Hopsital mix-up and over-reaction (IMO) to accidental breastfeeding - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Baby is breast-fed by wrong woman at Virginia Hospital Center

"On top of that, to find that another mother breast-fed him, without my knowledge, without my consent, was horrid. . . . He was exposed to someone else's body fluid."

Horrid? Really?

I agree that the hospital misplacing the baby is unconscionable, even horrid, but does anybody else find the mom's reaction to the breastfeeding a bit ridiculous? And then for the reporter to play up this angle over the misplacing of the baby? It seems a bit much and only results in undermining breastfeeding by associating it with fear and disease.


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#2 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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I wouldn't have called it horrid, but I'd certainly be squicked out if someone else breastfed my baby. I would prefer that he be fed a bottle of formula.

Not that I think formula is as good or better than breastmilk, because I don't. But it's the whole bodily fluids, intimate act thing.

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#3 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 11:45 AM
 
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I'm a die hard breastfeeding mother, and with my first, a wrong baby was brought to me in the hospital. I tried to nurse him and who knows what happened to my own little guy during the mix up. I was absolutely panicked (a) knowing I had tried to nurse a baby who wasn't my own, not knowing his own medical background and (b) not knowing if a stranger with an unknown medical history had tried to breastfeed my own baby. Unless you've been in their shoes, I don't think you can really judge their reaction. I was horrified that the babies were mixed up and would have been upset no matter what they fed him.

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#4 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 11:47 AM
 
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i think it's a bit of an overreaction. but i live in Ontario, where we room-in with our babies. i am SO grateful for that!! there is very little room for a baby switch where i live. maybe that is something that should be considered more in the US?

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#5 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 11:48 AM
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I would be upset, too-- what drugs, foods, possible medical issues does the other mother have, I'd be thinking...

But it's true, formula is given w/o consent a lot and doesn't make the news.
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#6 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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My FIL works at that hospital.....

I do think it's an overreaction. I can see where it would be unsettling. But, it's not THAT big of a deal, definitely not something to pursue with such seriousness.

And if my baby had been fed formula, then, yes, you better believe I would have made a stink about it.

This is one of those times when I'm extra glad my kids are biracial and don't look like other babies, and also that I never allowed my babies to go to the nursery or be away from DH or I. No mix-ups possible.
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#7 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 12:00 PM
 
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I have to admit- I would be pissed if that happened to me/my baby. You have no idea what is in that mothers body (just for example.... if you had a drug free birth because you had huge concerns about drugs being passed to the baby through breastmilk but the other mother had all those drugs you worried about).

But I also agree- the real issue is the mix-up of the babies. That was my biggest fear when I had ds. He roomed in with me almost the entire time (except the day after he was born for about 30 minutes while I took a shower because his UAV "dad" refused to stay in the hospital for 30 minutes to watch him while I took a shower so ds went to the nursery).

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#8 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It was one feeding, by a newborn. The likelihood is so small and breastmilk, well probably colostrum in this case, is so robust. I think you make sure the other mom doesn't have gaping sores on her and move on. Keep things in perspective that your baby was found.

Also, I don't understand calling it an intimate act. That makes it sound a little too extreme to me and seems to be the opposite of what lactivists work for when we are trying to normalize it with any other type of feeding. Yes, there are many benefits to the child beyond feeding but it is still just feeding a baby. If we want to make this the norm, it needs to be talked about that way.

In any case, the fear-based reporting is the worst part of this whole incident. That she goes on and on about the horrors of other babies being nursed or almost nursed by other moms is excessive. I would rather take my odds on the cross-nursing than a host of other possibilities with an actual significant risk.

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#9 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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I would describe the incident in the same way she did. I do not want anyone else nursing my child.

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#10 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 12:46 PM
 
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I would call that an overreaction. but i would happily cross-nurse with friends and would accept wet-nursing or donor EBM before i used formula, so unless the other woman was sick with something terrible (not very likely - mama's with things their babies would possibly contract through the milk generally aren't BFing and would therefore give the switched baby formula) i would probably laugh it off (the BFing, NOT the hospital's inability to care properly for its charges!).

