Salma Hayek explains why she breastfed a stranger's baby

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By Kim Novak

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Salma Hayek has opened up about the moment she chose to breastfeed a stranger's baby and the mixed reaction her selfless action received.

The Eternal star, 56, reflected on the moment which happened in 2008 when she was on a charity visit to Sierra Leone.

She had been visiting the country as part of a UNICEF charity mission when she came across a young mom with her one-week-old baby boy.

With a camera crew recording the moment, Salma was seen sitting down with the newborn and breastfeeding the hungry baby.

In the footage, Salma explained: "He was very hungry – I was weaning my daughter Valentina, but I still had a lot of milk, so I breast-fed the baby."

At the time, Salma had just finished breastfeeding her one-year-old daughter, and felt a connection to the one-week-old baby as he shared the same birthday as her own child.

She added in the footage: "I thought about it, am I being disloyal to my child by giving her milk away? I actually think my baby would be very proud to be able to share her milk and when she grows up I will make sure she continues to share and be a generous caring person."

Looking down at the tiny baby boy, Salma added: "It is amazing because he’s really looking at me and he’s very little. My baby is one year so she can suck a lot harder."

ABC News reported at the time that Sierra Leone had the highest infant mortality rate in the world and Salma's kind gesture was her way of combatting the stigma that often surrounds breastfeeding.

She recalled the moment a decade later in 2018 while accepting an award at the UNICEF Ball, explaining: "This 15-year-old girl is sobbing and shaking with a newborn baby and she said, 'Please help me. I need milk.'

"We had so many things but we didn’t have milk - except I remembered that I had milk because I was weaning my daughter.

"I just weaned my daughter from breastfeeding not long ago and I said, 'I got milk.' I sat down and I breastfed this baby."

Salma revealed that she had received mixed reaction for wetnursing the stranger's baby, telling CBS News' John Blackstone: "There was a lot of people that were upset I did that."

She revealed that she had been criticized for the act of kindness and her publicist had even insisted that UNICEF not release the photo that had been taken of her and the baby.

Wetnursing - when a woman breastfeeds another's baby, usually if the mother is struggling or has issues with her milk supply - was a common practice in history, however, with research into the potential dangers, it is no longer done in the modern world, especially since formula was created.

According to Brittanica, it was once the safest way to keep babies alive before formula and sterilized bottles were created, however, it can be dangerous as drugs, alcohol, or viruses can be carried within breast milk.

As well as her work with UNICEF, Salma has been known for her charitable endeavors across over three decades, including with the Salma Hayek Foundation.

Featured image credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

 

Salma Hayek explains why she breastfed a stranger's baby

vt-author-image

By Kim Novak

Article saved!Article saved!

Salma Hayek has opened up about the moment she chose to breastfeed a stranger's baby and the mixed reaction her selfless action received.

The Eternal star, 56, reflected on the moment which happened in 2008 when she was on a charity visit to Sierra Leone.

She had been visiting the country as part of a UNICEF charity mission when she came across a young mom with her one-week-old baby boy.

With a camera crew recording the moment, Salma was seen sitting down with the newborn and breastfeeding the hungry baby.

In the footage, Salma explained: "He was very hungry – I was weaning my daughter Valentina, but I still had a lot of milk, so I breast-fed the baby."

At the time, Salma had just finished breastfeeding her one-year-old daughter, and felt a connection to the one-week-old baby as he shared the same birthday as her own child.

She added in the footage: "I thought about it, am I being disloyal to my child by giving her milk away? I actually think my baby would be very proud to be able to share her milk and when she grows up I will make sure she continues to share and be a generous caring person."

Looking down at the tiny baby boy, Salma added: "It is amazing because he’s really looking at me and he’s very little. My baby is one year so she can suck a lot harder."

ABC News reported at the time that Sierra Leone had the highest infant mortality rate in the world and Salma's kind gesture was her way of combatting the stigma that often surrounds breastfeeding.

She recalled the moment a decade later in 2018 while accepting an award at the UNICEF Ball, explaining: "This 15-year-old girl is sobbing and shaking with a newborn baby and she said, 'Please help me. I need milk.'

"We had so many things but we didn’t have milk - except I remembered that I had milk because I was weaning my daughter.

"I just weaned my daughter from breastfeeding not long ago and I said, 'I got milk.' I sat down and I breastfed this baby."

Salma revealed that she had received mixed reaction for wetnursing the stranger's baby, telling CBS News' John Blackstone: "There was a lot of people that were upset I did that."

She revealed that she had been criticized for the act of kindness and her publicist had even insisted that UNICEF not release the photo that had been taken of her and the baby.

Wetnursing - when a woman breastfeeds another's baby, usually if the mother is struggling or has issues with her milk supply - was a common practice in history, however, with research into the potential dangers, it is no longer done in the modern world, especially since formula was created.

According to Brittanica, it was once the safest way to keep babies alive before formula and sterilized bottles were created, however, it can be dangerous as drugs, alcohol, or viruses can be carried within breast milk.

As well as her work with UNICEF, Salma has been known for her charitable endeavors across over three decades, including with the Salma Hayek Foundation.

Featured image credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images