these are fair comparison's, but I think it is ludicrious to sue over this issue, as I think the vast majority of lawsuits are.

    Posted by ash February 22, 10 10:36 AM
  1. All this arguing, suing, trust issues... eek! Was anyone hurt or damaged? Did an infant go missing? Some Hospital staff and receiving parent(s) of breast-fed baby a little 'tupid that day? You bet! I never left my babies in the nurseries at the hospital ... they were always right beside me in the hospital. Even my 2nd son stayed with me as soon as he was safely out of NICU.

    I think the parents of the baby who was given to that sour woman for a feeding ought to consider a lawsuit. it was *their* baby.

    oh my ... silly people. silly lawsuits.

    i count my blessings, and put this out of my head now... time for some cookies and tea and fun with the kids!!

    Posted by canadianginger February 23, 10 02:49 AM
  1. So why isn't the parents of the child who was being breastfed not suing? THIS would make more sense as they don't know the health of the milk that was unwittingly given...not the other way around. More than likely the mix-up wasn't told to the parent of the child that got mixed up. The mix-up shouldn't have been COMPLETE had the hospital done a BAND check to make sure they matched between babe and mother as an expereince I had with one of my babes. It was explained to me that this band check and a "boundary" with an alarm in the maternity ward was to prevent such mix-ups as well as kidnappingsand that it was pretty standard throughout the country.

    Posted by a mommy February 27, 10 09:46 PM
  1. I definitely think they are most likely suing because they know they can get away with it and get money. I would never sue and I think their reaction is a little over the top. What is so wrong with feeding another's child or having someone else feed your child? The only thing I would have been worried about was the possibility of HIV, etc that can be transmitted through breast milk. To say that it is awful is just ridiculous.

    Posted by Jess February 27, 10 10:40 PM
  1. Being given a different baby in hospital? Good reason to home birth, imo. ;) I have breastfed someone else's baby, but it was with full consent of his mother who was busy parenting her other children at the moment. I wouldn't sue if someone had accidentally breastfed my child, but I would certainly insist that other mother/baby teams did not get mixed up again.

    Posted by Carrie February 27, 10 10:44 PM
  1. Yup, would, and have. And another has breastfed one of my children.

    Posted by Raechel February 28, 10 12:16 AM
  1. Yes, I would. My oldest was nursed by a friend when she refused bottles while I was in surgery. I was not concerned with it at all. And I think it's beyond ridiculous that she's suing because she nursed the wrong baby.

    This is what happens when you give your baby over to a nursing staff. If you aren't willing to accept that, you should be rooming your baby in or birthing at home, where mistakes like that won't happen.

    Hardly the worst thing a hospital staff has done with a newborn baby.

    Posted by Heather February 28, 10 05:04 AM
  1. The question really is - would you let a hungry child go hungry, or would you feed him? Of course you would feed him - at least I hope any realy mother would! And breast milk is what babies eat....therefore that's how to feed them!
    Of course I would breastfeed someone else's child!

    Posted by Kristine February 28, 10 09:44 AM
  1. I don't even see how this incident can be considered repulsive, let alone something to sue over. Jees, people, get a life. Breastfeeding is a completely natural and beautiful act. A newborn child wants nothing more than to be comforted and fed. What in the world is "repulsive"?

    Posted by Paula March 5, 10 08:15 AM
  1. This happened to me- except my baby was delivered to the wrong room and breastfed by a stranger. The HIPAA laws prevented us from being allowed access to the other mother's medical records or history. I can't tell you how horrific it is to not know what my child was exposed to. She now has to undergo HIV & Hepititis tests (has gone through 1 round of testing already & has to have another at 6 months). And no- we are not suing (unless of course one of the tests does end up being positive but this looks unlikely at this point).

    Posted by LJ March 5, 10 01:07 PM
  1. I would absolutely breastfeed another woman's baby if necessary. Yes, the hospital made a mistake but to sue? Ridiculous. I wish I was the judge in this case. I would have to throw the case out. If anything, this new mom should be happy she had the opportunity to give this baby a gift of breast milk. Who knows if his own mom was going to choose to nurse.

    Posted by Stacy March 5, 10 10:31 PM
  1. I would expect an apology and an explanation of how the hospital will prevent it from happening again, but it would be a little funny to me too. This happened on The Office this week and it was funny!
    I breastfed my adopted child so I guess that's my perspective. babies need to be fed, and supposedly, bfing is best, so.....

    Posted by sm March 8, 10 04:15 PM
 
81 comments so far...
  1. More than awkward. Awful for this woman, apparently, yes. And therefore, it's OK to sue.

    The wet nurses in other countries/cultures that you mention knew what they were getting into and/or were paid, or were forced. They weren't victims of shoddy healthcare.

    This woman deserved better from the hospital.

    Posted by Frank N. Berry February 19, 10 02:33 PM
  1. I'm not a fan of the suing culture but if this happened as this woman described it, it's troubling. Is she suing because she is repulsed or is she suing because she's angry such a mix-up could happen? What if that same mix-up had happened when she was handed her baby to take home? Breastfeeding is a personal and important part of a mother's and child's life. It's a little unsettling to have thought you were feeding your baby and then finding out that you weren't. All the women you've pointed out in this article KNEW they were feeding children who were not their own. The situations are just different.

