For those who love to preserve the happy memory of their pregnancy through a maternity photo shoot, the next step seems to be a souvenir to mark their role as a new mom. Many are drawn to breast milk jewelry that holds a small amount of their breast milk and their baby's umbilical cord (the latter is something Filipino moms traditionally keep in an album or scrapbook once it has dried up and fallen off).
That was apparent when a mom from our Smart Parenting Village Facebook group got more than 200 comments after she shared a photo of her DIY keepsake (the necklace pendant she did is the photo you see above) and spent only about Php500.
Mom Gabrielle Balmori Franciso, who just gave birth to her baby boy last December 2018, told SmartParenting.com.ph via Facebook Messenger that she got the idea from a YouTube video. “My little one was my inspiration. Gusto ko ipakita sa kanya in the future yung work of art ko. It signifies na kahit nahihirapan ako at first sa pag-breastfeed sa kanya, hindi ako sumuko. And this pendant will be treasured!”
Gabrielle's post was bombarded with comments from moms asking how she did it. She obliged the moms and shared how she DIY-ed her breast milk necklace pendant below.
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What you’ll need:
freshly expressed breast milk or at least breast milk in room temperature
your little one’s dried up umbilical cord or a lock of his hair
resin, available in craft and jewelry stores
blank necklace pendant or locket, also available in craft stores
container and stirring rod or for mixing
Here's what you need to do:
Cut or crush the dried umbilical cord until you get a powdery texture. You can also use a lock of your baby’s hair.
Arrange the elements in the pendant. When you’re happy with your design, set it aside.
Prepare resin mixture, making sure you follow the instructions carefully. Be precise with the measurement, or you may end up with soft or sticky castings. (Gabrielle used AB epoxy resin, which entails mixing 3 mL resin and 1mL hardener, though she said regular resin will work, too. Regular resin takes only 20 to 30 minutes to set, while AB epoxy resin takes 24 hours or a day to set fully.)
Combine resin mixture and breast milk until texture is consistent (this may take a while). Then, use a dropper to transfer the liquid into the pendant. For lockets, Gabrielle recommends you don’t fill it up so you make sure you can still close it.
Wait for it to dry. Placing it under the sun to speed up the waiting time. Once it's dry and hardened, your breast milk pendant is done.
Gabrielle also shared where she bought the materials. She bought resin for Php399 from online seller @jeanjerbreadcorner (The Wool Felt Hub PH) on Facebook and the stainless steel pendant, about Php95, from Bittercoffee.ph on Shoppee.
If you read through the steps, it sounds simple enough. However, working with resin, while a standard material used in polymer, craft and jewelry making, is still a chemical that requires careful handling. Two moms from the group who make breast milk keepsakes professionally shared some tips for moms who want to go the DIY route.
Work in a space with proper ventilation. The moms highly recommend that you do not have the kids in the same room when you work with resin.
Wear disposable gloves, safety goggles, and protective clothing. If you're sanding resin to make it smooth, wear a mask respirator. This is not for people who have asthma.
Once you used containers and mixing tools for resin, don’t use it again for other purposes, especially not on food.
Clean up spills immediately.
A mom raised a question over the possibility of the breast milk changing its color over time, and it is a possibility if breast milk is not preserved or treated properly before mixing it with resin.
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Creating your own breast milk keepsake is a leap of faith, especially if you don't have experience in crafts or jewelry making. You don't know if everything will turn out great, but it could be fun. Just take extra care with the materials you use.