Salma Hayek Opens Up About Weaning Valentina

02/06/2009 at 09:00 AM ET

Singling out breastfeeding as “the best thing you can ever do for your child,” Salma Hayek nonetheless feels that “you have to know when to stop.” In a new interview with USA Today, the 42-year-old actress goes on to reveal that contrary to suggestions she was never “addicted” to nursing; In fact, weaning her 15-month-old daughter Valentina Paloma was far more straightforward than even Salma had thought. “We were two weeks off, and then she grabbed it again,” she explains. “One time she asked me for it and I said no.” When Salma explained why, Valentina’s response was surprising.

“It was so easy…She looked at me and she understood. She kissed me and that was it.”

On Thursday Salma helped launch the second annual Pampers/UNICEF program to stop the spread of maternal and neonatal tetanus, which provides tetanus vaccines throughout the Third World. She initially declined the opportunity to participate in the campaign but had a change of heart after a trip to Sierra Leone. “I had the baby and I had so much on my plate, and I said that this year, I’m taking a break from charity; I cannot do it all,” Salma says. “But…you cannot walk away from this one.” Her commitment is unquestionable; While in Africa, Salma visited a clinic where she witnessed a mother struggling to feed her baby, and she snapped into action. She reveals,

“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 breastfed the baby. You should have seen his eyes. When he felt the nourishment, he immediately stopped crying.”

Click below to read Salma’s thoughts on having more kids.

Although Salma and François-Henri Pinault called off their engagement last summer, she happily reveals that the twosome are still very much a couple. “This is the best father,” she says of François. “I was meant to have this baby with this man.” Adding that she is “so happy” she “didn’t settle,” Salma feels that everything has happened for a reason.

“Had I not [waited], I don’t know what my life would be like. You always have to believe there’s a greater future, and you have to recognize it when it comes.”

Whether or not the two will go on to have more children remains an open question. “Maybe,” she says. “We’ll see.” Although she welcomed Valentina at the age of 41, and although her daughter isn’t the most solid sleeper, Salma says she has “a lot of energy” nonetheless.

“I don’t feel like, ‘Oh my God, this is too late.’ When you turn 40, it’s a lot easier than 30. They lied when they said you get old when you’re 40. The best is the 40s.”

As Salma conducted the interview from a New York City hotel room Valentina was off playing in Central Park, and their goodbye led to “a lot of crying on both sides.” Admitting that she is “not used to separating” from her daughter, it’s something Salma recognizes she needs to work on. “I guess I have to start separating a little bit,” she concedes. “I’m still with her all the time.” Calling her daughter “such a happy baby,” Salma says that Valentina’s demeanor is rubbing off on mom’s career choices, as well!

“I’m having a hard time picking because I don’t want to do violent things, I don’t want to do too-dark things, and I’m getting those offers. I’m being very picky. I haven’t worked in a long time, but I’m doing pretty great. I don’t want to go to a dark space right now.”

Source: USA Today

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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ahk on

Wow! She is amazing–a great breastfeeding role model.

Cathy on

To see her say that she nursed a hungry baby in Africa and not be ashamed of it…. bravo Salma! We need more celebrities out there like you! I know that a lot of people will see this as “taboo” but I think it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard!

beth on

indeed, a beautiful story. i wish it were possible for all of us to share our milk freely. way to go salma!

Rebecca on

The respect I held for Salma Hayek has just increased many fold upon reading this article.

For her to breastfeed someone else’s child, to offer such a gift to a baby she’s never even seen before is incredible. How many people, celebrities at that, would give of themselves like that? I know some women who wouldn’t even BF their best friend’s baby, let alone a stranger’s baby. She could have offered the pumped breastmilk…but her heart was bigger than that. She didn’t care about media, image etc…just what was best for the child.

More people like her are needed in the world.

Ceeb on

What a wonderful thing to do ! In my head, I thought – “how could someone NOT do it ?” though I know 90% of people would cringe at the idea. Before baby formula existed, it was common (wet nurses – they even had a title !), though just a few decades later and now it’s practically non-existent, and breastfeeding is something people still frown at. So I am thrilled to read this post – that Salma not only DID it, but is talking about it. Wonderful !!

Aurora mia on

Moms are so incredible!

Niki on

Holy Moly. I am not a momma yet, and at first I went… she what?! But then I let it sink in a little and have to say that is one of the most selfless things I have ever read. Absolutely amazing. I am so happy that she shared this experience. Some people may do it, but not many would come out in the open and say “Yea, I did this, and it was amazing and more people should help out around the world”

Valentina is one of my fave celeb babies. My goodness she is freakin’ adorable!

pia on

oh my word.. i am crying writing this.
the definition of a truly enormous hearted person.. what a wonderful soul to breastfeed a hungry child. i know not everyone could do that, and i respect it.. but this is, for me what it means to be a mother. that we don’t just mother and nurture our own children, but we see a need and we fulfill it. it’s deep and very profound that she’d do that.
in this day and age.. to hear a story like that.. breaks my heart and mends it all at once.

