Celeste Ayala, a police officer from Argentina, has been hailed a hero after she was seen breastfeeding a malnourished toddler.
Ayala was on duty at the at Sister Maria Ludovica Children’s Hospital in Buenos Aires when she heard the sounds of an infant in distress. The 6-month-old was one of five severely malnourished siblings brought to the hospital for treatment.
The child’s mother was unable to properly care for the infant, which was described by hospital staff as “smelly and dirty.”
The hospital staff was completely overwhelmed and no one was available to nurse the crying child. A new mom herself, officer Ayala took matters into her own hands.
“I noticed that he was hungry, as he was putting his hand into his mouth, so I asked to hug him and breastfeed him,” Ayala said (translated) in an interview. “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.”
Marcos Heredia witnessed the event and shared the image (with Ayala’s permission) on Facebook. “I want to make public this great gesture of love that you had today with that little baby,” he wrote (translated). “You didn’t hesitate and for a moment, you fulfilled [the role of] her mother, you did’t care about the filth and smell like the [hospital staff]. Things like this don’t happen every day.”
The touching image was shared more than 110,000 times since it was uploaded on August 14, 2018. Cristian Ritondo, vice president of the legislature of Buenos Aires, promoted Ayala to the rank of sergeant after learning about her selfless act of heroism.
Hoy recibimos a Celeste, la oficial que amamantó a un bebé en el Hospital de Niños de #LaPlata para notificarle su ascenso. Queríamos agradecerle en persona ese gesto de amor espontáneo que logró calmar el llanto del bebé. La policía que nos enorgullece, la policía que queremos. pic.twitter.com/8aBp0Xj4Zj
— Cristian Ritondo (@cristianritondo) August 17, 2018
“We wanted to thank you in person for that gesture of spontaneous love that managed to calm the baby’s cry,” Ritondo wrote on Twitter (translated).
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