Nursing Someone Else's Baby?

Would you do it?

Salma Hayek made an inspiring statement when she nursed a baby whose mother could not produce milk. Hayek was in Sierra Leone to promote a tetanus vaccine program in a country where one in five children die before the age of five. 21% of those deaths are due to tetanus. A UNICEF spokesperson, Salma is a strong advocate of breast feeding and is bringing such positive attention to the benefits of nursing babies.

I am in awe of Salma at this moment, and hope and believe that I would do the same thing in her shoes. I actually find it hard to believe that any mother would not instinctively reach out to nurse a baby, no matter if that baby was not hers, if that baby were hungry.

But to see Salma Hayek breastfeed another woman's hungry baby without seeming to give it a second thought, made me both teary-eyed and sad. That poor baby. Yes, for the moment that hunger was sated, and the baby stopped crying, but what will happen to that baby, whose mother cannot produce the milk desperately needed, in a couple more hours when the hunger returns?

Salma explains that in Sierra Leone breastfeeding is not the custom:

It is the best thing you can do for your child, not only the bonding, that’s how you build the immune system, so in a country like Africa imagine how important it is for the mothers to do that. But there is the belief that if you are breastfeeding you cannot have a sexual life, so the husbands of these women are really encouraging them to stop and this is just a taboo.”

Arrgh. How heartbreaking for these babies and their mothers. I am haunted by this daily now-- no baby should be hungry and deprived of a mother's milk. This should not be happening, nor should the devastation of so many babies and mothers dying from tetanus. Bravo to Salma Hayek for bringing our attention to these babies and this horrible situation.

In 2008, Hayek became a spokeswoman for the Pampers "One Pack = One Vaccine" campaign to support UNICEF's efforts to eliminate tetanus. For each pack of specially marked Pampers diapers sold, parent company Proctor and Gamble donates the cost of one tetanus vaccine to UNICEF. The North American campaign has generated funding for more than 45 million vaccines since the beginning of 2008.

"What really excited me about this was the concept of mothers from around the world working together to protect children," said Hayek, who is the mother of a 16-month-old daughter named Valentina.

We can help. If you want to learn more about Salma Hayek and the Pampers/Unicef campaign to protect mothers and their newborns against maternal and newborn tetanus, go to the pampers website.

Picture: ABC News

@2023 All Rights Reserved.

@2023 All Rights Reserved.