With so much war and destruction, something as simple as providing nourishment for a stranger’s baby can give others the hope they need.
It is impossible to ignore the battle between Palestinians and Israelis, but that didn’t stop one Israeli mom from going above and beyond to help a baby Palestinian in need in a way that only a mother could.
The Instagram page Birth of a Mama posted this touching photo June 5 of an Israeli mom feeding a Palestinian baby.
Their caption explains exactly what happened. The Palestinian family was “living in an area under Israeli military control” and got into a car accident.
“The father in the car was killed instantly, the mother in critical condition and the baby crying for hours, too traumatized to be bottled-fed, or even be held.”
The mother and baby were brought to a hospital in Jerusalem, Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, where Ula Ostrowski-Zak works as a nurse. According to the caption, Ostrowski-Zak’s baby is 1½ and breastfeeding.
Ostrowski-Zak knew exactly what to do. She began nursing him.
“She describes how his whole body relaxed and him soothing into a gentle nursing rhythm, his heart beat once pounding slowly calming.”
Ostrowski-Zak didn’t just nurse the baby once.
She kept feeding him whenever he needed it during her shift, for a total of five times. However, Ostrowski-Zak knew she wouldn’t be able to nurse this baby while she was at home and caring for her own child.
So she posted on a forum for the La Leche League checking for other nursing mothers to volunteer their time and milk.
“Within 2 minutes, thousands of Israeli and Palestinian mothers volunteered to hold and nurse the baby as his mother recovers.”
When the baby’s family arrived, they welcomed Ostrowski-Zak warmly. They told her:
“According to Islam once a woman has nursed another mother’s baby more than five times she becomes a symbolic mother, the highest honor.”
The heartwarming post on Instagram shows how people can put aside their differences to help each other. The caption also includes inspirational words to help everyone stay positive in the darkest of times:
“With all that divides us at these times, let this be received by everyone open to embracing a new story where small moments of forgiveness, caring and love grow and ripple out to our families, our communities and the world […] don’t forget for every hater there are more lovers.”
Ynet News gives us even more insight into what happened.
According to this Israeli news outlet, the relatives of the baby, 9-month-old Yaman Abu Ramila, asked Ostrowski-Zak for assistance finding someone to nurse the baby until his mother was able to do so. Instead, Ostrowski-Zak offered her own milk.
As she told Ynet News her logic:
“After all, I’m here all night. It seemed like the simplest thing to do. I nursed him the entire shift, between caring for other children in the ward, five times throughout the night.”
In addition to his need for milk, Ynet News reported that:
“The little baby survived the difficult accident with only light injuries. At the Trauma Center, doctors diagnosed a skull fracture and some damage to his lungs.”
They began treating him, but since Yaman refused to drink from a baby bottle, he didn’t eat anything for seven hours, during which time he cried “endlessly.”
According to Ostrowski-Zak, Yaman relaxed “and fell asleep in my arms. […] All he wants is his mother, or someone who will provide him with a direct connection.”
Yaman’s family is equally appreciative.
His uncle, Samer, asked Ynet News to tell Ostrowski-Zak that “she is like a sister to us.”
As for those who are surprised that an Israeli mother would breastfeed the son of a Palestinian stranger? Ostrowski-Zak says, “Any mother who breastfeeds would agree” it is simply a matter of maternal instinct. Love and caring overcome any boundaries.
This story feels similar to the incident that happened when an Israeli family were involved in a terrible car crash. Palestinians rushed to their aid:
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