Baby Switched at NSW Hospital; Breastfed by Stranger

A newborn baby was switched at birth after a New South Wales hospital made the error, giving the baby to another mother to be breastfed.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that two mothers gave birth at Gosford hospital in New South Wales. The two were reported to share a room on August 18. But after the babies were taken to the maternity nursery, the hospital mixed up their identities.

Ellie, the newborn baby girl, was accidentally given to the wrong mother. The mother breastfed the baby while her real daughter was still in the maternity nursery. A midwife told the news to Ellie’s real mother, Stefanie Phillips. Having learned that her baby was breastfed by a stranger, Stefanie was devastated.

“[I was told] the other mother has breastfed your daughter for two hours and got photos with her … skin-on-skin, did everything I wanted to do with her,” Stefanie told Seven News, as noted by SMH.

Watch interview here.

With the incident, Ellie has accepted breastfeeding from Stefanie, so the mom decided to bottle feed her baby. The site mentioned that both mothers have undergone maternal blood tests. The tests would see if there was any possible risk that was passed on to the baby when she was breastfed by the wrong mother.

The Gosford Hospital had apologized to both parents, but Stefanie said she was overwhelmed by the situation, especially since she’s a new mom so she didn’t know how to react.

Notably, Stefanie’s partner, Francesco Messina, said that they were not given appropriate support.

As reported on, Central Coast Local Health District chief executive Matt Hanrahan apologized for the incident. He said, “Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our youngest patients and their families is our priority and it is very concerning that a routine identification check was not performed on this occasion.”

The site mentioned that NSW health policies now require all midwifery staff to ensure “patient identification and procedure matching training.”

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