    Posted by Linney February 19, 10 02:39 PM
  1. I breastfed two infants at the Boston Lyon Inn (now Beth Isreal) when I gave birth to my son in 1974. Babies were allergic to formula and mothers were unable to breast feed.

    I see nothing wrong with it as long as the mother has a "clean bill of health".

    Posted by Chris February 19, 10 02:41 PM
  1. When I struggled with supply issues due to diabetes, my best friend whose son is two days younger than my daughter pitched in and added a pump every day so that my daughter (who was deathly ill at the start of life) could get all breastmilk. I will forever be grateful for her generosity, and would do the same if I were ever in a position to do so (however unlikely as I will most likely always have supply issues).

    And before anyone suggests the 8 million things I *could* do to boost supply...I did them. All of them. The fenugreek. The near constant pumping. The herbs. The medications. The compressions. It just didn't happen for me. Some women just have poor supply.

    Posted by C February 19, 10 02:46 PM
  1. Would I breastfeed a child not my own? Yes, I would. Do I think the hospital made a mistake? Yes, I do. Do I think these parents are overreacting to SUE the hospital? Yes, I do.

    Posted by anita February 19, 10 02:55 PM
  1. I dont believe that breast feeding someone else's baby is inherently wrong, but breast milk is a bodily fluid, and as such does carry diseases like HIV. When I take my son to his day care, breast milk is very carefully handled. The point here is that the hospital failed her and the infant they brought to her. If it was not her wish and that family's wish then this was an accident due to negligence. In the days where babies are very carefully monitored for things like kidnapping from hospitals, this mix up should not have happened. The issue here is not just breast feeding, it is irresponsible and potentially dangerous negligence on the part of the hospital staff. I would be furious if my baby was given to another woman to feed, not out a misguided sense of ownership, but because of the risk to my baby's health and safety.

    Posted by Danielle February 19, 10 03:01 PM
  1. Just what this country needs: another frivolous healthcare lawsuit. This is certainly a mistake that should be investigated, and the perpetrator should be disciplined accordingly, but nobody should be looking to get rich off the back of this.

    Posted by James February 19, 10 03:09 PM
  1. I can see how this would be unsettling, but I also wonder how the OTHER mother feels! Her newborn baby was mixed up and breastfed by a stranger...I think I would certainly sue in that situation.

    Posted by acm February 19, 10 03:13 PM
  1. Being given the wrong baby is a legitimate gripe; how scary for the mom to find out the baby she thought was her's wasn't. However, what damages did she incur? Wouldn't the baby who was fed have more a claim?

    Breastfeeding babies whose mom's can't feed them is a mitzvah. I saw on CNN a father in Haiti begging for someone to feed his child after the mother was lost in the earthquake. I would take that child to my breast without a second thought. I wish it were so simple to solve all the world's problems as it is to sooth a hungry babe.

    Posted by Rustica February 19, 10 03:16 PM
  1. Can we stop with the breastfeeding questions and articles? What's the big deal? Some do it, some don't and frankly, who cares. It's a personal choice and it shouldn't be banned or mandated. All the issue does is pit women against each other. Enough already!

    Posted by reb64 February 19, 10 03:18 PM
  1. This isn't a breastfeeing issue. It's a trust issue, an issue of responsibility. The Chicago mom was handed a child by a trusted caregiver (her nurse) to engage in a deeply intimate, sometimes difficult, painful, and emotional bonding experience with her newborn. To then learn the child was not her own was a betrayal of trust. That new mother had not intended to share her precious milk (or colostrum) with a stranger's child, had not intended an intimate interaction with a stranger's child. And all new moms have enough on their plate without having to worry whether their nurse double checked the mom and baby ID bands before bringing a baby from the nursery. Choosing to donate milk to another child, choosing to serve as a wetnurse is an entirely different issue.

    And while we may be an overly litigious culture, and while 4 am is a rough time for anyone to be working, perhaps the nurse and the hospital will be reminded of their responsibility to their patients with the hassle of a lawsuit.

    Posted by matthew'smom February 19, 10 03:20 PM
  1. I could see the mother of the baby suing, since it was a health risk to the baby (what if the "wrong" mother had a communicable disease?), but not the mom who accidentally fed the wrong baby. I wouldn't have any problem with nursing someone else's baby (other than the time commitment - but that's pragmatic, not emotionial). I think wet nursing someone's child is a beautiful gift (and I'm a science nerd, not at all nuts-and-berries-all-natural kind of person!).

    Posted by mgwa February 19, 10 03:21 PM
  1. Not to be a pain, but unless it changed hands the Boston Lying-In is part of Brigham and Women's. Hopefully I'm not wrong, can't say I've spent much time in the building since I was born there (tomorrow) in 1974.

    Admittedly I'm a guy, knowingly breastfeeding someone else's baby doesn't seem like a big deal to me... but of course it wouldn't be me doing it, so I don't know that my opinions matters a great deal.

    It seems to me there's no question the hospital was negligent... not that it applies in a doctrinal sense, but this really is apt moment to pull out the olde "res ipsa loquitor" ("the thing speaks for itself"). How she felt and how any other woman would feel about it, I couldn't say.

    Posted by TSM February 19, 10 03:22 PM
  1. Wow. Suing? The mix-up itself speaks to a more nerve-wrecking potential than the actual feeding of a hungry newborn who is not your own, but if this woman is repulsed because she fed someone else's child...that's just rather a sad state.

