A police officer in Argentina has been promoted after a picture of her comforting a crying baby by breastfeeding him went viral.

Celeste Ayala was patrolling a local children’s hospital near Buenos Aries when she heard a crying baby.

It has been reported Ayala, who recently became a mother herself, could tell the infant needed food and so proceeded to breastfeed him.

Her colleague took a picture and posted it on Facebook where it has been shared more than 100,000 times in little over a week.

Ayala told local media: “I noticed that he was hungry, as he was putting his hand into his mouth, so I asked to hug him and breastfeed him.

“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.”

She has been widely praised online, by Argentinian authorities and by her own police department.

Last week, Ayala was promoted from officer to sergeant.

Cristian Ritondo, minister of security for Buenos Aires province, tweeted: “We wanted to thank you in person for that gesture of spontaneous love that managed to calm the baby’s cry.

“That’s the type of police we’re proud of, the police we want.”