However, if it means more people consider/demand homebirth and/or rooming in becomes a norm so this can't happen, then i'm all for it being "horrid".

I don't really get the "body fluids" angle - you don't need a photos and copy of the veterinary history of the cow when you buy milk at the market, right? Milk is milk, unless it's from a woman, then it's a potentially disgusting body fluid? Funny how milk from a smelly old cow is seen as wholesome, good and pure by so many people, when milk from our own species is seen as something suspect or revolting.
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#11 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 12:56 PM
 
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If you read the article, she was. Even though I don't like the article's overall tone; I have nothing but sympathy for this mom.

To first loose your child, and then put him to your breast and have him refuse to nurse was heartbreaking to me as a new mama. to know that he was feeding on someone elses breast would have made me even sadder.

I would have been livid if anyone had fed my child formula, and the same goes for another women's breastmilk, when I was trying to give him the best-- my milk.

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#12 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 01:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MoonJelly View Post
Also, I don't understand calling it an intimate act.
If I have to undress to do it, it's an intimate act.

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#13 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 02:03 PM
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If I have to undress to do it, it's an intimate act.
Hmm. I never got naked to nurse my kids. I show more skin at the beach, and I don't consider swimming or sunbathing with my friends to be intimate acts.

Yeah, I understand being icked out by what possible germs/meds are in that other woman's body. But at the same time, we as a culture are speaking from privilege when we say "I would never want someone else to nurse my baby." We know that, in the rare instance we'd be unable to nurse, alternative food sources are available.

My grandfather was nursed by his aunt as an infant. His mother was incredibly sick and wasn't producing. I'm glad he got breastmilk instead of goat milk or that Carnation/Karo combination lots of babies got in those days.
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#14 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 02:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by texmati View Post
If you read the article, she was. Even though I don't like the article's overall tone; I have nothing but sympathy for this mom.

To first loose your child, and then put him to your breast and have him refuse to nurse was heartbreaking to me as a new mama. to know that he was feeding on someone elses breast would have made me even sadder.

I would have been livid if anyone had fed my child formula, and the same goes for another women's breastmilk, when I was trying to give him the best-- my milk.
I didn't see it anywhere saying she was breastfeeding, only that another mom breastfed her newborn.

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#15 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 02:06 PM
 
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It is an intimate act. Time after time on the boards, I read about how BFing is a special bonding relationship and when something like this happens, all of a sudden it is "oh it is just feeding." I don't view it that way. I would take donor milk, but unless the situation was dire, I would never let someone put my child to their breast. This woman's feelings are valid and I find it sad that she is being told she is overreacting.

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#16 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 02:14 PM
 
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Uh, okay... I've been lactating for 10 years straight with five exclusively bf'ed babies and I would be incredibly po'ed if this happened.

And it isn't a matter of never wanting someone else to feed my babies, but of not knowing this other mother at all, not knowing her history, etc...
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#17 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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Another reason to get rid of nurseries and room in all babies. New moms and babies should be seen as a unit! I can't imagine letting my newborn baby out of my touch, let alone my sight. How horrible for both mothers, and babies.

That said, I would rather a stranger breastfeed my little guy than give him formula. Of course, I realise that neither would happen so that's easy for me to say. I birthed at home, and when he had to be admitted to hospital several weeks later, I'm the mom who wore her baby to the washroom rather than leave him alone in his hospital room...
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#18 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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Another reason to get rid of nurseries and room in all babies. New moms and babies should be seen as a unit! I can't imagine letting my newborn baby out of my touch, let alone my sight. How horrible for both mothers, and babies.

That said, I would rather a stranger breastfeed my little guy than give him formula. Of course, I realise that neither would happen so that's easy for me to say. I birthed at home, and when he had to be admitted to hospital several weeks later, I'm the mom who wore her baby to the washroom rather than leave him alone in his hospital room...
I am against getting rid of nurseries. When I delivered my first, I was in labor for over 24 hours. I had no sleep and was in no way capable of tending to a baby. I welcomed the help of the nursery. It is not horrible for mothers and babies. It can be helpful and warranted when the mother needs a little rest so she can regroup after labor.

