I first discovered breastmilk jewelry when I was still nursing my daughter. She was my first baby and we went through the ups and downs of learning to breastfeed.
Before you get grossed out, read on to learn why I got a breastmilk necklace and why Bridgette makes them.
My breastfeeding goal? Make it one year. After all, that’s what all the experts were recommending.
Two years later I never would have imagined that we would make it that far. We made a great team.
I recently weaned her after our long road of bonding through breastfeeding. After a month of tandem nursing, I decided we were ready to be done.
There are so many emotions connected to breastfeeding.The bond between mother and baby.
- The mountains and valleys of feeling like a human pacifier and wanting your nipples back.
- Nipple pain, cracked and bleeding nipples.
- Wanting to exclusively breastfeed to give your baby the best start in life.
- Clogged ducts
Breastfeeding is hard.
It’s a lot of work. And, for some it can be a very difficult journey.
I knew that I would always look back on the time breastfeeding my daughter and treasure it.
I didn’t want to forget it. Nor did I want to take our precious time for granted.
So, I decided to commemorate it with a breastmilk necklace.
I realize this isn’t for everyone. But, if you’ve ever wonder s what breastmilk jewelry is like or what the process is to make it, then you’re in luck because this month’s Business Mom of the Month is Bridgette of JoBri Milk Charms. Bridgette’s handiwork is sought after by mommas worldwide and she has been interviewed about her work on national news.
In this exclusive interview with Bridgette, we find out the juicy details (pun intended) of her handiwork helping mommas everywhere commemorate their special bond with their babies.
What is breastmilk jewelry?
Breastmilk Jewelry is a Keepsake made with mother’s very own Breastmilk. A tangible reminder of the bond between mother and child.
How did you get started making breastmilk jewelry?
I was inspired by my own breastfeeding journey after my first son was born. I started experimenting with different preservation methods, quickly realizing what not to do. After many trial and errors, I found a chemical solvent that gave me the results I was looking for. Once I successfully made myself a Keepsake, I shared a picture in a Facebook group for breastfeeding women and the response was overwhelming! I started taking orders and my business grew from there, by word of mouth and the power of Facebook.
I’m sure you get this a lot, but how do you respond to the people who say “that’s weird!”
“I, myself, am strange and unusual” is exactly how I respond. (Quote from Beetlejuice). I have always been fascinated by the stranger things in life and birth, so it only feels natural for me to be preserving such a special and life-giving medium.
(Haha love it! Bridgette, I think we can all agree that we are a bit odd and unusual. Love your transparency and beautiful heart behind what you do!)
Tell us a little bit more about your process of making breastmilk jewelry.
I ask for a half ounce of Breastmilk, which can yield up to three Milk Charms. The Breastmilk must be properly preserved prior to mixing with the resin to ensure each milk charm will last a lifetime. If not the results will be a rotting mess over a short period of time.
I essentially turn your Breastmilk to a stone from its liquid form using heat and the secret solvent, the chemical reaction that takes place is incredible. (I even post live preservation videos for my customers, I love to show bits and pieces of the process) After the Breastmilk sample is completely cured, I then crush it into a very fine Milky Dust, from there it is added to the resin where I can make nearly any design using a plethora of molds and jewelry settings.
The entire process takes about a week, sometimes more depending on the design chosen. Each Milk Charm is unique to you and your Breastmilk, they vary in color from a more pearly White to a deep cream.
What other additions do you put into the jewelry and what else can you make commemorative jewelry out of other than breastmilk?
You can easily customize your milk charm by adding an array of shimmers and sparkles. The most popular is my original Mermaid’s Milk, where I infuse the Breastmilk with a turquoise powder and add scale like sparkle to create a beautiful mermaid effect.
Not only do I preserve Breastmilk, I also make jewelry with hair, baby’s Umbilical cord, and mother’s placenta. My most recent addition is electroformed baby teeth! It results in a sweet little tooth charm.
How many different jewelry designs do you have in your store and are you working on any new designs?
I currently have around 67 designs to choose from, including rings, earrings, and pendants.
With prices ranging from $80-$700
I offer a selection of under $100 pendants that are more budget-friendly and a solid 14kt gold collection.
I like to keep designs fresh and current so I am constantly coming up with different designs and retiring older ones.
Can women get custom designs if they’re looking for something specific?
Creating custom keepsakes is definitely something I like to offer. I have teamed up with Ashley Lozano, a wonderful mama metalsmith, to create very one of a kind keepsakes.
What have been some of your favorite reasons that moms have wanted to commemorate their breastfeeding experience?
Milk Charms are very personal and represent so many different struggles and accomplishments. Many mamas reach out and share their journey with me. We’ve cried, we’ve laughed and we’ve related on so many levels. It would be very hard to pick a favorite but I have made many Milk Charms for Milk donors. The selflessness involved with donating Breastmilk to a mama and baby in need is something that creates such a bond and womanhood, so that would be one of my favorites.
Do you work from home? Tell us a little more about your setup and how you balance work and home life as a work at home mom?
Being a single mom, I feel so fortunate to work from home and be with my boys. Although that does have its own challenges at times. Managing work hours and mommy hours was hard in the beginning, especially after my second son was born. I was working mainly at night while they slept, pausing many times to breastfeed my youngest and put him back to bed. The hours spent working at night was really taking a toll on me. Mommy needed sleep, but I also had to keep up with the many orders that were coming in and giving each customer the best experience possible. Things are constantly changing as the children and business grow, so does the way I work and adapt to each new challenge. My boys are now 2yrs & 4yrs and it has been better than ever. They are more easily entertained with each other and they have a better understanding of when mommy has to work. Throughout my four years of making Milk Charms, I have to say how indebted I am to the mama’s I have worked with. I am a mother who works for other mothers, so there is a definite understanding and respect that goes both ways.
I keep my customers very informed from start to finish with weekly updates on my Facebook page and a Breastmilk arrivals page on my website. This way each mama can easily track when they will receive their milk charm.
In my line of work organization and order are the key to running smoothly. I have every customer label their inclusions with name and order number. (After checkout you receive detailed mailing instructions) This is vital to keeping every order separate, ensuring no inclusions are ever misplaced or swapped. My home office is set up to create with ease and it’s something that has developed over time. I have many different stations, from preservation to jewelry making and shipping. My children never have access to my workshop, for obvious reasons and also for their safety.
What advice do you have for other work at home moms?
I’m not quite sure I should be giving advice, as I still struggle with the work at home balance myself. I realized that I have been my own worst critic. I was never giving myself credit where it was due, instead, I always felt like I wasn’t doing enough. So be gentle on yourself, be proud of your accomplishments. Even if it meant you managed to wipe your kid’s butt for the 10th time that morning and only got one order completed, be proud of yourself and keep moving forward.
Bridgette, you are a talented and amazing momma and an inspiration! Thank you for being our Business Mom of the Month and showing us how we can commemorate the special time spent breastfeeding postpartum.