Liquid Gold

There is an old Italian wives tale that claims the more arugula a girl will eat, the greater her breast size will be.  This seems highly unlikely in my current rational way of thinking, but as a very impressionable young girl, daughter to Italian immigrant parents who lived upstairs from my Italian maternal grandparents and next door to my Italian aunt and uncle and cousins, this was gospel.  (and yes, we did have a kitchen in the basement apartment).

This tale of arugula was buried deep within my memory until the day I held my daughter in my arms shortly after she was born. After a few trying attempts, my daughter latched on and I thanked my lucky stars that I ate the arugula that grew in my grandfather’s garden (and yes, he grew tomatoes and basil).

I promised myself I would nurse my daughter for at least a month.  Soon, it was 3 months and I promised myself I would continue to nurse until I returned to work.  Soon it was 9 months later and I was not only nursing her, I was also pumping regularly.  The next time I gave it another thought, my daughter was approaching 12 months and I decided to stop. I was amazed at what I accomplished and even more amazed at what had amassed in my freezer – dozens and dozens of frozen breast milk bags.

Turns out what was sitting in my freezer is now considered liquid gold.  Sprouting up all over the internet and in networks across the US are milk banks where women can sell and buy breast milk!  Some places charge up to $3 per ounce of milk.  If you have a 6 month old child drinking 24 ounces a day, that’s $72 a day, $494 a week and almost $2000 a month!  Who knew my freezer was so wealthy!

However, I am not the Donald Trump of central NJ.  We used what is in our freezer well into our daughter’s 18 month.  When my son came along, we again amassed an impressive amount of milk and that too we used until it was all gone.  If you look in my freezer today, you’ll find Margherita mix, Elmo ice packs, frozen arugula…… but that is a topic for another blog for another day.


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