Officer Celeste Jaqueline Ayala is a veteran police officer in Buenos Aires, Argentina who also works as a security guard at Sister Maria Ludovica Children’s Hospital.
She saw a baby brought in because the single mother was unable to provide adequate care. The malnourished baby, the youngest of the six children, was wailing in hunger. And he refused the hospitals baby formula.
“I noticed that he was hungry, as he was putting his hand into his mouth, so I asked to hug him and breastfeed him”, said Celeste, who recently gave birth to her daughter. “It was a sad moment. It broke my soul seeing him like this.”
At first, hospital staff balked. Administration officials and a doctor referred to the baby as “smelly and dirty”.
Undeterred but with permission, Celeste did what a mother would do.
She fed the baby.
She nursed and rocked the baby for 40 minutes, even after he fell asleep.
Fellow officer and father Marcos Heredia took this picture and put it on Facebook, with the intention of lauding his comrades actions.
“I want to make public this great gesture of love that you had today with that baby, who without knowing you did not doubt and for a moment you fulfilled how if you were his mother,” wrote Marcus. “You did not care about THE MUM AND THE SMELL as the professional gentlemen of the hospital manifested.
Things like that are not seen every day.”
The post did not go unnoticed.
Officials from all over Argentina responded.
The next day, officials at Bomberos Voluntarios Berisso, where Celeste is a volunteer firefighter as well (!!), posted this…
“We would like to congratulate the volunteer firefighter cadet Celeste Ayala who yesterday was at her job as a police officer and was guarding at the Children’s Hospital Sister Maria Ludovica breastfed a young child who came crying. Actions like this cadet’s fill us with pride and force us to redouble our efforts, the work and solidarity with our community.”
Then, the Chief of Police had her come to his office. With him was the Vice President of the Legislature of Buenos Aires, Cristian Ritondo.
Where they thanked her…. and promoted her to Sergeant.
“Today we received Celeste, the officer who breast-fed a baby at the LaPlata Children’s Hospital to notify her of her promotion. We wanted to thank her in person for that gesture of spontaneous love that managed to calm the baby’s cry.
The police that make us proud.
The police we want.”
They also spoke with the hospital to express their displeasure with the terminologies used and to get reassurance that new contingencies are put in place.
And what is next for Mother, Sergeant and Firefighter Avala?
Helping the mother of the six children…so she can regain her family.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.