Friday, February 6, 2009

Salma Hayek opens up about weaning, cross-nursing

In an interview with USA Today, Salma Hayek discusses the process of weaning her daughter Valentina and how she came to cross-nurse. Salma insists previous reports that she was "addicted" to nursing were exaggerated and that she stopped breastfeeding her daughter months ago (Valentina is now 17 months old). She says:

"We were two weeks off, and then she grabbed it again. One time she asked me for it and I said no. It was so easy. I explained to her why. She looked at me and she understood. She kissed me and that was it," she says. "I underestimated my child. It's the best thing somebody can do for their child. (But) you have to know when to stop."

Although I personally believe in allowing a child to self-wean, I love that Salma was such a vocal proponent of nursing the entire time she breastfed Valentina. I do believe if you're going to end the nursing relationship with your child, it's best to wean gradually, for both baby and mom. Weaning abruptly can cause plugged ducts and mastitis for mom, as well as behavioral problems in the child. Nursing is so much more than just food, especially for toddlers. It's comfort, love and satisfies a baby's intense need to suck.

Before weaning Valentina, Salma actually breastfed another baby while in Africa. She was visiting a clinic as part of her work with UNICEF and Pampers to provide tetanus shots when she saw a woman struggling to nurse her baby.

"The baby was perfectly healthy, but the mother didn't have milk. He was very hungry. I was weaning Valentina, but I still had a lot of milk that I was pumping, so I breast-fed the baby," she says. "You should have seen his eyes. When he felt the nourishment, he immediately stopped crying."

This is such a beautiful and selfless act. I am not sure how many of us could or would nurse another woman's child or allow another woman to nurse our own. The idea of cross-nursing used to weird me out, but the more I think about it, the more I think it is such a generous thing to do. Salma is winning me over again.

UPDATE: There is actual video of Salma nursing the baby. The whole piece is a tear jerker, so be forewarned.

Salma cross nursing

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