An Argentine police officer Celeste Ayala received a promotion Wednesday after she was caught on camera breastfeeding a malnourished infant in Buenos Aires last Tuesday.
The 6-month-old newborn and her five siblings had been brought into the Sor Maria Ludovica children’s hospital by social workers.
The infant’s cries pushed the on-duty officer, Ayala, to ask hospital staff for permission to feed the baby girl. The moment was captured by her colleague, Marcos Heredia, and posted on Facebook.
“I want to make public this great gesture of love that you made today with that baby, who you did not know, but for whom you did not hesitate to act like a mother. You did not care if she was dirty or smelly… Things like that are not seen every day,” Heredia said.
With over 100,000 shares, the post soon went viral with a hashtag baring her name carrying it from one social outlet to the next. Some commentators pointed out that the day was coincidentally, also the national commemorative day for female officers in Argentina.
Cristian Ritondo, minister of security in Buenos Aires, acknowledged the officer’s compassionate gesture and announced Ayala’s promotion to sergeant on Twitter, writing, “We wanted to thank her in person for that gesture of spontaneous love that managed to calm the baby’s cry. That’s the type of police we’re proud of, the police we want.”
"Today we received Celeste, the officer who breastfed a baby at #LaPlata Children's Hospital to notify her of her promotion."
The city’s fire department praised the police woman’s kindness, saying, “actions like this fill us with pride.”
During an interview with the online publication Cronica, Ayala explained, “I noticed that he was hungry, as he was putting his hand into his mouth, so I asked to hug him and breastfeed him.
“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,” Ayala said.
According to local news outlets, the infant was the youngest of six siblings removed from their biological mother’s care due to lack of resources and were being transferred into foster care.