Historically, mothers of nobility would pass their newborns to hired women who would breastfeed them. This typically doesn't happen anymore in New York or other states because medical science has learned a great deal about the special qualities of a mother's milk. One mother who is well aware of those qualities is suing a hospital in her state for medical malpractice for a mix-up that risked endangering the health of her newborn.
When a mother nurses her baby, she passes along important nutrients and immunities. However, there is also a risk of passing along infectious diseases. This is why doctors discourage mothers from allowing other women to breastfeed their babies. When a nurse brought an infant from the hospital nursery to a woman for feeding, the woman was alarmed to see that the child in her arms was not her new son. Despite the fact that the children each had three identification bands on their ankles, the nurse had mixed up the babies.
After alerting a nurse, the mother learned that her own child had been accidentally given to the other mother, who inadvertently breastfed him. In the following days, the child underwent a series of blood tests to check for HIV, hepatitis and other infections that can pass through the milk. As would any mother in New York or elsewhere, the baby's mother endured great emotional suffering throughout the ordeal.
Since the incident, the hospital has transitioned to electronic identification bands with a display light that turns green when the mother and infant match. Nevertheless, the mistake brought undue anxiety for the mother and needless medical tests for the baby. The hospital apparently refused to discuss the matter and settle privately, so the woman filed a medical malpractice lawsuit seeking at least $50,000.
Source: startribune.com, "Abbott sued after newborn was breast-fed by wrong mother", Paul Walsh, Dec. 6, 2016