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#19 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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But at the same time, we as a culture are speaking from privilege when we say "I would never want someone else to nurse my baby." We know that, in the rare instance we'd be unable to nurse, alternative food sources are available.
I don't necessarily think that's true. If I was unable to nurse my child I would want him to get breastmilk from somewhere.... but I would make sure I trusted the source! Not just some woman who happened to give birth in the same hospital at the same time!

My ds and my oldest sisters ds were born weeks apart. My sister had supply issues. I had over-supply (seriously had bags of frozen breastmilk going to waste). I gave my milk to my sister who used a SNS to feed it to her son. If roles were reversed I would have accepted breastmilk from her in an instant. If something happened to me (accident, whatever) and I wasn't able to nurse my son I would hope she would have done it (if she had oversupply issues, obviously I wouldn't want her to take breastmilk away from her son to give to mine). If something had happened to her, I would have nursed her son without blinking an eye (or pumped for him if he didn't accept me nursing him).

But I know and trust my sister. I don't know and trust some random person who just happens to be a couple rooms down from me in a hospital. Two totally different scenarios.

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I didn't see it anywhere saying she was breastfeeding, only that another mom breastfed her newborn.
On page 4 of the article....

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Libby knew she wanted to nurse as soon as possible. She breast-fed him two hours after the birth and several more times, recording the feedings on a clipboard hanging from his bassinet.
Quote:
At 6:30 p.m., Libby tried to feed Spencer, but he wouldn't eat. That's when she noticed the feeding log had an entry of 5:43 p.m., in someone else's handwriting.

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#20 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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over reacted? No way, i'd flip out if that happend to us. I don't want my newborns mouth on anyones body. thank you very much. disgusting. and yes, i was a bf'ing mother.
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#21 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 03:07 PM
 
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Am I the only one thinking of that episode of The Office?

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#22 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 03:08 PM
 
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The nursing wouldn't have bothered me. I'm a big believer in cross nursing. I think it should be normalized instead of demonized.
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#23 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 03:09 PM
 
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I am against getting rid of nurseries. When I delivered my first, I was in labor for over 24 hours. I had no sleep and was in no way capable of tending to a baby. I welcomed the help of the nursery. It is not horrible for mothers and babies. It can be helpful and warranted when the mother needs a little rest so she can regroup after labor.
Agreed. As I said in an earlier post here, I used the nursery for my ds for a few minutes while I took a shower. Should I have not taken a shower? I don't think that would have been beneficial to me or my son. My ds's bio-dad wasn't there. What was I supposed to do? Not everyone has dozens of people sitting in the waiting room, waiting to jump in so mama can take care of herself for a few minutes. I'm pretty sure I stank pretty bad at that point (was admitted to the hospital Wednesday, gave birth Friday afternoon, finally took a shower late Saturday morning.... it had been 4 days since I showered!) and I'm sure the nurses were happy to see me shower. LOL!

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#24 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 03:23 PM
 
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I was rooming in when it happened to me. They took him out for a shot (I was younger then) and switched him with the other baby bringing him back. Even hospitals that have rooming in here have nurseries. I really don't that line of thinking anyway, because it seems a lot like blaming the mother. "Well, if she hadn't allowed them to take the baby, it wouldn't have happened." New mamas have enough going on without an early dose of mama guilt, and I'm sure she's beating herself up enough over it. I know I still feel guilty, and it's 11 years later. For years I wondered if I had the right kid.

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#25 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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The issue is not whether another woman's milk is better than formula.

The issue is not about wet-nursing, when mothers willingly pass their babies around to each other to share feedings in a supportive envronment.

The issue is not about bodily fluids.

The issue is about consent and knowledge and bonding with your baby.

Although many of us are experienced breastfeeders by now, try to remember back to those early days of new-motherhood, with your first baby. Try to remember how nervous you were, how important early bonding was, how much you hoped and worried and dreamed about this baby, but had no actual experience.