Gabi on

I’m from the southern part of Brazil and my first 3 sons were born there. The hospital where they were born had a breastmilk campaign encouraging mothers who had a good milk supply to donate to the hospital so that they could give it to the preemies. Because of the stress that comes with having a premature baby they explained that some mothers didn’t have enough of barely any milk for them and breastmilk in the best nourishment for any baby but especially for preemies. They provided the sterilized jars and all I had to do was pump it and put in the freezer. They’d even pick it up at home! Has anyone heard of that being done or promoted here in North America?

N.S on

Although I’m an advocate for babies self weaning and don’t agree with her “Have to know when to stop” statement – I’m in awe of her selflessness and nobility.
To nourish another womans starving child when she is unable to is an amazing thing to do. Well done Salma!

Samantha on

Wow. This almost made me cry. What a wonderful woman she is. Breastfeeding is a very natural thing but also very personal and for her to selflessly offer her milk to a starving baby and breastfeed him, I think that is heroic. She did more for that baby boy than she will probably ever know. May God bless her and that BEAUTIFUL Valentina!

Sanja on

Gabi -I don’t know about America, but it’s quite common in Sweden and I believe other Scandinavian and European countries.

Cudos to Salma for being so open about her experiences:-)

looney on

Gabi–there are Mother’s Milk Banks here in North America. I don’t know if they pick up the milk, but they have in some areas, like a drive thru drop off service for donors. Local hospitals in your area would know about it.

Christina on


My local hospital offers a Mother’s Milk Bank. I think many hospitals in this country offer the same service.

Heather on

That is wonderful that she did that. I am also thinking of the mother and the conflict she may have felt. How wonderful for the baby’s mother to realize she just could not nourish her baby and allow another woman to do it for her. That too is quite selfless.

Rebecca on

I love Salma Hayek, she’s phenomenal for nursing another woman’s baby. Hopefully people will stop looking at wet/cross nursing with such judgement and disgust in the US.

Shay Shay on

I wish there were more celebs like this!!! Great article and props to Salma!

Fanney on

What an awesomely amazing thing she did! I actually cried when I read it! 🙂 Bravo Salma BRAVO!!

Sarah on

Not only am I amazed at what a wonderful person Salma is, I am also amazed that I haven’t read a negative comment on what she did! That is awesome.

Hea on

What an amazing thing to do for another human being.

Myra on

Salma seems like a great, down to earth mom and Valentina is gorgeous. I wish her all the best but I just can’t believe how many celebs in their forties talk about having more kids so freely! They all make it sound like it’s a piece of cake for a 42 year old to just have another or even a baby for that matter. This seriously boggles my mind….

I REALLY don’t think your forties are the time to start ‘thinking’ about having another baby. I’m not wishing ill on anyone at all but I don’t think they are being realistic in the least.

pixie on

I adore her!

Veronica on

What Salma did was just the most beautiful thing ever. As a mother who nursed her child I couldn’t imagine being in that situation and not reacting the way Salma did. She is a true hero and an example of how easy it is to be selfless and just give. When my daughter was three weeks old I came down with pneumonia and was deathly ill. All I could do was sleep, my sister stepped in and nursed my daughter so I could rest. I will be forever grateful to her for helping me out. I encourage nursing mom’s to donate breastmilk either for use here or abroad. Such nourishment is a gift and should be shared.

Erica on

Wow. What a selfless, beautiful thing to do for another mother and her child. Salma fan for life!

Colleen on

That is the most wonderful thing I have heard. I am even more in awe of Salma now. Kudos to you for doing something so noble. on

What a wonderful gift she gave that little one…and his mother!

LaKesha on

Wow, how Grapes-of-Wrathy!

Rachel on

This made me cry. What a feel good story. Wow, Salma you made an awesome choice.

However, I have to agree with Myra, that a lot of 40 something celebs talk about having another baby as if nothing. I am 33 and my husband and I are trying to have a baby, with no such luck. 😦
If we had the finanical means that some of these celebs, to do IVF or other procedures, then that would be great, but we don’t . I am not saying that they all did IVF, I am sure some concieved naturally. But the number of celebs having babies at 40 or beyond is quite high. What are the odds that most of them are fertile and did not need any intervention?

Jenny on

What a wonderful thing for her to do. But I can’t help but wonder what the milk-less mother will do without Salma’s help!

cyd on

This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. I thought I’d be the only one in tears.

jk on

I love Salma! She’s always been one of the more classier celebrities out there and this article just confirms it!

Myrtle Beach on

After listening to the news today & becoming quite frustrated,(mom of 14), a story like this just renews my hope in the human race. God Bless you Salma! You’re beautiful not only on the outside, but inside where it counts. Thank you.

Alex on

Gabi – the milk banks are offered in the UK as well. I don’t know how widespread the service is or whether it is just in a few areas, but it is definitely happening here.

ang on

that’s a beautiful story and all, but what happens when the baby needs milk the next time?i wonder if she was able to leave some pumped milk for the mother to use?

