That’s Not My Baby


I visited a friend in Delhi today who has just given birth and, being British, found the differences in procedures and norms quite fascinating.  My dear friend was in a private hospital and is recovering well, however, when I arrived at the hospital I wasn’t allowed to take in the flowers I had just spend an hour selecting and directing how the arrangement should be done and when I walked into her room, NO BABY!

In India babies are kept together in a communal ‘nursery’ and the nurses play an active part in bathing, nappy changes and feeding.  I found that quite distressing but my friend, a new mother, just shrugged and said it was quite helpful and that’s how it was done here.  I went down to see the baby through a glass window with the baby’s aunt and as if in a line up, we silently pointed the nurse to the baby that was ours and she held him up and we nodded: it’s him!

Another nurse was feeding a new born baby milk from a sort of metal vile, not a bottle.  He just looked at her blankly, where was the mother/baby bond?  I’m used to seeing doting mothers coo down at their babies whilst feeding.  The mothers also feed the babies but these are top-ups as required and I felt really sorry for the baby.

A different Indian friend recalled her horror story to me about the nurses bringing her a different baby in the middle of the night for her to breast feed and she was so upset as they wouldn’t believe that the baby wasn’t hers.  The confusion was finally cleared up and the correct baby given but OMG!! How easy would it be to just swap them all?  Babies are all swollen and strange looking at birth how would you know you took your own baby home?


P.S. Image is just an example there were only three babies in the hospital I visited, I think there was space for six babies.

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