Thursday, February 12, 2009

My New Favorite Celebrity

This morning as I was going about my daily routine, this story came on the news and absolutely captivated me. It's about Salma Hayek and her trip to Sierra Leone, where she breastfed a 1-week old African baby.

Apparently, Sierra Leone has an infant mortality rate of 1 in 4. 25% of babies will not survive beyond childhood, in part, the story says, because of breastfeeding being taboo in that country. The men encourage their wives not to breastfeed, because in their culture it isn't accepted to have sex with a breastfeeding woman. So the babies suffer - starving in some cases - when their mothers' milk dries up. The mother of the baby being breastfed by Salma Hayek had no milk supply left. Though the report doesn't indicate why that particular mother didn't have milk, we are led to believe that it's due to her simply not nursing the baby.

I was in tears as I watched the story, so proud that someone had the means to offer life-giving breastmilk as well as life-saving influence. At least I hope her influence was meaningful to those in Sierra Leone who are ruled by the mistaken belief in unhealthy traditions. We can't know for sure whether or not the people she was trying to help thought of her as progressive, eccentric, or just backward.

I was also touched by this story, because at the very moment I was holding back tears, I was pumping to donate my own milk to The National Milk Bank. I decided about 7 months ago that I'd like to be able to help support the lives of babies that may not have breastmilk available to them. The organization I chose provides donated milk (safety-tested and pasteurized) to premature and NICU babies whose mothers aren't able to provide milk on their own. Breastmilk is important for all babies, but for Preemies, the research has shown that it's just the most beneficial form of nourishment for helping them get better, faster.

To know that I'm playing some part in helping babies that I will never get to know or see - well, that's pretty amazing. But to think that someone was able to actually hold the child she was giving of herself's touching beyond compare. I have such a special attachment to breastfeeding my own babies (I consider myself one of the lucky ones to have had such an easy and fulfilling nursing experience) that I can't help but admire Salma Hayek for stepping up to do this. I have to admit, I'm a little jealous that I can't do the same. To see a baby in need...and have exactly the right thing at that place and wonderful that must have been for her.

And then I think, wait a minute...that's just what happens here in my house, several times a day. A baby is fed and nourished in a way that has been practiced since the beginning of human existence. And we get to be a part of that. How wonderful that must be for us.


  1. I think it's so neat taht she did that too! I was not aware that people could donate milk until my niece was in the NICU in 2007. This is such a wonderful thing, because habing a baby in the NICU is stressful, my milk didn't even come in until we brought Nolan home, so that was really hard for me to have to pump and nothing come out. Then traveling back and forth to the hospital and trying to nurse him, but then have to give him formula. (he waan't small enough to warrant them giving him milk compared to the other NICU babies.) Anyway, I totally agree with you! What a precious gift!

  2. I can't imagine how hard it would be to have a baby in the nicu, compounded with all the emotions that a new mom has anyway. And then to worry about not having milk too? Yeesh. That's just too much.

  3. I wish all new mothers would realize the importance of this God given gift of life giving life.


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?