Having a baby certainly isn’t cheap, but when factoring in newborn-related costs, we usually think of things like diapers (eco-friendly ones are even more expensive), nursery decor and stylish baby mementos. Hospital costs can also factor in, but did you ever think you’d be charged money to hold your own baby? Because that’s exactly what happened to one woman who had to pay $40 to hold her newborn after giving birth.

New born baby with his mother

In the pic posted by a Reddit user, you can clearly see that the charges include over $3k for a c-section and a few hundred more for various birthing costs, as well as $39.35 for “skin to skin after c sec.”

“Skin to skin” is exactly what it sounds. Basically, after a woman gives birth, the baby is placed on her chest or belly for immediate skin-to-skin contact, which is beneficial for both the baby and the mother. It’s also obvious that a mother would want to hold her child after carrying it for nine months and finally delivering the little one. It’s something that has been done naturally throughout the ages, and charging for it seems totally absurd.

hospital bill _ charge for holding baby

The proud papa who posted the pic wasn’t peeved in any way; in fact, he claimed the hospital did a great job delivering his new baby boy. Rather, he felt that this was a reflection of the sometimes wonky American health care system.

“During the C-section the nurse asked my wife if she would like to do skin to skin after the baby was born. Which of course anyone would say yes to. We just noticed it in the bill today.” He added, “The nurse let me hold the baby on my wife’s neck/chest. Even borrowed my camera to take a few pictures for us. Everyone involved in the process was great, and we had a positive experience. We just got a chuckle out of seeing that on the bill.”

Premature baby girl resting on mother's breasts

One labor and delivery nurse commented with a possible explanation, saying, “I didn’t know that hospitals charged for it, but doing ‘skin to skin’ in the operating room requires an additional staff member to be present just to watch the baby. We used to take all babies to the nursery once the NICU team made sure everything was okay. ‘Skin to skin’ in the OR is a relatively new thing and requires a second Labor and Delivery RN to come in to the OR and make sure the baby is safe.”

Though not all hospitals charge such a fee, it’s always best to check if you don’t want extra costs popping up on your bill.

What do you think about hospitals charging mothers to hold their babies (or doing “skin to skin”) after birth? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(h/t Vox; photos via Getty, reddit)