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Salma Hayek: Mom on a Mission

Motherhood inspired Salma Hayek to take on one more high-profile role: saving women and children in Africa.

Salma Hayek’s health habits

When asked about her other best health habits, Hayek laughs. “I’m not very disciplined. I like to indulge, I love food,” she says. As for other good habits, she adds, “I never got into drugs … I never went through that phase, never found them appealing. That’s a good health habit because a lot of people have done them at some point in their lives and had to give them up.”

But then she thinks of something better. “I’m joyful. I try to find joy in life, and I don’t take myself too seriously.” That includes no plastic surgery, she insists. “None of that. No peelings, either, I’ve not started that craze. Or tanning booths. What you see is what you get. I’ve been lucky … maybe when the face starts falling apart, I’ll change my mind, but for now I think I’m fine. I think people who do things to their face age faster, I really do. And I’m lazy, so this suits me -- I don’t like a lot of maintenance, and now I really don’t have time for it!”

Salma Hayek on mothering (and breastfeeding)

These days, when she’s not working -- and even sometimes when she is -- most of her time goes to Valentina. “I stay home a lot with her, and feed her and bathe with her. That’s relaxing. Yesterday I started watching a movie during her first nap, and finished it during her second nap. I wait until she’s asleep and I sneak one in. That’s how I watch a movie these days.”

A few months ago, Hayek was famously quoted in the press as saying she was “addicted to breastfeeding.” She laughs about that comment now, noting that she did finally wean Valentina by her first birthday. “I did love breastfeeding, but I decided she was ready.”

Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed until they are at least a year old, and the World Health Organization recommends two years, women like Hayek are often made to feel they’re doing something strange.

“An actress I knew said, ‘You’re still breastfeeding? You’re crazy!’ Valentina wasn’t even 1 yet, and she was like, ‘Why would you do that? That’s for India!’ I was shocked at the level of ignorance. The best thing you can ever do for your child in your lifetime is to breastfeed.”

Hayek was surprised when she became pregnant with Valentina so easily at age 40. “I thought I was going to need help getting pregnant, and I didn’t,” she says.

Her fairly uneventful pregnancy was complicated only by gestational diabetes (the risk of GD increases with a mother’s age). “I was nauseous for the whole nine months, and the only thing I craved was fruit -- cold mango, watermelon,” she says. “And then later on, I was saying that I didn’t know why I was getting so big. Paul Bettany [the actor and husband of actor Jennifer Connelly] said something about too much fruit and gestational diabetes, and I thought, What does he know?” But then she discussed these concerns with her midwife and doula, who advised her to watch her diet, especially given her family history of diabetes.

Is she ready for a second child? Hayek, who said “I do” to businessman François Henri Pinault, Valentina’s father, this past Valentine’s Day, isn’t sure, but she hasn’t ruled it out, even at 42. For Hayek, becoming a mom at this stage of her life was definitely the right way to go. “I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world,” she says. “I feel that I’ve done enough things in life where I can appreciate the time I spend with her as my No. 1 priority and not feel I’m missing out on something. I feel I’m a lot more patient.

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