A Jewish pediatric nurse stepped in to breastfeed a 9-month-old Palestinian baby after his parents were in a deadly car accident.
The couple and their baby from Hebron — a Palestinian city in Israel’s West Bank — were in a car accident on June 2 that killed the father and left the mother seriously injured, according to YNet News. The mother, who sustained a major head injury since she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt when their car collided head-on with a bus, and her baby, Yaman, were brought to the pediatric emergency room at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem for treatment.
With the mother in no condition to breastfeed her baby boy, his aunts tried to bottle feed him, but Yaman, who only sustained minor injuries, refused to eat for seven hours and continued to cry.
The aunts approached a Jewish pediatric nurse, Ula Ostrowski-Zak, and asked for help. Ostrowski-Zak, who is a breastfeeding mom herself, immediately volunteered to nurse the baby. “They asked me if I could help them find someone who would breastfeed the baby,” Ostrowski-Zak told the news outlet. “As a nursing mother, I didn’t hesitate and suggested that I do it myself.”
Between caring for other children in the pediatric emergency room during her shift, Ostrowski-Zak nursed Yaman. “I fed him five times,” she said. “His aunts embraced me and thanked me. They were really surprised and told me that no Jewish women would agree to nurse a Palestinian baby they did not know.”
She added: “His aunts were surprised that a Jew agreed to breastfeed him, but I told them that every mother would do it.”
Towards the end of her shift, the nurse and aunts realized they would have to figure out who would breastfeed Yaman after Ostrowski-Zak went home. According to YNet News, the nurse posted to her local La Leche League, a closed Facebook group of nursing mothers, and received an outpouring of responses.
“Within two hours I received more than a thousand likes and responses from women who volunteered to help, women who were willing to travel even from Haifa to breastfeed him,” Ostrowski-Zak said. “In between, I continued to try to expose the child to the bottle but without success.”
According to the news outlet, the mother is still in serious condition and remains in the hospital, while Yaman will be discharged soon. He’ll reportedly stay with his grandparents where one of his aunts will take over breastfeeding him.
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