When Colombian policewoman Luisa Fernanda Urrea came across an abandoned, starving newborn baby in the wilds of the forest, she had exactly the tools she needed to save her. She breastfed the baby while awaiting the arrival of paramedics.
The infant is now being cared for by the state until authorities can find an adoptive home for her.
Urrea, an officer in La Marina, Colombia, was a new mother herself and instantly recognized that the child was hungry. She had been called to the remote location by locals who had found the baby lying on the forest floor, and as a new video describes, she immediately opened her shirt and began sharing the milk from her own breasts, which the baby suckled eagerly.
She told a local newspaper Wednesday: “I’m a new mother, and I have milk, and I recognized the needs that this poor little creature had.”
She added: “I think any woman would have given her nourishment in the same circumstances.”
Edinora Jimenez, 59, found the baby.
“I was collecting some oranges when I heard something crying,” she told medics. “I thought it was a cat until I looked closer and saw that it was a baby girl.”
The police said that they could tell that the baby had been born extremely recently, because she still had the umbilical cord attached. She was suffering numerous ailments due to the exposure, but was quickly treated.
“The girl had some lacerations and was suffering from hypothermia,” said local police commandant Javier Martin However. “However, she was treated quickly and is now in good health.”
The baby is now in the care of the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, which will take charge of the search for an adoptive home for her. They are searching for the baby’s birth mother, who may face attempted murder charges.
Family welfare director Jhon Arley Murillo said, “We could be dealing with a case of attempted homicide, although it’s the prosecutor who will decide the charge.”
The story quickly went viral, and the officer’s act attracted admiration and awe from people around the world.
Genevieve Linnea, a commentator at the Daily Mail (UK) site, wrote, “Just think… what are the odds? This baby and officer were meant to meet. Wonderful story.”
Urrea wasn’t the only one who saved a child using her life-giving milk in the past few years. In 2009, actress Salma Hayek drew attention for breastfeeding another woman’s baby while touring the poverty-stricken African country of Sierra Leone.
The Mexican actress, known for films such as Frida, was still breastfeeding her own one-year-old daughter, who was coincidentally born on the same day as the African child.
“Am I being disloyal to my child by giving her milk away?” Hayek told ABC. “I actually think my baby would be very proud to share her milk. And when she grows up, I’m going to make sure she continues to be a generous, caring person.”
Elsewhere in Latin America, this time in the Chilean village of Arica, a two-year-old boy was found abandoned and malnourished and suckling from a teat of a local pregnant dog, who used her mothering instincts to save the child.
The boy was half-clothed and had been fending for himself for an undetermined amount of time. The dog, named Reina, had been nursing the boy, according to newspaper Estrella de Arica.
“Police were called to verify the witness’s report, noting the obvious state of malnutrition of the child and verifying that he was drinking milk from a canine that was in the area, so he was moved immediately to a hospital,” said police captain Diego Gajardo.
The boy was treated and later released into the state custody, according to the Associated Press.
These remarkable stories prove that mothering instincts reach across all species, and that when a child needs love and protection, mothers will always step up to help.