Brandi on

We have to hope her milk came in or another mom assisted her in the way Salma did. In some areas formula is not even an option (unless it is premixed) because the local water is unsafe to use. Such a horrible situation. I am glad Salma could help, even just the one time.

FC on

What Salma did was a beautiful thing. I love reading how people are so adamant to help out as much as they can. And that is just…that really is a selfless act.

Sarah on

Hi LaKesha-

I know…I immediately thought of Rose-of-Sharon’s character in The Grapes of Wrath on the last page of the book!

What a wonderful thing Salma did for the little baby boy!! I have so much more respect for her now!

Amy on

Love her even more!

vb on

I think that is just fantastic! My best friend and I had babies at the same time and when either of us had to leave our little ones for any length of time with the other we’d breastfeed each other’s child. I was laughing one day when I was nursing my son and her daughter at the same time. Neither of us pumped and our children didn’t take bottles. Anyway, I think it’s wonderful when women reach out with nothing but love like this.

Allison on

Awesome, awesome, awesome! I think that only moms who have breastfed would understand and relate, but hope that other people understand too. Talking about the lack of sleep lets me know that she is the one doing the majority of the baby rearing too!

anna on

I wonder if she put the baby to her breast or if she just gave him her pumped milk…. either way a good act.

Ali on

That is simply incredible. My respect for her has mulitplied by a hundred. Although I’m not a mom (yet) I still find this to be selfless and remarkable. Kudos to her for her kindness and her willingness to be open about it!

sierrafaith1 on

Beautiful story, beautiful action. I would do the same thing. Kudos, Salma!

kat on

I’m also happy to hear that she and her partner are still together!

I hope the baby in Africa is doing well.

DLR in Canada on

Lovely story. I do hope the baby in Africa is doing okay now. It is so difficult for women living in the difficult parts of Africa, especially the war zones, to BF due to lots of things (stress, no food, etc.) and when organizations like the UN and Red Cross come around handing out formula do they even think to leave a bunch of water to mix the formula with. Even if water is provided a lot of times it is used for other things than the formula, so yeah, lovely to read about what Salma did, but yet my mind wonders what happened to that baby, and others.

Oh yes, North American culture is still very prudish and the thought of wet-nurses or sharing breast milk is like “Ewww, gross, not me,” but we don’t have a problem accepting donated blood or sharing water bottles with each other? True there may be religious and health issues, but as long as one is healthy and disease-free, share the bounty.

Melissa on

I’m mom that couldn’t produce enough milk so I had to also use formula during the day with both my sons, Salma just proves that a Mother’s love is never ending.

anakronism on

No doubt that Salma is a great actress, she did wonderful as Frieda Kahlo. I’ll never forget that movie.

Ellen on

What a wonderful thing she did, that is just amazing for someone to do that. You are a awesome role model.

Kim on

In response to Gabi- Yes here in North America (North Carolina) to be exact we have a foundation called Triangle Mother’s Milk bank that does that. They except donated milk from nursing moms and screen it and then package it. They use it in the neo-natal nurseries at several local hospitals and also sell it to those who want breast milk but are unable to produce it.

I was a donor for 9 months with them and it was a wonderful experience to know that I could help someone else in addition to taking care of my own preemie baby.

It is refreshing to see celebrities using their platforms to help others instead of using to express their political views.

CelebBabyLover on

DLR in Canada- Very good point about how a lot of people still have a problem with wet nurses, but are just fine about recieving donated blood or sharing water bottels.

Anyway, I think it’s wonderful that Salma did that, and I hope the baby will be okay. Thank goodness for people like her!

Gianna on

I have always said I love salma, she is a wonderful actress, seems like a caring person, and her daughter is one of the most gorgeous babies. I’m not all for breastfeeding other kids, because to me it’s a bonding thing between a mom and a child, and not just milk for anybody. I look at it as a bonding moment, not just just to feed a baby in africa that you will never see again, and what happens all the other times he needs to eat. Glad to hear valentina’s dad and her are still together. I have a feeling valentina will be her only child.

Terri on

I pleasantly surprised to not read negativity about Selma nursing another woman’s child. For some reason, I was thinking that people would have something critical to say. Kudos to everyone!

jessie on

That’s such a great selfless thing salma did, breastfeeding another woman’s child, but what happens when she leaves? i hope if the mother cannot provide breastmilk that baby formula will be donated to them.

Michelle on

I think that it is wonderful that Salma nursed another baby. That is the best gift that someone could give. I am a nursing mama of 2–a 3 year old and a 1 year old. I recently had the opportunity to cross nurse myself as I was watching my nephew while my sister moved. He didn’t want his bottle of breastmilk, so I ended up nursing him 3 times that day. What a wonderful feeling!

Emily on

Anna, The Huffington Post has a video showing that Salma actually nursed the baby. She also talks to “Nightline’s” Cynthia McFadden about the trip. Here’s the link: