Would you nurse a baby not yours?
Imagine this -- You see an abandoned baby crying in agonising hunger and you know it will die if you don't help. Will you nurse this abandoned baby?
Call her a hero or be taken aback by her seemingly inappropriate act -- 25-year-old Maria Kristensen has been heralded by many as the lifesaver of a newborn baby girl when she breastfed the abandoned infant, saving her little life.
A typical family
The young family was in Turkey, on the way to the airport back home to Denmark. Maria, the mother of three-year-old Lucas and pregnant mum-to-be of another baby, was with her husband and child in the cab when she spotted a bundle of cloths lying along the road. Puzzled, she requested for the taxi driver to pull over so in order to investigate what it was.
To her surprise and horror, hidden among the pink swaddle of cloths was an infant girl, only about a day old. The sun was shining brightly and the newborn, having been under the sweltering heat for too long, was limp under the 40 degree Celsius sun. Upon realising the baby's unconsciousness, Maria rushed the newborn into her taxi cab in order to cool the baby's high body temperature down.
Abandoned by the roadside
The newborn, wrapped delicately in a pink cloth, was still bloody and her umbilical cord looked like it had been recently cut. The scorching sun also caused her body temperature to rise and as a result she was unresponsive, while Maria described the little girl to be "baked" under the sun.
A social worker by profession, Maria guessed that the mother of this baby must have been helpless and at a loss, despite trying to do her best for the baby, wrapping her infant's cut umbilical cord in paper and swaddling her in warm clothing.
An extraordinary decision
Maria picked the baby up from the roadside and brought her into the taxi. Despite turning on the air conditioner in the cab as well as attempting to cool the baby down with cold water, the couple could not get the infant to respond. Worried when they realised there was "no life in her", Maria decided that she had to save this baby's life. As she was already latching in her 31st week of pregnancy, she believed that she could nurse this little girl and hopefully bring the life back into her.
Maria tried nursing the abandoned baby and while there was slight difficulty for the newborn to latch on initially, there was a visible sign of life in her after she started drinking the breast milk.
According to the family, the little girl had "life in her eyes" and was more energetic after she was nursed.
Many might cringe at the thought of nursing a baby that is not yours, let alone nursing an abandoned baby. To Maria, however, nursing this newborn girl felt "completely natural" and not the least bit strange.
The bond between Maria and the little girl, who has been named Ceren, grew as a result. When Ceren was taken into child protective custody shortly after, Maria even felt it was slightly difficult for her and recounts how it "did not feel good" to give her away.
Making a difference
Little Ceren has been put up for adoption, and Maria has been given lawful permission to visit and see the girl whenever she wishes, as well as access to updates on her growth and progress.
As startling as it might initially sound, nursing an abandoned baby in Maria's case helped saved the little life. Maria accounts how her ability to nurse the newborn gave a new lease of life to the dying child and how she made a difference with this choice she made.
The story of this young mother and her valiant act to preserve the newborn's life tugs at the heartstrings as we ponder on our possible reactions to similar situations. While nursing an abandoned baby or breastfeeding a child that one does not know might be uncomfortable to some, decisions such as this sometimes have the weight to tip the scales between life and death, making a profound difference in our lives and the lives of others and many.