They say there’s no use crying over spilt milk.
Except there is when that milk is your own breast milk, and you’re mourning the fact you might never breastfeed again.
I knew the moment I discovered breast milk jewellery existed that one day I’d like a piece to remember that special time in my life by.
It’s an idea that might sound macabre to some, but to others like me turning breast milk into jewellery is the most natural thing in the world. Here’s why I did it, how I went about it and how you can do it too.
Why I had my breast milk turned into jewellery
Grief might sound like a strong word to use, but that’s how I felt in the days and weeks after giving up breastfeeding.
She was a strapping, chest-thumping two-year-old; I was an exhausted, sleep deprived mum who hadn’t slept through the night since two days before she was born.
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*Breastfeeding at two* 'A bit odd' – that's a comment I read on a social media feed this week in response to a post by a mum breastfeeding her toddler Odd or not, that's where we're at too and the question is: now what? I have absolutely no idea how to go about weaning her off, but I do know that the time has come. The thing is, though, while there's plenty of advice for breastfeeding mamas with two week olds & two month olds, there's not so much for breastfeeding mamas with two year olds like me ♀️ So I asked @medela_uk's lactation consultant Sioned Hilton all the questions I can't seem to find the answers to – like exactly how to go about stopping & whether my previously equal-sized boobies will ever return to their normal size or remain mahoosively imbalanced for the rest of eternity Her expert advice is over on the blog today – link in bio! #MedelaMums #breastfeeding #breastfeedingmamas #brelfie
The time was definitely right, but that doesn’t make it any easier when, despite the lack of sleep, you loved every minute of it. It’s very hard to explain, but I genuinely felt like I was in mourning, and it’s probably a feeling only a breastfeeding mama can know.
The thought of having a little bit of my breast milk encapsulated to remember forever was a comforting one, so I set about finding someone who could do it for me. It wasn’t long before I came across Tanya, the owner, designer and maker of Milk Diamonds, who specialises in handmade keepsake jewellery.
Based in Somerset, Tanya makes bespoke gold and silver rings, pendants and charms using breast milk set in resin. And she doesn’t only work with breast milk: ‘inclusions’ include flowers, first curls, fabric and even ashes too.
How does it work?
After choosing what type of jewellery you would like made (I opted for a blue charm featuring six white breast milk roses on a silver chain) you place your order so Tanya knows to expect your sample of milk – or flowers, or hair, or fabric, or ashes.
All she needs is 30ml of breast milk to work her magic, which I sent through the post double-bagged and labelled with my order number. It doesn’t need to be fresh either – as long as it hasn’t gone mouldy it can have been knocking around in the freezer for years.
Once your sample has arrived you’ll get an email confirming receipt, so you know it’s arrived safely.
How do you know it’s actually your breast milk?
In Tanya’s own words, the short answer is you don’t. But as with any bespoke item you’re having made, there has to be an element of trust and she absolutely guarantees the milk used in your jewellery is your own.
After sending my sample of breast milk I received an email confirming my sample had been received and logged, and Tanya shares regular updates on her Instagram and Facebook pages charting how she does it too.
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So, in case you ever wondered, every bag of breastmilk we receive gets divided into two test tubes. One is processed and preserved and the other goes into the freezer for safe-keeping. We keep milk for two years this way. If something ever happens to your jewellery and you need a replacement, or you fancy another piece, your milk is here ready for you. This milk has been defrosted and will be preserved before being used to make a charm bead. #milkdiamonds #studiolife #workinprogress #breastmilkjewellery #howitsmadematters #onefromthefreezer
She also keeps what’s left of your sample after she’s made your jewellery for two years, so if you’d like more pieces made or something happens to your original piece, it can be replaced.
How much does it cost?
The cost varies depending on what you would like made, but charms start from £65 with an added £15 for breast milk inclusions. I paid £107 for my charm with breast milk roses and chain.
What did I think?
To say I’m delighted with my breast milk charm is an understatement – I love it and it’s even better than I imagined it would be.
I love the fact that a little bit of the milk that fed my babies exclusively for the first six months of their lives has been encapsulated forever in such a pretty way, and that only I (and now you!) know what my necklace is actually made of.
In monetary terms my charm is among the least intrinsically valuable items of jewellery I own, but in sentimental terms it’s absolutely priceless. Thank you Tanya for making me such a beautiful and special reminder of my breastfeeding days – I will treasure it forever!
Have you come across breast milk jewellery before? What do you think of the idea, and do you know anyone who has had some made?
I was not paid to write this post, nor was I gifted my breast milk charm in exchange for this post. I am simply telling you about it for anyone else interested in breast milk jewellery and because I think Tanya and Milk Diamonds deserve a shout out for all the special work they do.