And then try to imagine how you would feel when you couldn't find your baby in the nursery. Try to imagine how shocking it would be to see another woman nursing your baby, WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT. And then, you realize you need to put the baby to your breast to ensure you stimulate adequate milk production, and YOUR BABY WONT NURSE!!! because another woman has already nursed him! And try to imagine how much that early experience would affect your early bonding with your baby, how you'd feel that this was 'stolen' from you, and your ability to bond with your baby is compromised because all you can think about is that another woman gave him milk when it should have come from you! And even once your worries about this woman's health are assuaged, there's still an incredible amount of anxiety associated with the entire experience of nursing your baby.

The article doesn't seem to indicate if she stopped nursing or continued (i guess I assumed she continued), but I am sure it has been a difficult experience for this mom.

Sure, i am a fan of wet-nursing, donor milk, etc. But that's not the issue here.

Let's give this mom a break and see how awful this experience has been for her. it shouldn't have happened to her and she feels it every time she thinks about her baby's birth.
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#26 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 03:38 PM
 
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I agree that she definitely overreacted, but I feel like a lot of people tend to strongly react to little things these days. I wouldn't mind if someone nursed my little one, and if in her situation, I would have been grateful that I found DS in someone else's room(as opposed to not finding him, or to learn that he'd been discharged with someone else!) I would have been a little upset at the staff for allowing it to happen, but I would have been grateful to see that he was cared for and fed and happy. Though, i'd probably want a pump, or to feed someone to relieve my breasts!.

but then again, i too wish that cross nursing was a normal practice in today's society.

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#27 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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I wish cross nursing was normal too, but that still doesn't mean I would want strangers walking up, taking my kid without my consent, and nursing him.

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#28 of 32 Old 07-28-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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I am moving this to News & Current Events as it does not really seem to be a lactivism issue in keeping with the Lactivism Forum guidelines.



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#29 of 32 Old 07-29-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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While the theory of cross-nursing is great, breast milk is a biological fluid and can contain many viruses, including HIV and Hep. So, I would be certainly freaked out if a stranger nursed my newborn. I don't see how people can say that this mother was overreacting. How would you feel if someone spread another body fluid on your infant(blood or semen)...I suspect you would be horrified and outraged.

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#30 of 32 Old 07-29-2010, 10:02 PM
 
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I would be freaked out too. Both by the hospital mix up and the non-consent of the nursing. I'm all for cross-nursing, but when I KNOW the person and can determine if its an ok source for my child. A random stranger is a totally different situation IMO. Also, for many moms the first couple days are extremely important for establishing a good latch and supply. We had one slip up with my youngest and she absolutely refused to latch for 3 more months no matter what we tried or how many Lactation consultants I visited. I was devastated. Not everyone can easily breastfeed and for some of us its much much harder. (I did breastfeed for 13 months with her after we overcame the latch issue though!! Yay!) Comparing it to cow milk is not accurate either since milk from cows is pasteurized.

Breastfeeding is an intimate act. Intimate does not equate to sexual though. Its a very special bond between mom and child. I don't think calling it intimate is a bad thing, I think we should see more public breastfeeding to show off how wonderful it is and how special that bond is.

Rooming in is wonderful, but nurseries have a place too. I knew I wanted to room in with my kids. I couldn't with my oldest because of serious medical issues that required her to be in level 2, but it set it in stone that my others would be rooming in. Then it happened, when my youngest was born I found myself unable to care for her late that night. I couldn't control my hands, they were weak and wouldn't do what I wanted and I couldn't see straight. I told the nurse and she poo-poo'd me. She set her in my arms and I couldn't even hold her to make sure she was secure, I had no grip or control at all. I was barely lucid. I begged the nurse to take her because I was afraid I was going to drop her, the nurse told me there was no nursery and left me. She came back later to put her in the bassinet but it still haunts me that they put her in my lap and refused to acknowledge that it simply wasn't safe. I couldn't even push the call button to summon another nurse or if something would have happened. The hospital I was in even allowed co-sleeping and was very "crunchy", didn't even offer formula and didn't give away samples either. If you wanted it, you had to supply it. So I'm sure that made a huge difference. The whole experience made me realize that there is a place for things even mainstream, even if I couldn't fathom myself using them. Thus I no longer jump to assumptions or judge other mothers.

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