Around the time my sister had a baby last year, someone in the house developed an eye infection. My mom breezed in and said, oh good thing we have breastmilk handy and swept out, leaving my sister and I to stare at each other in stupefied silence. Turns out that breastmilk is known far and wide for its healing qualities, and back home in our village in Kerala, whenever anyone develops an eye infection, they troop off to a lactating woman’s household, a cup made of a leaf in hand, and return with a few drops to put into their eyes to cure it.
Call me whatever you want, but I instinctively found it shocking, but if it’s something so widely accepted (and clearly, it works), I guess it doesn’t matter what I felt the first time I heard about it. I’m reminded of all this when I read a new report about a 30-year-old woman Tamil Nadu woman named Preethi, who is making jewellery out of breastmilk.
Okay, I could see how could this could be a rather sweet thing for some people. It’s meant to serve as a lasting memory of a temporary experience of breastfeeding that many women look back on with fondness and nostalgia. She learnt how to do it after taking a breastmilk jewellery course online, and already had experience making clay jewellery before this.
Preethi says she’s able to complete 4 to 5 orders a week, and it costs between Rs 1000 to Rs 4000. She also gets orders for jewellery made from a child’s first tooth to even the umbilical cord. Besides the actual process of making the jewellery, it can get tricky because the milk has to be shipped to her under the ideal conditions so that it doesn’t spoil.