Would you ever be a wet nurse for another baby? It sounds a bit strange but just a few years ago there was no formula. Breast milk was one of the only ways to feed an infant. If you had no formula and no breast milk, would you allow your baby to be fed by another mother? In a world on convenience it’s hard to image being in this situation. Most mothers would do anything to make sure their baby fed and healthy. We speak in past tense because of the options we have today, but there are many places in the world where options are not available. These are times when the term “it takes a village” makes more sense.
The story below speaks about a courageous event where a mother had to make a decision to feed a starving baby or leave them crying in hunger. Unconcerned about modern society ridicule, this mother made a choice that changed an infant’s day.
“On a goodwill trip to Sierra Leone in 2009, Salma Hayek famously breastfed a week-old infant whose mother was too malnourished to produce milk herself. The actress recalled the wet nurse experience.
The baby was perfectly healthy, but the mother didn’t have milk. He was very hungry. I was weaning Valentina [then 2-years-old], but I still had a lot of milk that I was pumping, so I breast-fed the baby,” she says, her voice dropping. “You should have seen his eyes. When he felt the nourishment, he immediately stopped crying.”
Hayek says she was hoping to raise awareness that Sierra Leone has the highest infant mortality rate in the world. She went on to say, “I actually think my baby would be very proud to share her milk. And when she grows up I’m going to make sure she continues to be a generous, caring person.”
Years later, Salma continues to answer questions about acting as a wet nurse.
‘If you have milk, you have milk, and if they’re hungry, they’re hungry,” she said. “I think it’s a beautiful thing, because motherhood is a very strong place for women to connect and understand each other.”
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