Got Breast-milk Jewelry? Memento Trend Goes Beyond Baby Footprints or Locks of Hair

Pendant with breast-milk "bead" by MommyMilk on Etsy.I admit I was sort of a breastfeeding fanatic: I loved the process, let my now-4-year-old nurse until she was just past two (only stopping then because my milk ran out), and even once sneaked a quick nip of the stuff from a bottle when no one was looking (it was surprisingly watery).

Here’s something I never wanted to do: preserve a heart-shaped drop of my “plasticized” milk in a pendant so I could wear it around my neck and gaze at it from time to time and show it to my daughter when she was all grown up.

But hey, what do I know? Breast-milk jewelry—and even, um, soap—is all over Etsy. And it’s selling.

“I’m a perfectionist and I strive to create the most perfect keepsake that I can,” writes Allicia Mogavero on her Mommy Milk Creations Etsy site, where she’s sold more than 250 pieces. “I make your breast milk bead pendants and other keepsakes like I would want my own. I take my time doing the absolute best that I can to make your special keepsake as perfect as it can be.”

Mogavero promises that your hardened breast milk—formed into a heart, moon, flower, star, tiny hands or other whimsical shape—will be “smooth and uniform without an over abundance of bubbles,” and “contoured almost perfectly.” Once that’s done, she’ll fashion the little gem into one of several pendant styles, which range from $69 to upwards of $100. (She also offers an “umbilical keepsake,” a pendant that preserves a smear from your baby’s stump, but that’s another story….)

Other liquid-gold-keepsake hawkers include Brooke Becker, who sells breast-milk preserving kits with lockets shaped like hearts and keys ($22-$38) on her Etsy shop Milk.Mom.Baby. “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,” she writes on her site. “I enjoyed the beauty of the locket, and the privacy of its contents.”

Hollyday Designs, by Holly Brooks, in Peoria, calls herself the “original creator of Breast Milk Pendants,” which she’s been making for more than a decade (who knew?). She’s had well over 2,000 sales on Etsy, where she sells pendants ($65 and up) containing milk beads in a dizzying range of shapes—diamond, heart, cross, tear drop, birch leaf, oak leaf, dragonfly, seashell, handprint, you name it (no nipples, though).

For the intriguing process to begin, buyers need to mail Brooks about a tablespoon of their fresh or frozen breast milk in a sealed bag (“Hand expressing may be more effective in collecting such a small amount,” she advises). The careful process of then forming the milk into resin, she explains, has several steps and takes a minimum of four days.

Custom Mother's Milk Soap by TinRoofSoapCo on Etsy.“As a rule,” Brooks warns, “No two pendants will ever be a like because everyone’s milk is different. Also, this is a handmade item so the uniqueness and beauty is naturally one of a kind.” 

And then there’s the Custom Mother’s Milk Soap, by Sara James of Houston on Etsy’s TinRoofSoapCo shop. She sells handcrafted bars (4 for $60) made of olive, coconut, lavender, and other oils, plus shea butter and a dose of your very own bodily ambrosia.

“I originally made this soap to preserve this bond between baby and breast—to save one bar indefinitely for my daughter so she will have some of me with her always and as a testament to the love and life I gave to her in those early months (read: sore nipples, plugged ducts, biting, pinching, etc.),” James writes about her creation. “The soap quickly became a favorite among my friends and family members.”

Responses to a recent blog post about breast-milk items on Baby Center ranged from enraptured to disturbed.

“I think it’s beautiful!” wrote a commenter named Valerie. “I am sad to be leaving this part of my life soon....This is such a wonderful idea. Even if I am the only one that knows what it is... it would be so beautiful to me!”

“AS,” meanwhile, wrote, “The jewelry is cute, but I’m just trying to imagine how I would feel if I had received such a gift from my mother… ‘Here honey, here is a lump of my preserved milk in a locket for you’..I would have probably been a little creeped out.”

One woman, “Momof4,” simply wrote that the soap was “gross.”

But hey, isn’t that what some folks think of breastfeeding in the first place?

Related:
Breastfeeding for Six Months Can Significantly Cut Risk of Cancer Death
5 Ways to Stay Connected With Your Baby After Nursing
Breast Is Best? One Dad Says No to Breastfeeding.