Gomberg: Why (and how!) I made jewelry out of my breast milk

(Marina Gomberg | The Salt Lake Tribune) Marina made a neckless out of her breast milk. She knows that's weird, but she loves it because she thinks breast milk is amazing. This is what the DIY kit looks like.

First of all: kudos. I feel like it takes a special person to click on that headline, and I want you to know I’m impressed by your bravery.

Second, and more to the point: Yes, you read it right. I made jewelry — a pendant necklace more specifically — out of my milk. It’s a thing you can do … and I did it.

I can honestly say, though, that even I am surprised about this — that I’d pay to turn a bodily fluid into a fashion accessory. And like it.

While I recognize that it’s an unexpected, and dare I say, weird thing to do, I stand by it. Here’s why: Nursing, I’ve come to realize in the past year and a half, is really awesome — for the baby and the mama. I’m talking, ridiculously awesome. Like, in addition to being nutritious, it can prevent and cure illness awesome.

So, I’ve been surprised that we make nursing and pumping (expressing breast milk for future baby consumption) so uncomfortable for women when they’re on the go or at work every day (pro tip: Ask yourself whether you’d eat a meal prepared on a public restroom countertop before asking me why I can’t just nurse/pump in the ladies room), and we judge moms when we think they nurse their child too long or not long enough.

We’ve had to mandate via law that women have access to clean and private places to pump at work, and even still, the options aren’t always great. A friend of mine, for example, who worked in retail, had to pump twice a shift in a dressing room while her pump’s rhythmic shooshing echoed out for all to hear. Although that was better than the woman who told me she had to use a janitor’s closet that was too small to even fit a chair. Good luck!

So I’m turning my recent fangirl awe of nursing into some light education and advocacy — through a super cute little silver and glass pendant packed with dried, ground breast milk that sits atop my ginormous baby sustainers which are remarkably good at generating attention. Aha. The gals will be multitasking.

Want to know how I made it? Flip through these pictures and read the captions for step-by-step instructions.

(Marina Gomberg | The Salt Lake Tribune) Marina made a necklace out of her breast milk. She knows that's weird, but she loves it because she thinks breast milk is amazing. This is what the DIY kit looks like.

I get that society hasn’t always been all that eager to accommodate the needs of women and children, but I’m going to assume that’s the result of a lack of information, and not a lack of respect or concern.

So, here’s the scoop, friends: Nursing/breast milk is kind of a big deal.

Does your baby have a cold? Try breast milk up the nose. Conjunctivitis? A couple drops of mama’s magic in that pink eye and kiddo is good to go. Diabetes risk? Lowered. Immunity and intelligence? Boosted.

Aside from changing dirty diapers, there’s little breast milk doesn’t do.

But then again, the entire act of nursing is mind-blowingly cool. Somehow, it plays second fiddle to gestating, but I’m not sure it should.

Fun fact: When a babe latches onto his or her mama to nurse, that connection creates a two-way communication wherein the kidlet’s bod tells the mama’s bod what nutrients, antibodies, hormones, vitamins, etc., it needs. And, like the hero she is, the mama’s bod changes up the menu to accommodate. Now, that’s a superfood (move over açai berries and kale).

So, yes, I bought a DIY kit off Etsy and enjoyed a couple of nights of intimate crafting in the hopes of spurring some future conversation. I call it activism by accessory.

Marina Gomberg’s lifestyle columns appear on sltrib.com. She is a communications professional and lives in Salt Lake City with her wife, Elenor Gomberg, and their son, Harvey. You can reach Marina at mgomberg@sltrib.com.

Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune New Salt Lake Tribune lifestyle columnist Marina Gomberg.