Police officer breastfeeds malnourished baby

Celeste Ayala stepped in to feed hungry infant rescued from drug addict parents

(Image credit: Facebook)

An Argentinian police officer has become a viral sensation after she was photographed breastfeeding a malnourished baby.

The six-month-old girl was the youngest of six siblings brought to Sor Maria Ludovica children's hospital, where officer Celeste Ayala was on patrol.

The children, who had been removed from their drug-addicted parents by social workers, were dirty and malnourished when they were admitted last Tuesday night. Several were suffering from scabies, Argentinian daily Clarin reports.

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Hearing the infant crying for food while waiting to be seen by doctors moved Ayala, who has a baby daughter of her own, and she spontaneously volunteered to breastfeed the hungry child.

Ayala told local media that the baby calmed down immediately when she began to feed her, with the permission of social workers.

“Later, when they told me she was malnourished, I thought: ‘how long has it been since she had eaten?’,” she said, adding that she initially mistook the baby for a boy due to its clothing but had since learned the infant was a girl.

An image of Ayala coming to the aid of the neglected child has been shared on Facebook more than 110,000 times.

On Friday, she was invited to meet Buenos Aires police chief Cristian Ritondo, where she was informed that she is to be promoted to the rank of sergeant in recognition of her quick-thinking compassion.

“We wanted to thank you in person for that gesture of spontaneous love that managed to calm the baby's cry,” he said in a tweet.

Despite the outpouring of positivity and praise her actions have attracted in Argentina and around the world, Ayala says that she has not lost sight of the tragedy behind her much-publicised good deed.

“I was sad because of the situation that was happening to the kids, and I thought about the girls that I have at home,” she said. “Sometimes you complain about such little things and those kids who have nothing are suffering.”

The infant remains in hospital, along with two of her siblings, while the other three have been moved to a children’s home.

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