Salma Hayek Breastfeeds Dying Infant: Your Take?

Dr. Robyn Silverman

In partnership with Pampers, actress and humanitarian Salma Hayek has been spending time in Africa on a UNICEF mission to raise awareness for tetanus.  One child dies every three minutes from Tetanus, a preventable disease.

A recent ABC news report followed the actress and reported that Salma stood at a baby’s bedside as she took her last breath, as the 7 day old baby’s young mother, looked on. If the woman had simply been given a vaccine while pregnant, a medication that only costs 7 measly cents, the newborn would still be alive today.

At another clinic, Salma Hayek was so moved at seeing the suffering of a starving baby who was born on the same day as her little girl, Valentina, that she picked up the baby and nursed him.

salma hayek with daughter Valentina

Hayek appeared on last Thursday’s Today Show and talked about it. Kathie  Lee Gifford asked, “You found a child that was starving to death, the mother had no milk – and you nursed that baby?” Hayek nodded and then said, “It’s about women sticking together and we really need to help the children in any way we can.”

As a soon to be mother in 13 short days when we adopt our little girl, I had a visceral reaction to this story.  The idea of baby’s dying of preventable diseases and circumstances makes me feel both sad and frustrated.  We must continue to teach our children the Powerful Words of citizenship, generosity, kindness, empathy and compassion. Reading about some people’s comments about this “contraversial” story, especially those condemning Salma for nursing another woman’s baby, or calling it “disgusting”or “unnatural,”  leads me to wonder just how far away from “natural” we’ve all come.

What are your reactions to this story?If your child asked you about it, what would you say?

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs

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8 Responses

  1. Dr. Robyn, I just discovered you and your blog and was delighted to see that you are about to adopt a child. Congratulations!!! My sister adopted an 18 month old girl (12 years ago) from Ukraine and it has been a really wonderful experience for our whole family. I can’t wait to hear more about your journey. Oh, congratulations, I’m just so happy for you.

  2. i think it’s sad that people are so revolted by ms. hayek nursing another woman’s child. in many cultures this is a normal thing. actually i know several american women who in small groups as breastfeeding mothers would take turns caring for each other’s babies and nursing them all so that one mother at a time could have some extra time to herself to do things that needed doing or just to rest. my own great grandmother was a wetnurse for a very ill infant whose mother could not produce milk.

    i think some of the people who got upset about this thing may also have bigotries not only about breastfeeding but about the fact that ms. hayek fed a child of another race. also a sad thing.

    i think ms. hayek is comendable in both her efforts to bring immunizations to people who otherwise would not have access and in her willingess to do something practical for one child when she was moved by compassion. bless her.

    • Why are people so critical of what Salma did? My Gosh, she nursed a starving baby. What a wonderful thing to do for a mother that had no milk. I bet mom was very grateful.With all the terrible things in the world these days, she didn’t give it a second thought to help. Ababy is a baby no matter what religion or race. They know no prejudices. Would it be better to let yet another child die of starvation? Ms.Hayek, You must be a fantastic mother and wonderful human being! Kudos to you for doing that!!!

  3. Thank God Ms. Hayek had the decency and common sense to do the right thing and simply feed that child. There is simply no reason that this should be disturbing to anyone. Our cultures and this age have stolen our common sense, our humanity, our community and our kindness. Bravo for those who are compassionate and clear headed in times of need.

  4. […] to a new study published in the Journal of Human Capital and featured in the NYT this morning, breastfeeding is associated with “substantial” increases in grade point average in high school and a […]

  5. […] has made people feel uncomfortable before– remember Selma Hayek and the hungry dying baby she breast fed? People were even uncomfortable with that– so a breast-feeding doll stands little chance of […]

  6. nursing:
    salma is wonderful. people revolted by that? the shame! treat them like they want and see how far they go. whatever happened to charity? at least salma has it.

  7. I think that what Salma Hayek did was a wonderful thing. God bless her for doing that. i recently had a baby, she is 8 months now and my aunt had twins two months ago. She asked me if i could help her breast feed one of them, and of course i did, why not? breast milk is the best thing for a baby. and to this very day i am still breast feeding my daughter and my baby cousin.

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