Salma Hayek’s breasts are in the news again, but not for what you might think. Famous for being “busty,” Hayek was filmed breastfeeding a sick child in Sierra Leone by ABC News. Hayek was in Sierra Leone to support a tetanus-vaccination project and had this to say during her interview about her action:
“I thought about it, am I being disloyal to my child by giving your milk away? And I actually think that my baby would be very proud to share her milk. And when she grows up, I’m going to make sure that she continues to be a generous, caring person. And I think that’s the best thing I can give her as a mother.”
Hayek then recounts a family story in which her great grandmother breastfed a stranger’s child in the street of her small village because the baby’s mother had no milk, and how affected she was by that story.
According to the Time article, men discourage women from breastfeeding because they believe women cannot have sex if they are still nursing. Hayek was consciously trying to promote breastfeeding in Africa through her actions because breastfeeding is the single most important strategy to lower infant mortality rates in Africa.
We’ll see if Hayek’s actions have any effect on attitudes about breastfeeding in Sierra Leone. In the United States, Hayek’s public “cross-feeding” of another woman’s child sparked all kinds of debate from unconditional support to concerns over the class and race implications. Yes, and yes. However, what seems most important is that at that moment, a hungry child was fed.
As Hayek says during the interview: “I was able to feed a baby who was very hungry”
Sometimes it can be that simple.