    Personally, if it were a matter of life and death for a child, I would do it if I could. But in this day, in our culture, it's usually _not_ a matter. Breast milk may be best, but formula was developed to increase infant mortality rates way back when, especially among poor populations who could not afford wet nurses if the mother died in childbirth or was too malnourished or otherwise unable to feed the child herself. Chris's example though, is a matter of life and death, yes? In her case, I would. Probably in C's case too.

    It's tough though. Having a child fed by 25 different women, as in the case in MI, seems a little...just kind of weird but I can't explain or put my finger on why.

    Posted by Phe February 19, 10 03:26 PM
  1. Is it worthy to sue? It is walking a tricky line but I am inclined to hear arguments in the case as they say. Why? If the lady that was given the wrong child to feed, then couldn't her son just as easily been given to the wrong woman to feed as well? And what if that other woman didn't have a clean bill of health? And if they are careless with returning the child to the mother for feeding what else are they careless about? It is all about details.

    Wet nursing provided both parties know what they are getting into, and are both aware of the medical histories, that is cool. What the hospital did is not.

    Posted by WES February 19, 10 03:26 PM
  1. It's really the mom of the baby boy that should be appauled and upset. What does the baby's mom have to say?

    There was no harm done to the woman who was mistakenly handed the wrong baby. She's just looking to make a quick buck. Were there siginifcant damages to warrant a lawsuit? I think the harm done to the reputation of the maternity ward at Evanston Hospital is sufficient. If she is awarded any damages, we all pay the price in the form of higher healthcare costs.

    To Frank (1st post), to insinuate this was "shoddy healthcare" is a stretch.

    Posted by Michelle Hume February 19, 10 03:26 PM
  1. We Pasteurize cow's milk. If my children were to be fed the milk of someone other than their mother, I would want it Pasteurized.

    Posted by Dad February 19, 10 03:26 PM
  1. While I don't think I would breastfeed a baby that wasn't mine under ordinary circumstances, when it comes down to it, breast milk is food. So if that food could save a hungry baby and there wasn't another option, then yes I would do it. There are probably many hungry, orphaned babies in Haiti right now who are alive because other women have done the same.

    As for suing the hospital for its error, if everyone sued over every little thing that made them upset, medical expenses would spiral out of control. Oh, wait, that has already happened. No one was hurt here. As long as the hospital acknowledges it needs a better system, wouldn't it be more productive to just work with the hospital to make sure it happens? Why drag this to court? Besides, if the mom had bothered to open her eyes and look at the baby, I find it hard to believe she would not have noticed it wasn't hers. After more than two full days of labor, no sleep, and plentiful medications, I could still recognize my own baby from another on sight within minutes of giving birth. If my hospital hadn't had a state of the art system in place to guarantee the moms and babies matched, which it did and maybe this hospital should look into, I think I would have taken just a second or two to check the name on the wristband if I wasn't quite sure what my baby looked like.

    Posted by NC February 19, 10 03:27 PM
  1. I think I would be a whole lot more furious if I were the mother of the child that was breastfed by a stranger. That seems more negligent to me. What if that mother had a cummunicative disease that she then passed on to my child. I would be requiring her to take blood tests and admonishing her for not checking the bracelets to make sure.

    To the awful feeling she had. I relate that more to how we are taught to feel about our bodies and it is a cultural thing. I don't think the breast feeding mom has standing to sue. But wealth through litigation is the american way!

    I also think that unless the maternity ward only had 2 babies in it that day you have to have some room for error and follow the no harm no problem rule. Lets endeaver to be better tomorrow. But that is a very un-american idea, because we always need someone else to blame and blame we always do. Why didn't the mother check the name on the bassenet or the ankle bracelet or the wrist bracelet. If it were that important to the mother why didn't she bring in a special hat for her child. That is what I did just 8 days ago when I gave birth to my son.

    Posted by NewMomToo February 19, 10 03:31 PM
  1. This is what is wrong with this country and why we need major court reform.. What an fn joke.

    Posted by Goodgod February 19, 10 03:40 PM
  1. I thought all hospitals now have a policy in place requiring them to check the baby's ankle bracelet against the mother's bracelet before any contact takes place? When I had my son, he was never handed to me until the 2 were compared.

    Bet that policy will be in place NOW.

    Posted by Amanda February 19, 10 03:48 PM
  1. I know people who have breastfed their friends' babies when they are babysitting and the child is wailing and won't take a bottle. The fact that they could soothe the baby was 100x more important to them than whose DNA the baby had.

    Posted by Diamondgirl February 19, 10 03:49 PM
  1. I think this is much ado about the wrong issue. The breastfeeding mistake is harmless. The hospital and the staff involved should apologize. No one has been harmed.

    But, the real problem is how did the staff make an error in identifying a newborn? Newborns have bracelets with identifying information. What if the child was subjected to an invasive test or procedure due to an error in identity?

    Is the lawsuit about breastfeeding or oversight in identifying the newborn? One is much more serious than the other.

