Salma Hayek Breastfeeds Sick Baby: Mothers Go to Great Lengths, Too

As Cafe Suzanne reported yesterday, Salma Hayek breastfed a sick, hungry baby when she was in Sierra Leone for the tetanus shot campaign with Pampers. 

I first heard this news at the Salma Hayek press conference last week. We mommy bloggers were told not to ask her about it. Her publicist was having a conniption fit, and didn't want the story to blow up. That was before Nightline aired the story--see the video clip. Why was the topic off limits?

When Salma acted as a wet nurse, she showed her compassion. Salma is a real person I'd like to meet at Starbucks. Maybe we'd talk about breastfeeding and lip gloss.

Breastfeeding has been in the news a lot lately. Real mothers are going to great lengths to give babies breast milk.


The New York Times just ran a story about how moms who travel for business are pumping and bring back stockpiles of milk. In the past, airport security has given them trouble, even making one mom drink her own milk. But they're getting more reasonable, and letting women take their breast milk through security with less hassle.

But the most fascinating story I've read in a while was in a recent New Yorker. If you want to get a history of the breast pump--the first non-hospital breast pump just became available in 1991--check out this piece. It contends that there are only three options to encourage American mothers to breast feed more often.

  • Longer maternity leave
  • On-site child care
  • Pumping

The vast majority of us stop for the same reason: We have to work. The New Yorker piece says pumping is the cheap and easy way to solve the problem in this country, and more women are doing it. As a result, we are becoming our own wet nurses. The article makes the case that while it's great to pump, U.S. moms shouldn't have to bottle our own milk. We should get more time off and better child care options.

Many of us have gone to great lengths to feed our babies breast milk. When I had my twins, I had to work shortly after they were born. I nearly killed myself trying to make enough milk for them. After 4 months of struggling with the pump (I never got the hang of that thing), I gave up. But I did give my girls a friend's frozen breast milk all the way to their first year. It was a big decision for my husband and I. My friend called me one day to tell me she was throwing a whole freezer full of her breast milk out because she had way too much. Our babies were exactly the same age. I knew she didn't have any diseases or take any medicines. I called my pediatrician, and he surprised me by supporting this idea. We gave my girls her milk. My generous friend became, essentially, my daughters' wet nurse. We also had to supplement with formula.

With my last child, I was able to take a year off from work and focus on the challenging and rewarding task of exclusively breastfeeding. I don't think I could have breastfed him if I'd had work responsibilities.

What do you think? Did I make a wise decision? What lengths did you go to to try to breastfeed your baby?

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