A police officer in Argentina is being applauded by the internet after an image of her breastfeeding a neglected baby has gone viral.
When Celeste Ayala saw a ‘dangerously malnourished’ baby arrive at the hospital where she was working as a police officer, she knew she had to help, and also quickly.
Spotting the baby’s hunger cues and that the staff at Sister Maria Ludovica Children’s Hospital in Buenos Aires were overworked, Celeste offered to hold and then breastfeed the baby.
“I noticed that he was hungry, as he was putting his hand into his mouth,” Celeste, who has a baby herself, told local media.
Quiero hacer público este gran gesto de amor que tuviste hoy con ese bebito, que sin conocerlo no dudaste y por un…
A touching image
After the selfless act, a colleague uploaded the image of the uniformed officer breastfeeding the infant in the hospital corridors to social media. Since then it has been feverishly shared, and it’s fair to say the internet’s heart has been warmed as a result.
Not only is the photo a powerful image of a moment captured – a hungry baby receiving the love and care that he desperately needs from a stranger – but it is also a beautiful reminder that when you are a mother, you can’t just switch that off.
As Celeste explained to Yahoo:
“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.”
Neglected and in need
It is reported that the baby, who was described by hospital staff as being “smelly and dirty,” was neglected. His mother had been struggling to care for him.
Praise for mother acts
Celeste has been commended for stepping in and helping the innocent baby in such a loving and natural way. So much so that she has even received a promotion as a result. She has been elevated from officer to sergeant.
“We wanted to thank you in person for that gesture of spontaneous love that managed to calm the baby’s cry,” writes Vice President of the legislature of Buenos Aires, Cristian Ritondo on Twitter.
The fire department where Celeste also volunteers shared the image and praised her actions.
FELICITAMOS A NUESTRO CADETE A BOMBERO.Queremos felicitar al cadete a bombero voluntario Celeste Ayala que en el dia…
“We want to congratulate the voluntary firefighting cadet Celeste Ayala who yesterday in her job as police officer whilst she was on guard duty at the Hospital, breastfed a young child who arrived crying,” it said in a statement.
“Actions like these fill us with pride and obligate us to redouble the effort, the work and the solidarity with our community.”
Thank you, Celeste, for reminding the world how powerful and giving mums truly are, and also that ours is a job we never switch off from, even when wearing a different hat.
Read more about breastfeeding:
- Milk wars: ‘It’s time join forces instead of fighting about feeding babies
- You’ll LOVE this brilliant photo of a mum “covering up” while breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding your baby to sleep? Here’s why it doesn’t make you a bad mum