This Photo of a Mom Nursing Her Preemie Has Become a Viral Symbol of Hope

How breastfeeding is helping one baby beat the odds. 

When Keri Barcellos-Putt's water broke at only 21 weeks, she was given the option by her midwife to induce labor, or to just wait for her preemie to arrive au naturel since, statistically, most cases of preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) end up with the mom going into labor pretty quickly.

Sadly, no matter what Barcellos-Putt chose, she was told she'd likely have to say goodbye to her little one—whom she had just learned was a girl—because as she told The Huffington Post, the hospital didn't think the baby would be viable until at least 24 weeks.

"Statistics show that PPROM patients don't typically last very long after rupture without going into labor," she explained. "So the likelihood of me making it to 24 weeks were nil."

But the determined mama wasn't ready to give up hope. So instead of inducing labor, she decided to give her baby girl a fighting chance by following a PPROM regimen she found online that involved at-home bedrest. Miraculously, she was able to delay delivery for two weeks on her own, and then another five after she was admitted to the hospital.

Her little girl, Dahlia, was eventually born at the end of April at 28 weeks via an emergency C-section. She weighed just 2 pounds, 5 ounces. And now Barcellos-Putt is determined to breastfeed her little miracle through any means necessary. In fact, the mom of three posted a pretty powerful image of herself doing just that to the Facebook page Breastfeeding Mama Talk, and it's quickly gone viral as a symbol of hope for other parents.

"This was me and my girl today," she wrote in the caption. "Our first time as well! 32 weeks gestation and trying to breastfeed even though they told me she wouldn't be able to until 34-36 weeks gestation. She's proving everyone wrong!"

So amazing! "I knew it could only benefit her, so I pushed for it," Barcellos-Putt explained about breastfeeding, adding that her success came as a welcome relief since she'd been blaming herself through much of her little girl's journey.

"[I] felt like my body failed Dahlia, so although everything is still out of my hands, I feel like I have some control over her nutrition," she said. "I pump and plan to breastfeed because I owe it to her and it has helped me to redeem myself in a sense. I missed out on half of my pregnancy, and breastfeeding is a way for me to bond and feel needed by her."

Awww. So sweet!

If you'd like to help raise awareness about PPROM or keep up with Dahlia's progress, be sure to check out the family's GoFundMe page.

"[Dahlia]'s gained a full pound in her first month of life!" a recent update revealed. "She's a miracle in every sense!"

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