    Posted by portiaperu February 19, 10 03:49 PM
  1. I think people have lost sight of the fact that accidents and mistakes happen. No one was harmed, no babies died a horrid death. This is the same mindset that blames parents for every accident that ever befalls a child, that then leads to everyone sucking all the joy out of our kids' lives in order to keep them 'safe' (i.e., prevent lawsuits). These are going to be the same people suing school districts because little Brittanee scraped her knee on the playground. It was an accident. They apologized. Let it go.

    Should the hospital review their policies? Sure. But to waste even more of our country's time and money on yet another lawsuit? Please.

    Posted by bms February 19, 10 03:52 PM
  1. For the child that was fed from 25 different women after his mother passed away... I think that is crazy! What about the bonding with dad! Is formula/bottle feeding that terrible? This child had a revolving door of women coming in to do something that was the most intimate and bonding time with my children in the early months. Sure mom would have wanted him to be breastfed... but that was when she was thinking it was going to be from her! I think breastfeeding anothers child in times of emergencies - the HAITI Disaster - WWII, but I don't agree with the wet nurse for convienence or doing it to be trendy.

    Posted by Aideen February 19, 10 04:00 PM
  1. I'm a man, and a public health scientist. My one and only concern here it the health aspect. Other than that I think a community working together is important and that breast feeding is essential to a new born.
    From the legal counsel perspective, the irresponsibility and poor organization at the hospital should be the facts which the mother points to for her legal case. Obviously emotional distress and trauma have been seen as grounds for a case in the past, and this is no different. Therefore I believe that the article really is confounding two issues, the irresponsibility of the hospital and the right to breast feed.

    Posted by SteveF February 19, 10 04:00 PM
  1. agree with number 10-Can we stop with the breastfeeding questions and articles? What's the big deal? Some do it, some don't and frankly, who cares. It's a personal choice and it shouldn't be banned or mandated. All the issue does is pit women against each other. Enough already!

    Posted by Molly Avers February 19, 10 04:03 PM
  1. I have nursed my sister's child. When my neighbor was ill, while nursing her child, she had to stop for a few days due to her medicine. I thought we were extremely good friends but when I offered to nurse her child she was horrified. I was amazed and saddened that her infant was put on a bottle. I think the mother that sued for this "one time" mistake is trying to get money. Is the mother of the baby also suing the hospital? Law suits should be regulated to keep these inconsequential and frivilous suits out of court. The only ones to really make the money are the attorneys.

    Posted by Gingit4 February 19, 10 04:03 PM
  1. I don't see how this is going to be much of a lawsuit.

    The cause of action would likely be negligent infliction of emotional distress. Contrary to headlines, emotional injuries/"pain and suffering" are hardly a goldmine. I'm curious as to how she would go about proving psychological injury as well. She could claim all sorts of stress and anxiety...but teasing out what anxiety was caused by the mix-up and what was caused by being a new mother is complicated. This would be a nuisance-type payout, nothing more.

    Just a FYI: you can't claim "what could have happened" as an injury in a suit. That the mother could have taken home the wrong child, etc. is not relevant. She needs an actual - not hypothetical - injury to sue.

    Posted by vvv12345 February 19, 10 04:04 PM
  1. nasty - and in this day and age where mom and baby get wristbands that should match - idiotic that it happened on the hospital's part - yes, i'd sue -

    Posted by josh February 19, 10 04:05 PM
  1. I would breastfeed another's child. The mother whose breast was used is not the one who should be concerned. It's the infant who was fed her possibly tainted milk. Suing the hospital is completely ridiculous unless her milk contains gold. People act so entitled. They made a mistake and apologized.

    Posted by JB February 19, 10 04:13 PM
  1. I'd be willing to bet that the mom's "awful" feeling was less about the mix up and more about about the fact that she breastfed someone else's child and didn't realize it wasn't her own. That's not the hospital's fault.

    #10 and #27 -- if you don't care about breastfeeding then why are you reading an article about it? This is a column about child care and breastfeeding is part of that. Frankly, this was an interesting take on the issue.

    Posted by JVM February 19, 10 04:18 PM
  1. It's most likely the fault of the previous administration

    Posted by Greg February 19, 10 04:27 PM
  1. If you read the Chicago Sun-Times article, the husband bringing the lawsuit against the hospital is a--wait for it!--lawyer. Hmm.

    That being said, any damages that hopefully NOT be awarded to the plaintiffs should limited solely to compensation on the value of the colostrum that was fed to the other child. That's all.

    Posted by Madra February 19, 10 04:29 PM
  1. Nursing is a personal thing, at least it was to me. Fine and good for those who served as wet nurses. I would bet any woman would be outraged if she were in this position--whether she did the nursing or her baby got nursed by a stranger. The hospital should do something as a gesture to account for their mistake so that it's not to happen again. I think the lawsuit is not an inappropriate course to take. I would be more than upset if this happened to my baby.

    Posted by cnf29 February 19, 10 04:30 PM
  1. The hospital should not be mixing up babies - after all, moms and babies are supposed to be wrist-banded and are not supposed to be re-united without continually checking the wristbands. Thats bad news, hands down.
    ...but to sue? That's appaling. As a mom-to-be in six weeks, I would not have an issue nursing someone elses baby. Yes, the hospital made an error, but it's not like they performed surgery on the wrong baby or sent them home with the wrong baby. Its breast milk - get over it!

