A local mother is showing support to Jacksonville's motherhood community by creating personalized jewelry out of her customers' breast milk.
Lactation Creations is an online jewelry store founded by Jesikah Black, a mother of two and certified lactation counselor.
The store specializes in unique jewelry made from breast milk that is molded into the shapes of feathers, eggs, bees and more.
“It’s just a way to help these moms I’m supporting with breastfeeding to just be proud of what they’re doing," Black told First Coast News. "Breastfeeding is something to be so proud of. It’s harder than we think it’s going to be.”
Black got the idea for the project while working with her clients as a lactation counselor.
"I started seeing other moms who are having trouble breastfeeding and just need a little more support," she said. "I go to their house, I help them breastfeed, I get them latched, and just help support them through it, because sometimes it can be hard."
Over time, her clients started to make an interesting request -- can she make her clients jewelry out of their breast milk?
"[The trend] is like the buzz between moms, breastfeeding moms," Black explained.
After a year of research, Black started Lactation Creations and has received jewelry requests from local moms as well as moms from as far as Australia.
Though the designs are intricate, Black says it's a very simple process that only takes about 15 minutes.
“I found this really great non-toxic preservative that I can use [to preserve the milk]. It’s more like a hardener," she said. "Think of when you get your nails done and you put your hands under the UV light – that’s basically what I do."
Black says she boils the milk to rid of any bacteria and eliminate the chances of mold. She then mixes the clear preservative with her clients' milk, pours the solution into a mold and places the mold under a UV light.
"...And it hardens like that," she said. "It turns it essentially into a little gemstone.”
She lets the jewelry set for at least a day to ensure there are no imperfections. Then she ships them in colorful cloth pouches she calls Mammary Glam Bags.
“It’s made with care, it’s made with love," she said. "I love what I do, and this is just another way for me to show my community that I’m here for them.”
Each piece comes with a lifetime guarantee and a special promise from Black.
"I will keep making it. If it gets lost, cracked, or turns blue or green or whatever, I will replace it for you," she said. "It is my promise that you will have a beautiful piece of jewelry for a lifetime.”
Black says "I wanted you to be able to wash your hands and do whatever you want – change diapers, you know, we’re busy."
Breast milk can be used for a variety of things and has plenty of healing properties, according to Black.
"My pediatrician told me to get rid of a clumped tear duct with my breast milk," she said. "I was putting breast milk in my kids’ ears, eyes, everything. It’s good for the skin."
"I mean I can take a bath in my own breast milk, but I don't," she said with a laugh.
Black, who is still breastfeeding her own children, says she understands the struggle of motherhood and also hosts support groups and classes for local mothers.
She hosts a support group every second Thursday of the month at Southside Baptist Church in San Marco, she hosts classes in Nocatee.
“My daughter, she’s my first [child]. Me and her had a terrible time. It took three months to figure out how to breastfeed properly," Black said. “There’s a quote that I like. It says, ‘Breastfeeding is natural like falling in love – not breathing.’ We come out, we know how to breathe, but you don’t come out knowing how to love. You have to work on that."