Milk Storms, Milk Gems & Open Minds

When I wrote the post about the mom who wet-nurses her friend's son, I just knew that it would make waves.

Big waves.

Indeed, my post went viral overnight, marking the fourth time that one of my breastfeeding posts has gone viral.  And as I watch one milk storm turn into another...I see time and time again, that too many people are freaked out by the idea of breastfeeding.

Freaked out by lactation, but happily sipping their frothy cappuccinos at Starbucks...oh the irony.

It's easy to dismiss this irony as nothing more than ignorance and to assume that those who are feeling particularly weirded-out will never have their minds changed...a lost cause, you might say.

But what if - and I'll say this quietly for now - what if a handful of minds could be changed as a result of these milk storms?  What if just a couple of hearts might be won over?

Because by opening a dialogue and sharing our breastfeeding stories, one or two people might open their minds to the idea that using breasts for their primary purpose is actually entirely sensible.

Perhaps, if we keep the conversation flowing (alongside the milk), a handful of people might start to see that human milk is not so scary and lactating breasts are not, in fact, pornographic sales tools.  Perhaps we might reach the point where mothers can nurse their children in restaurants, without facing rude remarks and stigma; perhaps we might reach the point at which we can discuss nipple cream and compare breast milk jewellery with our friends, without using hushed voices or sideways glances...

And maybe, by talking and sharing and getting on with feeding our children - without hiding and without shame - there might come a day where nobody stumbles over that last sentence...where nobody blinks about the idea of making jewellery and gems out of breast milk.  Did you squirm at the thought of it?  Because seriously - these gems are gorgeous, take a look at Baby Bee Hummingbirds for example, an Australian business that is going from strength to strength as more and more moms decide to capture their breastfeeding experience and wear it (quite literally) around their necks.

And why not?

I have a charm bracelet that I will keep forever.  The charms that adorn it are representative of my life and yet I know that there is one crucial charm still missing:


There was nothing at the local jewelers that could do this idea of Motherhood justice.  Tiny silver teddies and prams felt impersonal and so, with all of this mommy-ing and 'going viral', I forgot all about my search for a charm-sized symbol of my mothering experience...I think it's about time to change that and capture myself some liquid gold.

And one thing is certain; I won't be shy about what the charm is made from when people stop to ask.  I won't stumble and stutter as I try to explain my choice.  I will own it - I will wear it, no less - with pride.

And perhaps, just one or two people might start to change their perspectives about this polarizing subject of breastfeeding.  And perhaps, over time, the trolls will find some other issue to stomp on and left in their place, there will be genuine people with genuine questions; still open to learning.

I think, for me personally, the most encouraging and inspiring exchange that I witnessed throughout last week’s wet-nursing milk storm, was this one:

Doubtful Mom: "Hmmmmm.  I've never heard of that before!"

Open and Confident Mom: "Now you have - isn't it great?"
Not-So-Doubtful-Anymore Mom: "Yes!"


Open the dialogue and common sense will (sometimes) prevail.

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Thank you to mama Lucy for allowing me to feature her picture in this piece.  For more photos in celebration of breastfeeding and motherhood, join the Mama Bean village on Facebook!

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