    Posted by anonymous February 19, 10 04:35 PM
  1. I was handed the wrong infant to breast feed after giving birth to my second child. I completed a feeding and did not find out till the administration of the hospital made me aware of it the next day. I did not sue as that is just crazy. I did submit to any and all blood tests / exams the parents of the baby wanted me to have to reassure them I was healthy and did not pass anything unwanted onto thier child. It is what I would have wanted if my child was fed by another.

    I also breast fed my sisters child while she was out of state for a funeral and while she was taking exams to complete her doctorate. The cousins were happy to share!

    Breast feeding is the healthies way to feed a baby to year one and beyond. It should only be done if the mother wants to breast feed and feels comfortable. It should not be forced or have others made to feel inadequete if they can not/ do not want to breast feed.

    Posted by Catrina February 19, 10 04:48 PM
  1. I've pumped for a friend who had to take a medication that she was told wasn't compatible with breastfeeding.

    If her newborn had refused to take the bottle I would've nursed her baby without hesitation.

    I wouldn't lightly nurse someone elses baby, but if I knew them well and there was a *need*, of course I would.

    And this "oops" incident wouldn't have happened if the mom and baby had been together, as they should have been.

    Posted by Natalie February 19, 10 04:50 PM
  1. Reb64 and Molly -- this is not a standard breastfeeding question. Your posts sound defensive; and at any rate, breastfeeding is a normal part of childrearing, and so it makes sense to discuss any such issues in a childrearing column. A lot of parenting issues come down to "some do this, some don't" -- putting breastfeeding in a category that should not be discussed is odd.

    As for what COULD have gone wrong -- well, you can't really sue for hypothetical things that could have gone wrong but didn't. So yes, what if she had been given the wrong baby to bring home? Didn't happen, so can't sue. The issue is how was she damaged by breastfeeding another person's baby for 5 minutes? It will be really difficult to prove that she was so horrified she suffered some real emotional trauama. Being bothered or worried is not enough -- a court will not care about that. She has to be seriously distressed and traumatized.

    Some annoyances, worries, and bad feelings we have to just deal with. We don't get monetary compensation for every trespass or worry or bad feeling we experience.

    Posted by jlen February 19, 10 04:51 PM
  1. Hospital mistake --> free money!
    Of course the mother is not going to pass up an opportunity to sue. That in itself is the most disgusting aspect of this story.

    Posted by Linda P February 19, 10 04:52 PM
  1. Big whoop. Get over it. It is troubling that the nurse took the baby into the wrong room, but the breastfeeding part of it? Whatever!

    Posted by jenny February 19, 10 04:59 PM
  1. I want to know what the parents of the baby feel? To me, they are more of the ones who should be complaining. THEIR baby was handed to someone else. That someone - who they didn't know anything about, especially the health history - nursed him. Ok, so she feels this might have happened to her child, but it did happen to theirs. I'm sure there is plenty of emotional anguish on the other side. Guess those parents aren't out to try to make a buck.

    Posted by Leah February 19, 10 05:04 PM
  1. First of all, I think newborns should be with their mothers not in some other area of the hospital where such a mixup could possibly occur. That would ensure no mixups and probably enhance the bonding between mother and child. Second of all, I see nothing wrong with breastfeeding another baby or breastfeeding in public. It can be done very subtlely so no one even notices.

    Posted by Casey February 19, 10 05:11 PM
  1. This has to be the most uptight woman ever. Suing, seriously? I can understand being concerned about the fact that they mistook someone else's baby for hers, but even that's nothing to sue about, as long as no harm was done. Does she want the hospital to reiburse her for the value of the breast milk she "wasted" on a child that wasn't her own?
    The story about the group of moms in Michigan was absolutely lovely, btw.

    Posted by erin February 19, 10 05:16 PM
  1. If you have a homebirth you can avoid this type of mistake!

    Posted by Lynn Lloyd February 19, 10 05:42 PM
  1. i would be very upset about the lax security that would allow for the wrong baby to be delivered into my arms. when i had my baby they always did a bracelet/anklet check to confirm that i matched up with the infant they were bringing to me.

    would i sue? no way. would i feel badly to have fed another baby? not really.

    Posted by meg February 19, 10 05:56 PM
  1. This woman thinks she won the lottery. Greedy. And we all pay the price for this greed in our society - more laws than we need and insurance costs that stifle entrepreneurship and destroy lives. Ask not what I can rob from every possible resource at hand, but what can I contribute to the world, even if it is small -like raising your child and staying out of the legal system. Wow, there are a lot of ways to give.

    Posted by Mary February 19, 10 06:07 PM
  1. I'm due to give birth to my first in early July. Much would depend on the reaction/apology from the hospital if I was put in this situation. Boy, I'd be pissed though...

    I'm not worried about knowingly feeding another child, and don't see it as disgusting (although I'd want to know that person's habits very well) but if I was awoken to feed a child that wasn't mine without knowing it, I would not be happy. I'd feel a little violated, since I thought I was nourishing and bonding with my child instead. And I'd expect an abject apology from the hospital...there's no excuse for mistakes like that. But often hospitals/doctors never apologize because it means admitting they screwed up. I would be even more horrified if this happened to my kid and she was breastfed by a stranger and I didn't know what substances, medications, etc. the other mom was using. Everything goes into breast milk!

