Latest breast milk trend: Baby booties
Check out these breastmilk booties!
First, there was breast milk ice cream, then the trend of breast milk pendants serving as mementos. And now, news has surfaced of pairs of tiny baby booties made from donated breast milk which has been created by a British designer duo.
Husband-and-wife team Nick Gant and Tanya Dean, both lecturers at the University of Brighton in East Sussex, transformed proteins in the milk into a hard plastic-type material, which are then molded into booties. These booties, while pleasing to the eye, cannot be worn at all.
The booties were created using donated breast milk by a mother to promote World Breast Milk Donation Day which was on 19 May 2013.
The inch-long booties are not the first type of sustainable footwear to have been created by these innovative designers. The pair, aptly described as 'masters of material manipulation', has made shoes from other unusual waste materials. They have created children's slippers from dog hair, flip flops from beach waste collected by volunteers, recycled wine corks into men's brogues among many others.
The thought behind the creation
Speaking about this breast milk project, Mr Gant said: "The aim is to highlight the importance of breast milk donation, and more broadly to challenge people's perceptions about so-called waste products."
The process to create the booties was relatively simple. It involved gently heating some breast milk, then adding some vinegar to help form a congealed curd cluster, similar to mozzarella. It was then pressed into silicon molds and dried over the course of four days.
There are plans for five more pairs of booties to be made. The first pair will be presented to a donor to mark World Breast Milk Donation Day.
Find out the importance of donated breast milk on the next page!
Mr Gant and Ms Dean worked with Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital's milk bank manager, Gillian Weaver in London. The milk bank provides specially heat-treated breast milk collected from volunteer donor mothers for use in feeding sick and premature babies. Ms Weaver said: ‘Seeing these tiny booties made from breast milk is a unique reminder of the valuable role that breast milk plays in helping premature babies to survive and grow.’
The importance of breast milk donation
A mum who gives birth prematurely may experience a delay in her milk coming in. Or a mum whose baby is too sick or premature may not be able latch on and get enough milk. Donated breast milk ensures these babies get the best start in life.
Usually, milk banks only accept milk from healthy mums who have babies under six months old who are not yet weaned onto solids. These banks provide sterilised collection bottles and labels, and some also supply breast pumps. They collect frozen, expressed milk from the donor mom. Once this milk is treated and checked, it is ready to be given as needed to those who need it.
There are no human milk banks in Singapore, but you can contact other mums through the Facebook group, Human Milk 4 Human Babies. Do note that sharing breastmilk has inherent risks to it, where a lot of viruses can be transmitted through breastfeeding such as HIV and Hepatitis B. New strains of bacteria can also be passed on to babies through milk sharing. Do
What do you think of this breast milk trend? Comment about it below!
If you have any questions on breastfeeding, theAsianparent also has a Singapore Breastfeeding Mums Support Group that you can join for mum-to-mum advice.