Remember the fuss over Salma Hayek being “abusive” because she was “still” feeding her toddler?
Salma Hayek took a humanitarian trip to Sierra Leone. This video shows her being there for the death of a baby from tetanus, speaking to a UNICEF representative, and travelling to a remote part of Sierra Leone.
At around -2:50, the voiceover says that many men discourage women from breastfeeding, as they believe they cannot have sexual relations with a lactating woman. There is a Mende taboo (read more from page 172 in this book , combined with the extreme success of breastmilk substitute marketing in Sierra Leone [ref]. Forced early weaning, and the withholding of colostrum (also common in the region) adds greatly to malnutrition and infant mortality.
Hayek is then shown on screen breastfeeding a sick little boy who
is the same age as shares a birthday with her daughter. Hayek also recounts a story important to her and told to her by her grandmother, of when her great-grandmother cross-nursed a village child whose mother was lacking milk.
This video could have been done badly, I think, the concept of the privileged person jetting in from far away coming in and nursing the token sick babies, then wandering off again. But for some reason it works in this video, for me. She doesn’t barge in telling people what they need, forcing tinned milk and used ski equipment on them. She asks them what they need – the answer is breastmilk – and she has breastmilk, so she, almost automatically, just sits down and does what needs to be done. It’s rather beautiful, and rather reminds me of the story of the Chinese police officer nursing orphaned babies after the earthquake.
But just wait for the slobbering bilehowlers to start wanking over how “perverted” it all is. There will be some sore elbows tonight.
 Please excuse the Pampers marketing in the video. See also Bluemilk’s take on the publicity for this programme.
 “Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives” by Patricia Stuart-Macadam, Katherine A. Dettwyler, 1995.