    I don't consider myself litigious, but sometimes it takes smacking someone in the pocketbook to get them to own up and change their policies. Unfortunately. Let's not kid ourselves. Of course, I wish it wasn't that way.

    I know after reading this story, which I thought was just about community breastfeeding and wet nursing, I will be that much more paranoid when I give birth at BWH. Thanks. Wish I had known, I like to avoid these sorts of labor/hospital horror stories, heaven knows I hear them enough from people sharing their war stories. Not very helpful.

    PS: Re: those that blame the Mom for not checking bracelets---puhleeze...do you realize how tired and sleep deprived you are the day after you give birth at 4 am in the morning? Is there anything else of the hospital's/doctor's work she is required to check for them? Her episotomy stiches? For what we pay for health care, don't you think a minimum standard of care is giving the right baby to the right mother 100% of the time? And while rooming in is definitely on the rise, mom eventually has to get *some* sleep and recover before she goes home and is on her own without nurses to help. At some point, my baby's going to the nursery so I can recover as much as possible before heading home. Taking care of mom does not equate neglecting baby.

    Posted by Issy February 19, 10 07:07 PM
  1. Another question---for the baby boy who didn't get fed by the mother who is suing...how did he eventually get fed? Hopefully not handed off to another mother? For those first few days, breastfeeding (recommended within the first hour after delivery) is crucial and introducing a bottle or pacifier can cause confusion issues. (Babies usually can suck milk from a bottle easier than the breast, so they can get "lazy" and then refuse to nurse from the breast.) Obviously they didn't allow the correct baby boy to go hungry. So how was that addressed?

    Posted by Issy February 19, 10 07:13 PM
  1. The same thing happened to my mother forty years ago. My mom says that the baby was Asian, and she thought it wasn't her baby, but she was so tired, and didn't look really close, so she just took it and started to breastfeed. When the nurse realized the mistake, they all had a good laugh and now it's just a funny story that my mom tells about how she was so tired she didn't notice she was nursing a Chinese baby. This is a ridiculous lawsuit. Years ago cross-nursing and wet nurses was a respected, natural thing. Give me a break.

    Posted by Diane Sam February 19, 10 07:51 PM
  1. I agree with those who have pointed out that a homebirth or at least keeping brand-new babies with you could avoid the mix-up altogether.

    Posted by Jen February 19, 10 07:59 PM
  1. A) I had a medical procedure performed at a hospital earlier today, and it was downright silly how many times I was asked my name and birthdate, with my answers compared to my wristband. But I understand why that is done - precisely to avoid errors like this. No excuses on the part of the hospital in this case. The mix-up was unacceptable, period. They deserve whatever consequences, legal or otherwise, that they get.

    B) Either mom in this case has a right to be enraged by what happened. In addition to the potential for disease as others have pointed out, consider that perhaps the 'other' mom did not want her baby breastfed at all, by anyone. That is a parent's choice to make. Neither mom had a choice here.

    C) As for all the wet-nurse analogies, and to the question as posed, in a free society I see nothing wrong with women choosing to breastfeed their own, or others' babies as they see fit; so long as it is, again, their CHOICE to do so. I don't see the big deal, or any reason for that to be taboo. But again, it all hinges on choice.

    D) This entire article, and most of the responses, are heavily skewed toward the political-bordering-on-religious view that breastfeeding is the ONLY acceptable form of nourishment for a newborn. It is not. Many people, including my wife who initially tried but had difficulty with breastfeeding, have chosen to use formula instead, with no untoward effects. I was a "formula baby" as were my wife and both of our children, and we are all quite healthy, thank you. Breastfeeding has been elevated to an almost ugly form of political correctness in recent years. As a society we really should move past that. Too many parents are made to feel guilty or inadequate by the 'breastfeeding police' in hospital maternity wards. Let's get our priorities straight, shall we? Better that these self-appointed guardians of all that is "proper" should pay a bit more attention to whose baby is being handed off to whom.

    Posted by ajerrold February 19, 10 08:24 PM
  1. I really hope the lawsuit gets dismissed. What are the damages? What's the injury? A baby got breast milk, the breastfeeding mother fed another baby and her baby missed a partial feeding. Oh the travesty.

    My wife and I had a baby nearly 11 months ago. I would have never thought to sue, though I wouldn't have been happy about it. Hopefully the hospital does more to prevent this in the future but please, no lawsuit.

    Posted by MakeLoveNotWar February 19, 10 08:40 PM
  1. Why was the baby separated from the mom to begin with? In state-of-the-art maternity centers, moms and babies room-in together, so there is no middle-of-the-night baby confusion.

    Keeping your baby in your room is the safest (and cuddliest) way to go!

    Posted by shecahz February 19, 10 09:49 PM
  1. The first few days of nursing involves the concentrated, special first milk called colostrum that is yellow to orange in color and has a specific balance of fat, antibodies, protein etc. that is the perfect food for a newborn. There is only so much of it before your real milk comes in and if I gave it to someone else's child before mine, I would be pretty upset. I do not have any objections to women nursing other peoples babies but that would bother me immensely that my baby did not get my colostrum.i would probably sue too.

    Posted by krista February 19, 10 09:49 PM
  1. If anyone has the right to sue it's the parents of the CHILD who was accidentally breast fed. It's their child who could potentially suffer damages if exposed to any illness via the breast feeding.

