The Hot Drink at Burning Man? Breast Milk Lattes!
Would you drink a fancy coffee drink with someone else's breast milk as an ingredient? That's what some Burning Man attendees did.
Just when you thought the annual Burning Man arts and music festival in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada couldn't get any wilder, comes news that people (willingly) drank breast milk lattes served up by a lactating attendee named Miki Agrawal, the woman behind "Thinx" period panties.
Agrawal posted images of herself pumping breast milk for the unique beverages to Instagram. P.S. she was wearing only a nursing bra, panties, platform sneakers and a beekeeper-looking hat in the images. But hey, she looked kinda cool, so whatever.
She told Parents there was a completely practical reason why she did it. "Quite simply, I needed to pump my breasts and didn't want to go in the tiny airplane bathroom or find a corner at Burning Man to pump and then realized that there was inherent stigma in breast pumping and even breastfeeding in 'public' (humans do eat in public don't they so why can't babies?) so I decided to make this my 'art installation' at Burning Man and my gift to the Playa was my breast milk. (Why waste liquid gold?)"
The enterprising mom told The Washington Post that after she gifted a bag of her milk to a coffee camp, they put it on the menu. "They had regular, soy and breast milk as the options." Um, I'll take two breast milk lattes please! But seriously, she estimates about 30 to 40 people tasted her breast milk during the festival, in which the custom is to provide a gift to the attendees.
She added in her social post that "so many were excited and curious to try it." Agrawal also said she drank some of her own breast milk when she ran out of water, and that "it tastes like sweet coconut milk!"
The mama also shared, "So many people told me that they had no idea that I had to keep pumping every three hours because they didn't know that breasts would become engorged and super painful if they were not pumped - nature's way of keeping mama and baby working together :-) It made me realize that most people (including me before I had Hiro) know very little about motherhood and birth and post birth and that this needs to be mandatory learning for all humans." She added, "Every human has been birthed and raised somehow and yet even the smartest people have no idea what this process looks like. Nobody learns how to become a parent, let alone a good one. Time to change this! Great parenting can change the world! More conversations about this soon!"
Many commenters were complimentary of Agrawal's post, adding encouraging remarks like, "go mama!"
While I definitely applaud this mom for raising awareness about breastfeeding and motherhood, I'm not sure I would personally try someone else's breast milk, but maybe that's just me. I guess I'd be thinking about potential health concerns, and the gross-out factor. Besides, it's unlikely that a sip or two would provide any real health benefits to an adult. But Agrawal explained why she thought people shouldn't be grossed out about it.
"One of my girlfriends said it best in response to some people commenting about the 'health hazards of drinking breast milk': 'It's so funny to me how people have no problem (through indoctrination and marketing) drinking milk from a cow breast that has been obtained in an inhumane, filthy manner with rampant udder infections, drugs, steroids and fecal matter, yet, balk over drinking human milk fro m a clean, healthy source... indoctrination is powerful!'"
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It seems for Agrawal, serving her breast milk wasn't about boosting other attendees' immune systems, but shedding taboos around breastfeeding and educating others, so again, bravo!