'Switched at birth': How it's happened in SA, and what this TikTok mom plans to do to prevent it

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"Yeah... he's getting a cute white or blue toe at birth". (Getty Images)
"Yeah... he's getting a cute white or blue toe at birth". (Getty Images)

While it's true that babies switched at birth are not the most common thing, it does occur. 

In South Africa, as recent as 2020, two moms almost left the hospital with the wrong newborns.  

Luckily, the children were not the same sex, so the swop was evident to one mom who noticed that she had the wrong baby after a nappy change. Tests were then done to confirm that the families had the correct babies. 

In 2010, a different set of local parents were not as lucky and left the hospital with the wrong children. 

Three years later, the swop was discovered when one of the mothers sued for maintenance, which meant paternity testing needed to be done. 

It was then revealed that neither parent was biologically related to the child. The matter was taken to court and the parents were eventually ordered to keep raising the babies they had taken home. Visits with their biological children, however, were allowed. 

Another switch occurred locally in 1989, when mothers Margaret Clinton-Parker and Sandra Dawkins left the hospital, unknowingly with the wrong sons. 

When the truth was discovered, the women sued the hospital, and both received financial compensation but chose to keep the sons they had been raising. 

Also read: Four important things to do if your baby is born prematurely 

A unique strategy 

While it may seem unlikely, the fear of a potential switch at birth might have struck you as you contemplate the birth of your baby. 

It's certainly a fear that's been weighing heavily on one US-based expectant mom who says she's not taking any chances with a potential baby swop in hospital. 

The mom, who goes by the username @my_sahm_lifestyle on TikTok, went viral after telling her more than 200 000 followers that she plans to paint her newborn's toenail either white or blue to ensure she takes the right baby home. 

"Have y'all [sic] seen switched at birth? Yeah... he's getting a cute white or blue toe at birth," the mom captioned the post. 

In the video, the mom can be seen seated and stroking her baby bump, explaining via subtitles in her TikTok that while people may think she's "crazy," she's prepared to do whatever to ease her paranoia about a potential hospital switch up. 

@my_sahm_lifestyle Have y’all seen switched at birth? Yeah.. he’s getting a cute white or blue toe at birth lmfao #foryou #fyp #ByeByeSundayBlues #ImoniCarly #newborns #laboranddelivery #babyboy #pregnany #cautious ? Crazy - Patsy Cline

'I've heard of babies being switched at birth' 

"People thinking I'm crazy for thinking of painting my son's toenail when he's born. Me paranoid because I've heard of babies being switched at birth, so whatever works and keeps me at ease, I'll do," the subtitles read. 

In the comment section, the mom's idea proved popular, with a fellow mom saying her strategy after she gave birth was not allowing her newborn out of her sight. 

"I just didn't let them take my baby out the room whatsoever. They did everything right in front of me," the follower commented. 

Another mom who said she was a NICU nurse agreed with the TikTok mom's idea, saying that she might just do a full-on pedicure on her newborn, especially if "he has to go to the NICU". 

If like the NICU nurse, you're thinking about using the TikTok mom's nail polish idea, just remember to go with a nontoxic option since the nail polish will be used on a newborn.   

Have you ever been paranoid about your baby being switched at birth? 


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