    Posted by megan February 19, 10 09:49 PM
  1. Would I breastfeed an infant not my own? A hungry baby? Of course, without question. I would ask the woman filing the lawsuit: how did you lose track of your newborn in the first place?

    Posted by Lauren February 19, 10 10:07 PM
  1. I have breastfed friends' children -- several of them. We were all aware of each others' heath statuses.

    If anyone has a complaint here, it's the parents of the baby who was nursed by the wrong woman. The one suing needs to get over it.

    And I agree that hospitals shouldn't be segregating newborns in hospital nurseries, unless there's a pressing medical reason. Keep babies with their mothers and this sort of thing won't happen!

    Posted by Ellen February 19, 10 10:16 PM
  1. I'd be more inclined to sue if I were the mother of the wrongfully placed infant. Hello...health hazard! But the woman doing the feeding is just being a baby herself.

    Posted by Beth February 19, 10 10:20 PM
  1. I'm a guy. My wife is pregnant for the first time. I know my perspective is warped but I don't think this is anything to sue over. The incident should only be used to highlight potential problems with hospitals losing track of babies and their corresponding moms. That is a scary issue, and maybe this indicates a larger problem.

    Everyone likes to sue these days, and it is ruining all of us.

    Posted by steve February 19, 10 10:30 PM
  1. The breastfeeding part in my opinion is no big deal. I donate breastmilk via milkshare and would not have any problem nursing someone else's baby. The part of this story that bothers me is that she was handed the wrong baby!

    Posted by Cat February 19, 10 11:43 PM
  1. i don't think this has anything to do with the issue of breastfeeding, really, it's about the hospital mixing up the babies... i don't know that suing is really necessary, but there should be a definite stand taken by the mother if she is upset, and rightfully so... and agreed with the person who asked, is the mother whose baby was mistakenly given to this woman and nursed upset? and was this woman's baby nursed by another woman? because then you get to the issue of the fluids being passed from mother to child, and whether the mother is in good health. nursing the baby wasn't going to harm that mother, but if she is suing because someone else nursed her baby, then that seems a little more sensible. in any case, what kind of hospital mixes up babies anymore... get it together!

    Posted by meh February 20, 10 01:52 AM
  1. I would breastfeed someone else's baby. That's not what this is about however.

    A similar thing actually happened to me when my oldest, who just turned 11, was born in Camp Hill, PA. He was taken out for the first time since he was born, and another baby was brought back. I tried to nurse the baby but he had trouble latching on, thankfully. Still, I felt incredibly angry and upset and most of all, worried. I worried that this baby had some sort of sickness and disease. Mostly I worried about where my own child was, and what had been done to him. Had some other woman tired to breastfeed him? Had he be given formula against my wishes? It is a terrible feeling. For years, I would revisit the moment, wondering if my baby was really my baby, or if the mix-up had gone further.

    Did I sue? No, but I did write a letter and follow up with phone calls. The hospital did not do it's job. I hope the nurse was reprimanded, because what she did was extremely irresponsible. I always blamed myself a little, too, because even though I was exhausted from a 27 hour labor with 3 hours of pushing and a forceps delivery, I felt like I should have somehow known it wasn't my child.

    I think unless it happens to you, you can't understand the complex feelings involved. I am so glad my fourth baby was a homebirth-- I didn't have to deal with any of the hospital stupidity.

    Posted by Annette February 20, 10 07:25 AM
  1. I don't think the problem is whose milk (except that in this specific case the colostrum cannot be substituted by regular milk).

    The issue here is CARE--normal adults with medical problems take a few minutes to process hospital orders at 4AM. The day after this woman gave birth--at 4AM she was still probably needing several hours of sleep to recover. That's WHY she was in hospital and WHY it is the absolute obligation of hospital employees to take all necessary care.

    The lawsuit is about treatment--what if the hospital employee gave the wrong antibiotic--the wrong painkiller--the wrong IV drip--that could cause severe reactions???

    So just as medical ID is checked for other doses, the medical IDs of TWO patients--mother and child--should have been checked before breastfeeding started. Too bad some places need the kick in the pants of a lawsuit to make this happen.

    Posted by Irene February 20, 10 08:22 AM
  1. It was a mixup, yes. A big deal? Well, no. What are her damages? This is a waste of a lot of people's time. She should get back to nursing her own baby and move on.

    Posted by Kim February 20, 10 03:18 PM
  1. Ohh, here's an idea; instead of letting hospital staff take your baby away and keep it in a nursery, keep it with you and room-in. Separating mothers and babies like this reduces the chances of breastfeeding becoming established, slows the bonding process and allows mistakes like this to happen.

    Worth suing over? No. Man up, take responsibility for yourself and your baby and keep them close.

    Posted by Gloria Stitz February 20, 10 06:39 PM
  1. People need to get over themselves. Reading some of these comments make me laugh - betrayal of trust....haha. Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world for any mother and baby (or animal) to survive - but why is everyone so overly dramatic? gosh. Again - it's is a mistake by the nurse but suing seems over the top - can't anyone just accept an apology anymore.

    Posted by Janie February 21, 10 04:08 PM
  1. I don't think she should sue over the breastfeeding issue, however, the mix-up is certainly something to kick a fuss up about - JUST ANOTHER REASON TO KEEP YOUR BABY WITH YOU!

