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Girls & Women

Argentinian Police Officer Celebrated for Breastfeeding a Crying Baby

Why Global Citizens Care:
Breastfeeding is a critical issue for women around the world. A group of UN experts have called breastfeeding a human rights issue that should be protected for the health of babies and mothers. Please join us in taking action here.

Police Officer Celeste Jaqueline Ayala was patrolling a children’s hospital in Berisso, Argentina, on Aug. 14 when she recognized the cry of a hungry baby. She had a newborn waiting for her at home so it was a very familiar sound, according to CNN.

She said that’s when her motherly instincts kicked in and she asked the hospital’s management if she could feed the child, who had recently been taken away from its mother, according to CNN.

When they said yes, she embraced the infant, adjusted her uniform, and began to breastfeed the little boy. Out of surprise, her colleague captured a photo, which has now been shared over 100,000 times.

Take Action: Tell Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary to Ensure All Mother’s Get the Support They Need to Breastfeed

The day this all took place just happened to be “National Day of the Female Officer” in Argentina, according to CNN.

Ayala was promoted from officer to sergeant for her generous act of kindness, which is helping to give Argentine police force, which is often linked to corruption and abuse, a new reputation.

This is also an important step in the right direction for public breastfeeding around the world. In the US, for example, it only became legal to publicly breastfeed in every state as of July 2018.

The viral photo of Ayala breastfeeding is indicative of a much larger issue for women. Often, women are shamed by breastfeeding in public, but here it is being celebrated.

Read More: Public Breastfeeding Is Now Legal in All 50 US States​​​​​​​

Her story also comes at a time when breastfeeding is increasingly controversial.

Although public breastfeeding just recently became legal in all 50 states, it is still a taboo action in the country and elsewhere. In July 2018, government delegates gathered at the World Health Assembly affiliated with the United Nations to debate a resolution to “protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.”

Each year, more than 820,000 children could be saved through breastfeeding because it contains essential nutrients, according to UNICEF.

The proposal was eventually passed, but not before the US tried to block it and weakened the language, reflecting the clout of the baby formula industry.