These new mums are making soap out of their breast milk

Last updated 05:00 08/10/2017
Matthew Cattin / Stuff

Two first time mums have started their own business making soaps, and some of the ingredients might surprise you.

Jemma Lee has been making her own soaps for four years.
Freya Flockton hates seeing her breast milk go to waste.
Jemma Lee uses her own breast milk as an ingredient in soap.
Farm Folly's soap ingredients are mostly sourced from Jemma Lee's Kaukapakapa farm.
Freya Flockton and Jemma Lee making soap at home.
Freya Flockton prepares to deal with the acidic lye.
Farm Folly Founders Freya Flockton, left, and Jemma Lee.

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Some folks won't have a bar of it, but breast milk soap is proving more sud than dud with curious customers.

The unconventional concoction is the latest experiment of good friends Jemma Lee and Freya Flockton, who run the organic skincare business Farm Folly.

The products, including bar soaps and moisturisers, are made at Lee's Kaukapakapa farm, with many ingredients sourced at the property.

The DIY project is a creative outlet for the first-time mums, who say the process is a combination of science and baking.

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Having trialled ingredients like coconut cream and goat's milk, soap maker Lee decided excess cold-processed breast milk could make an ideal substitute.

"I was being milked myself, and I thought, well, it can't be too different, so I started experimenting," she said.

The high sugar content curdled the first batch, but after trial and error, the mums reckon they've now got the method down to an art.

"It's the ultimate skin moisturiser and healer - the crème de la crème of soap," Flockton said.

Isis McKay of Women's Health Action says breast milk is renowned for its antibacterial properties, and there's a growing body of research surrounding the use of breast milk to treat skin conditions.

A "non-scientific but certainly relevant" example includes Kim Kardashian using it to treat acne, McKay said, and "if it's good enough for celebrities like Kim Kardashian, it should be good enough for us".

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The mums say breastfeeding can be a difficult skill to master, and admit it's tough to see their excess "liquid gold" go to waste.

"Only mums can really understand this, but it's such a labour of love, and it's so nice to be able to use your milk beyond feeding," Flockton said.

The soap has people "really intrigued", and aside from the occasional shopper who "finds it very weird", the mums are yet to have any negative feedback.

"Before I became a mum the idea would have seemed pretty strange, but now it's become the most natural and normal thing," Flockton said.

They plan to continue making soap using other's milk when they stop producing themselves, and are already making batches using friends' milk. 

Lee has been making her own skin products for years, and won't use anything on her skin that isn't edible.

This philosophy has seen the pair make use of many ingredients growing on the farm, including manuka, kanuka, lavender and honey.

- Sunday Star Times


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