Any breastfeeding mom can tell you that their journey nursing their child is full of ups and downs, tears and smiles, chaos and calm. I’ve recently learned about breast milk jewelry: a meaningful gift for a nursing mom. The pieces are beautiful and I had to find out more! So I spoke to Kellie who owns Milk Vine Jewelry and makes this beautiful, personalized jewelry for moms all over the world.
What is breast milk jewelry?
Breast milk jewelry is a special type of jewelry made from a mother’s own breast milk. I use a unique method to preserve her breast milk and turn it into a hard jewel or pearl, then set it into a ring, earrings or pendant setting.
The breastfeeding journey is unique to each mom. Some find it comes easy, while other moms struggle. Breast milk jewelry celebrates the struggles, the determination, and the love moms have for their little ones. It’s also an beautiful gift for a donor as a thank you for their gift to you and your little one.
How did you start making breast milk jewelry?
Like many moms, I had my own challenges while breastfeeding, but as I gazed into my kids’ sweet eyes, my heart melted and I knew I wanted to preserve this memory forever. I decided to figure out a way to do so in the form of jewelry, since it would be a special way to keep these memories close. After quite some time reading chemistry books and experimenting, I finally honed my method of preservation.
Aside from breast milk jewelry, I also make keepsake jewelry – with or without breast milk. You can send in a special inclusion for their jewelry, such as a piece of baby blanket, flower petal, lace, etc. If you don’t have breast milk, I can set it into a clear resin mixture. My son had a blue blankie that seemed permanently attached to his hand. After many years, it finally turned raggedy and had to go away. This blanket was part of him! Sigh… However, I took a small piece of it and turned it into a lovely pendant! It’s just a small little way to have a cute reminder in the form of a pretty necklace.
What began as simply wanting to create a special keepsake for myself turned into an opportunity to create these unique mementos for other moms, too. I wanted to do something that has meaning to both me and to others, and I’ve found that in crafting breast milk jewelry!
What is the process like to get someone’s milk from its usual form, into a piece of jewelry?
For each piece of jewelry, I ask that the mother send me ½ ounce of breast milk. I can also make some pieces with a little less. The milk doesn’t need to be refrigerated when being shipped to me either. I urge moms to at least double-bag the milk and ship it in a padded envelope, which will ensure it doesn’t spill. This is one type of milk it’s okay to cry over spilling! Upon receiving it, I mark and file the information and milk to ensure each piece of jewelry is made with the correct mother’s milk. I couldn’t imagine how devastating it would be to find out I had a piece of jewelry made with someone else’s milk, so the filing process is very important to me.
Once I receive the breast milk or inclusion, the fun begins! I use a special process to preserve the mother’s breast milk, then pour it into a special, handcrafted mold. Aside from pearls, I also have a number of round and oval designs, as well as birds, leaves, hearts, and more. The preservation and solidification process takes about a week or two depending on the piece. Once the piece is hard like a rock, I use a special file to file down any rough edges from the mold, then seal the entire piece of jewelry once again to ensure it lasts and looks beautiful for years to come. Once the piece is sealed, I mount it to the jewelry setting.
Most of my settings are sterling silver, however I also offer solid 14k white & yellow golds, silver-plated, antique bronze, and gold-plated. For moms who want their pearl to have that true pearl shimmer, I can create this effect as well. The entire process, from start to finish, typically takes about two to three weeks depending on the piece.
I also keep any leftover breast milk for 6 months in case a mom wants to have another piece of jewelry made. This prevents her from having to send her milk in again.
What’s a rewarding story you can tell us about making something for someone?
A mother lost her 6-week-old, but was pumping to donate her breast milk. This was so incredibly selfless and awe-inspiring, and I was beyond honored to make her a ring as a special keepsake.
Why should someone get breast milk jewelry made?
What mom doesn’t love a beautiful piece of jewelry, and one that has an incredibly special meaning makes it even more…special! Breast milk jewelry is beautiful jewelry with a hidden meaning. It’s a wonderful way to commemorate your breastfeeding journey. It’s such a lovely and unique way to capture this cherished moment in time.
Breast milk jewelry is also a special gift for donors. These women are selfless and giving and their donations help provide other’s infants with a consistent source of nutrition. A piece of breast milk jewelry is a beautiful gift for these inspiring women.
Real Simple Mama’s Experience with Breast Milk Jewelry
I ordered my own piece and it arrived on June 17 – which is not only my oldest child’s birthday, but it also means that day is my anniversary of becoming a mom… and breastfeeding!
My pendant came beautifully wrapped and I was so excited to receive it. It was emotional for me to open the box and see something which represents so much. It’s hard to even put into words (and I’m tearing up as I write this, like the dork I am).
Kellie also included a little handout about how to care for my jewelry, and a reminder that she’s keeping my leftover milk for six months… you know, in case I want to get something for myself for Christmas…
Overall I am so so so happy with this whole experience, and with my pendant. Kellie is a great communicator and she did everything she said she would. My pendant is gorgeous and everyone is asking about it!
I realized, once I put this on my chain, that this piece will be even more meaningful to me once I wean my daughter (she’s our last child). I’ll always have this little memento of the time and love which goes into any breastfeeding relationship. I’m so glad I got my breast milk jewelry!
Kellie Sandrik has two awesome boys and a wonderful husband. Her favorite pastime includes traveling and experiencing new things with her family, or just hanging with them at home. After working in publishing for almost 20 years, she decided to launch HoorayForMoms.com where she blogs about a topic she’s passionate about – parenting – as well as Milk Vine Jewelry where she handcrafts one-of-a-kind breast milk and keepsake jewelry made from mothers’ breast milk or other special inclusions, such as a piece of baby blanket, flower petal, and more.