Police officer goes viral after images of her breastfeeding an abandoned baby are shared on Facebook
A female police officer in Argentina has been applauded for her kindness after she breastfed a malnourished baby who was brought to authorities by child services. The moment was captured by colleagues, who shared a photo on Facebook.
The baby had been brought into a children's hospital in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires, where the woman was on guard duty. Celeste Ayala, who reportedly has a one-year-old baby herself, was working at the Sor Maria Ludovica hospital last week when social services workers brought in six children.
The youngest of the children was a crying baby boy, who was described as "smelly and dirty". Workers said he was only six months old and was malnourished. When Celeste saw clear indicators that the baby was desperate for food, she offered to breastfeed him
"I noticed that he was hungry, as he was putting his hand into his mouth," she told local media. "So I asked to hug him and breastfeed him."
The workers agreed, and Celeste then proceeded to breastfeed the neglected baby in the hospital. He reportedly stopped crying as he was being nursed by the officer.
"It was a sad moment, it broke my soul seeing him like this, society should be sensitive to the issues affecting children, it cannot keep happening," she said. Local media reported that the baby is one of six siblings whose single mother has been struggling to look after them all.
The moment was photographed by another police officer who praised his colleague for her compassion. He uploaded it to Facebook, where the photo received over 110,000 shares and 150,000 reactions.
A rough translation of the post reads:
"I want to make public this great gesture of love that you had today for this little baby who you did not know, but for who you did not hesitate to act like a mother, you didn't care about THE FILTH AND THE SMELL like the staff of the hospital stated. Things like that are not seen every day."
Cristian Ritondo, Buenos Aires' police chief, also heard of Celeste's compassionate act and announced on Twitter that they had decided to promote her as a token of their appreciation.
The tweet can be translated to say:
"Today we received Celeste, the officer who nursed a baby at the children's Hospital #LaPlata to notify her of her promotion. We wanted to thank you in person for that gesture of spontaneous love that managed to calm the baby's cry. The police that make us proud, the police we want."
While most national health administrations warn against "milk sharing", Celeste saw that the baby was malnourished and offered an immediate solution to ease his pain. Wet nurses and milk banks do exist for babies to receive sufficient breastmilk if their own mothers can't supply it.
The baby and his siblings are presumably now getting the care they need, with thanks to Celeste and her colleagues.