As Americans continue to deal with instances of mothers being routinely shamed for nursing their children in public, a photo of an Argentinian police officer breastfeeding a malnourished baby that had just been brought into a children’s hospital near Buenos Aires is going viral.
Jaqueline Ayala was on guard duty at an overcrowded hospital when a woman came in with her sick baby boy. The hospital staff described the mother as both “smelly and dirty” and said that she was crying inconsolably until Ayala volunteered to feed the sick baby on the spot.
“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 told Cronica, the local news outlet. “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.”
Quiero hacer público este gran gesto de amor que tuviste hoy con ese bebito, que sin conocerlo no dudaste y por un…
As she was sitting down and nursing the baby, a passerby named Marcos Heredia snapped a photo of Ayala’s random act of kindness and posted it to Facebook where it was then shared over 100,000 times. His caption (originally written in Spanish) lauded Ayala’s selflessness.
“I want to make public this great gesture of love that you had today with that little baby. Who without knowing you didn’t hesitate and for a moment you fulfilled how if you were her mother,” Heredia wrote in the caption You don’t care about filth and smell … things like that don’t [happen] every day.”
The gesture wasn’t lost on her co-workers who praised Ayala online after the photo of her nursing the baby went viral, noting that “Actions like these fill us with pride and obligate us to redouble the effort, the work and the solidarity with our community.”