I once squirted a man on an airplane with breast milk. I was travelling with my newborn son and because he was my first and, ergo, the one I was most likely to take advice from parenting books for, I decided the best thing to do to keep him from screaming his wee head off during takeoff was to nurse him.
Discreetly using a blanket, I managed to get him to latch on (no mean feat in itself, frankly) just as we were taking off. Turns out the pressure change freaked him out anyhow, he reared back, knocked the blanket off and let go — just as my milk let down. Or, rather, out. And up. For anyone who’s never seen milk let down, it’s like a cross between a severed artery and a rainbow sprinkler.
The poor man in front of me got a few drops on the back of his seat and hair. I was apologizing and crying hysterically, my baby was screaming his wee head off and everyone on the plane was shooting us with death glares. And we were only five minutes into a four-hour flight. For the record, the man handled it supremely well for someone who’d just been hit with unidentified bodily fluids. (And new parents? Just use a binky on an airplane.)
That’s not something I ever thought I’d confess on the internet and yet that horrifying experience is the first thing I think of when I think of breastfeeding.
Alicia Mogavero’s first thought about nursing, on the other hand, was jewelry. Alicia, a woman who was clearly much more adept at breastfeeding than I was, founded Mommy Milk Creations, a line of jewelry custom made out of breast milk, as a way to “capture some of the magic” of nursing her baby. She spent seven years (!) developing a special resin that will preserve milk. Once the milk is preserved, she then shapes the milk-mound and mounts it on a silver plate which can then be engraved and made into a piece of jewelry. Each piece takes her about five hours to create and sells for about $160.
“I think breast milk is truly amazing and I’m certainly not the only one who thinks this way,” Alicia told the Daily Mail.
And I agree, absolutely. If having kids has taught me anything, it’s how amazing women’s bodies are. How to feed a baby is a remarkably controversial topic for something seemingly so straightforward — baby eats, baby lives happily ever after — so I will only say that a) I don’t care how you feed your baby as long as you do and b) I nursed all my children but it was really hard for me and while I did it, I can’t say I loved it. So when I saw the Mommy Milk Creations all I could think was that after nearly five years of nursing (my different children) the last thing I’d want to wear on my chest is boob juice.
But hey, that’s just me. I am terribly unsentimental. I didn’t keep a lock of my babies’ hair nor did I bronze their shoes or do those Instagram snaps once a month with the month on their onesies. But I don’t begrudge those who do and I totally enjoy looking at cute pictures of my friends’ babies. And it’s the same with the breast milk jewelry: Not my thing but if it’s yours (and it certainly is a lot of people’s as there is a one-year+ waiting list), then you do you and wear it with pride. I’ll look at it. I’ll even compliment it. And then I’ll probably make you listen to the story about the time I squirted a man on an airplane with breast milk.