Breast-Milk Baby Booties: The Latest Thing Brought to You by Lactation

The booties. Photo: PA via Daily MailAre these folks milking their talents or what? British sustainable designers Nick Gant and Tanya Dean, of BoBo Design Ltd, unveiled the latest in a growing line of innovative creations today: tiny baby booties made of hardened breast milk, made to promote World Breast Milk Donation Day, which will be celebrated by 24 countries around the world (not including the US) on Sunday.

“Turning waste material like breast milk, which couldn’t otherwise be used, but which is embedded with meaning and personal history, into something new, gives the products created greater meaning and value,” Gant told the UK’s Daily Mail. “We want to show that they can be used to raise awareness and communicate issues about material culture, ethics and sustainability.”

The one-inch booties, which are not for actual wearing, were made through a process that involves gently heating the donated milk, adding vinegar to form curds, and then pressing those curds into silicon molds and leaving to dry over a four-day period.

In the past, Gant and Dean, who have partnered with companies including Apple, Vivienne Westwood and Fender Guitars, have created slippers from dog hair, flip flops from beach waste, and men’s shoes from corks.

But let’s get back to the breast-milk, the medium of the moment, for a quick review. So now, in addition to, you know, using your breast milk to feed your baby or someone else’s (though donation), you can also:

Eat it: In recent years, we’ve seen breast-milk ice cream—available at the Icreamist in London, flavored with Madagascar vanilla and priced at $23 a scoop—and various types of breast-milk cheese, most recently the three varieties invented by an NYU student for the school’s Interactive Technology Program. And New York chef Daniel Angerer offered his own version of mama’s milk cheese in 2008. Online recipes for breast-milk bread are also popular.

Wear it: Breast-milk jewelry, made by several different artisans for women who send in samples of their own milk to be transformed into tiny shapes, is all over Etsy. And they’re selling. “I created my own locket with a dollop of preserved breast milk after not loving anything I saw out on the market and began to wear it proudly,” wrote Brooke Becker on her Etsy site. “I enjoyed the beauty of the locket, and the privacy of its contents.”

Wash with it: Just like goat’s milk soap, mother’s milk soap is, well, a thing, thanks to outlets like the TinRoofSoapCo shop on Etsy, run by Sara James. She combines the leche, sent in by purchasers, with oils of olive, coconut, and lavender, to create soothing homemade cleansing bars.

Gaze at it: See breast-milk booties, above.