Breast milk has been dubbed as liquid gold due to the challenges a mom must endure to produce it. Of course, it isn't really gold, but under a microscope, it is mesmerizing.
Jansen Howard of Colorado Springs, mom of an 11-month-old daughter, Arrow, posted a video of a single drop of her breast milk under a microscope, and raved about it.
"You guys... this is SO COOL! This is the living liquid gold we call breast milk in motion!" she wrote on her Facebook post. While it didn't show the color gold, she added, "It's miraculous, and it's ALIVE tailored to my babies needs at this moment!"
People seem to agree with her -- it already has more than a million views.
So what gave Jansen the idea to check out her milk in microscopic detail? Arrow developed a milk cold. "I had heard about how breast milk actually changes in composition constantly to fit the needs of your child, like when they are sick, your breast milk is full of antibodies tailored to whatever they have," she told The Huffington Post. She shared that using the microscope was routine in their household (her husband happens to be a blood microscopist), and they use it to check the white blood cells of her mom, who's battling cancer.
Looking at the video moved her family. "We all instantly gasped at how beautiful it was!" she said. The new mom shared it first with her breastfeeding support groups. The next thing she knew, it was all over Facebook. To date, Jansen's video has been shared close to 12,500 times.
Jansen could be referring to leukocytes when she remarked it was alive" (although it is not clear if they are indeed the moving little bubbles shown in the video). According to the American Pregnancy Association, "Leukocytes are living cells that are only found in breast milk. They help fight infection. It is the antibodies, living cells, enzymes, and hormones that make breast milk ideal. These cannot be added to the formula." These natural antibodies are just one of the compelling reasons not to give up on breastfeeding easily.
Jansen herself had dealt with sore, cracked nipples, exhaustion, and the emotional toll of having to be available to her baby as her source of nourishment round the clock. She also had breast milk supply issues, which pushed her to supplement with formula for a while, until her breast milk supply stabilized with help from lactation consultants, herbs, and a lot of persistence. The most recent challenge for Jansen and Arrow was colic. "So many people told me to just give up and switch to formula and her colic would go away. This just wasn’t an option for me," she told Baby Center Blog.
She wants the video to be an inspiration to moms who are struggling to overcome the challenges of breastfeeding. "I know if I was on the fence, seeing the beauty of this video would definitely act as motivation to give my child this amazing ever-changing food source," Jansen said.
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Follow Jansen Howard, who is also an artist, on Instagram.