A mother who decided she could not afford to pay the medical bills for her sickly baby suffocated the newborn child - and then learned the infant was not hers, reports said.

Newspapers quoted police in the city of Supanburi as saying Somsri Jaita, 20, has been charged with murdering the newborn child she was given at a hospital by mistake.The woman broke down and confessed to the crime when police, searching for the child at the request of hospital authorities, said there had been a mixup at the hospital and she was given the wrong baby.

Officials at the hospital at Supanburi, 80 miles north of Bangkok, said nurses had misread a faded hospital identification bracelet.

The woman, who worked at a shoe factory, said she smothered the child because she could not afford to pay hospital bills.

Somsri, separated from her husband, led police to the body of the slain baby, which she had stuffed into a bag and left in a field.