A policewoman in Argentina has been promoted after a photo of her breastfeeding a neglected baby at a hospital while in uniform went viral.
The officer, Celeste Ayala, was among a team of officers who took six siblings into state custody in La Plata, a municipality near Buenos Aires, on Aug. 14, because they were in dismal condition at home.
The youngest, who was about seven months old, was crying furiously. Ayala, who is breastfeeding a daughter who is 16 months old, said she sought permission from hospital staff to breastfeed the baby.
“I didn’t doubt it for a second,” she told the Argentine television show “Cronica.” “So I pulled out my breast and he became calm.”
Marcos Heredia, a colleague, posted a photo of Ayala breastfeeding the boy on Facebook.
“I want to make public this great gesture of love you had with this baby, whom you treated like a mother without a second thought, even though you didn’t know him,” Heredia wrote.
The post went viral, turning the small act of kindness into national news.
Cristian Ritondo, the minister of security for the province of Buenos Aires, met with Ayala last week to inform her that she was being promoted to sergeant.
“We wanted to thank her in person for that spontaneous gesture of love that managed to quiet the baby’s crying,” he said on Twitter. “This is the police force we are proud of, the police force we want.”
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