This Mom Deserves A High-Five For Inventing Breast Milk Jewelry
Etsy is a treasure trove of childbirth and breastfeeding memorabilia. If you need a terrifying vintage breast pump, Etsy will hook you up. If you need preprinted thank-you cards to distribute to random women you see breastfeeding in public, Etsy will hook you up. And if you need a locket made out of your own breast milk, Etsy will hook you up.
Alicia Mogavero of MommyMilk Creations has a wildly successful Etsy business devoted to turning customers’ breast milk into beads and jewelry. She takes milk samples from her clients, solidifies the milk into resin, and creates charms and beads to make the most custom jewelry possible. It’s not cheap — with some pendants running about $160 — and the idea is a little bit out there, but demand is so overwhelming that Mogavero has a 12-month waiting list. That’s longer than Hermès.
Mogavero’s breast milk jewelry is not for everyone. I do not personally require a breast milk-filled locket to commemorate the feeding of my child, and if at some point I wish I had some more milk around to remind me of the experience, I will just look at my breast milk-covered couch, carpet, bed, and clothes. But clearly there is a big demand for this product, and Mogavero deserves a high-five for finding an underserved market to corner. I’m adding breast milk jewelry to my ever-expanding “wish I’d thought of it first” list.
Mogavero told The Daily Mail she came up with the idea after having a very difficult time breastfeeding. Once she was done, she wanted to commemorate the crazy amount of effort she put into the process, so her jewelry was like a little breastfeeding trophy. Once she had hers, word of mouth spread and customers came out of the woodwork.
But because it’s the Internet, some critics have attacked Mogavero’s products as being “gross.”
“I’ve heard it all when it comes to comments about my items,” Mogavero said. “’What’s next, a baby’s first poop keepsake?’ or ‘that is disgusting, breast milk is body fluid.’”
While I might think the jewelry is a little weird and not for me, “gross” is an extreme overstatement. I’d put it somewhere between a lock of hair and a vial of blood on the “weird jewelry” scale. But the idea that a breast milk necklace is the same thing as a poop necklace comes from the weird, wrongheaded idea that breast milk is somehow dirty or disgusting, which is closely tied to all the weird, wrongheaded arguments mothers hear against breastfeeding.
It’s just milk, and people need to stop treating it like urine or worse. Yes, it’s a bodily fluid, but it’s also a food product. It’s not really any different from cow’s milk, and there are jugs of that just sitting out at Starbucks. Unless you’re a baby, nobody is going to make you drink it, so if some lady wants to wear a breast milk necklace, just butt out about it.