    Posted by Hannah February 22, 10 07:09 AM
  1. 52 said, "D) This entire article, and most of the responses, are heavily skewed toward the political-bordering-on-religious view that breastfeeding is the ONLY acceptable form of nourishment for a newborn. It is not."

    I don't know where you get this perspective, but maybe it escaped your notice that the article is about breastfeeding, not about breastfeeding versus formula. The whole formula thing is irrelevant to this discussion.

    Posted by barbara February 22, 10 08:51 AM
  1. Sorry, must correct. It was the Boston Lying In, not the Boston Lyon Inn (now Beth Isreal). And that was never the Beth Israel. The Beth Israel has always been the Beth Israel. Boston Lying In became Boston Hospital for Women, which then merged with the 2 Brigham Hospitals (Peter Bent and Robert Bent) to become Brigham and Women's Hospital.

    I don't think that these are fair comparison's, but I think it is ludicrious to sue over this issue, as I think the vast majority of lawsuits are.

    Posted by ash February 22, 10 10:36 AM
  1. All this arguing, suing, trust issues... eek! Was anyone hurt or damaged? Did an infant go missing? Some Hospital staff and receiving parent(s) of breast-fed baby a little 'tupid that day? You bet! I never left my babies in the nurseries at the hospital ... they were always right beside me in the hospital. Even my 2nd son stayed with me as soon as he was safely out of NICU.

    I think the parents of the baby who was given to that sour woman for a feeding ought to consider a lawsuit. it was *their* baby.

    oh my ... silly people. silly lawsuits.

    i count my blessings, and put this out of my head now... time for some cookies and tea and fun with the kids!!

    Posted by canadianginger February 23, 10 02:49 AM
  1. So why isn't the parents of the child who was being breastfed not suing? THIS would make more sense as they don't know the health of the milk that was unwittingly given...not the other way around. More than likely the mix-up wasn't told to the parent of the child that got mixed up. The mix-up shouldn't have been COMPLETE had the hospital done a BAND check to make sure they matched between babe and mother as an expereince I had with one of my babes. It was explained to me that this band check and a "boundary" with an alarm in the maternity ward was to prevent such mix-ups as well as kidnappingsand that it was pretty standard throughout the country.

    Posted by a mommy February 27, 10 09:46 PM
  1. I definitely think they are most likely suing because they know they can get away with it and get money. I would never sue and I think their reaction is a little over the top. What is so wrong with feeding another's child or having someone else feed your child? The only thing I would have been worried about was the possibility of HIV, etc that can be transmitted through breast milk. To say that it is awful is just ridiculous.

    Posted by Jess February 27, 10 10:40 PM
  1. Being given a different baby in hospital? Good reason to home birth, imo. ;) I have breastfed someone else's baby, but it was with full consent of his mother who was busy parenting her other children at the moment. I wouldn't sue if someone had accidentally breastfed my child, but I would certainly insist that other mother/baby teams did not get mixed up again.

    Posted by Carrie February 27, 10 10:44 PM
  1. Yup, would, and have. And another has breastfed one of my children.

    Posted by Raechel February 28, 10 12:16 AM
  1. Yes, I would. My oldest was nursed by a friend when she refused bottles while I was in surgery. I was not concerned with it at all. And I think it's beyond ridiculous that she's suing because she nursed the wrong baby.

    This is what happens when you give your baby over to a nursing staff. If you aren't willing to accept that, you should be rooming your baby in or birthing at home, where mistakes like that won't happen.

    Hardly the worst thing a hospital staff has done with a newborn baby.

    Posted by Heather February 28, 10 05:04 AM
  1. The question really is - would you let a hungry child go hungry, or would you feed him? Of course you would feed him - at least I hope any realy mother would! And breast milk is what babies eat....therefore that's how to feed them!
    Of course I would breastfeed someone else's child!

    Posted by Kristine February 28, 10 09:44 AM
  1. I don't even see how this incident can be considered repulsive, let alone something to sue over. Jees, people, get a life. Breastfeeding is a completely natural and beautiful act. A newborn child wants nothing more than to be comforted and fed. What in the world is "repulsive"?

    Posted by Paula March 5, 10 08:15 AM
  1. This happened to me- except my baby was delivered to the wrong room and breastfed by a stranger. The HIPAA laws prevented us from being allowed access to the other mother's medical records or history. I can't tell you how horrific it is to not know what my child was exposed to. She now has to undergo HIV & Hepititis tests (has gone through 1 round of testing already & has to have another at 6 months). And no- we are not suing (unless of course one of the tests does end up being positive but this looks unlikely at this point).

    Posted by LJ March 5, 10 01:07 PM
  1. I would absolutely breastfeed another woman's baby if necessary. Yes, the hospital made a mistake but to sue? Ridiculous. I wish I was the judge in this case. I would have to throw the case out. If anything, this new mom should be happy she had the opportunity to give this baby a gift of breast milk. Who knows if his own mom was going to choose to nurse.

    Posted by Stacy March 5, 10 10:31 PM
  1. I would expect an apology and an explanation of how the hospital will prevent it from happening again, but it would be a little funny to me too. This happened on The Office this week and it was funny!
    I breastfed my adopted child so I guess that's my perspective. babies need to be fed, and supposedly, bfing is best, so.....

    Posted by sm March 8, 10 04:15 PM
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