The Tree of Life Meets Sick Baby

I just love this new app filter fad going around. I’m not one for fads and I’m not one for bandwagons, but I just love this going crazy in the breastfeeding world. I did a few versions of my nursling, and I don’t typically take breastfeeding selfies, but now I’m really losing my inhibitions. Which is what it’s meant to do – help normalize breastfeeding.


I read an interview with the creator of the filter. This mom wanted something to represent how special breastfeeding and breast milk is. in the pictures, the roots lie superimposed over the breast representing the milk ducts inside that flows out into the tree that is superimposed over the baby’s face, indicating the nourishment and life that he is receiving from his mother.

It is so fitting. Breast milk is a living tissue that is constantly changing to meet the needs of the baby. It changes throughout the day, as well as over time. Newborn milk is different than toddler milk, and well baby milk is different than sick baby milk. Eachmother makes a unique recipe for that baby. My milk is different than my friend’s milk. Each baby will require different nutrients and so each sibling’s milk will be different than the others. Mom will make milk with specific antibodies, probiotics, and other fun stuff unique to each of her babies. If a baby gets sick, mom makes milk with the specific antibodies to fight off the illness, helping baby get well faster. Breast milk is not considered a foreign substance in the gut of the baby, and it is a complete food, digested almost completely.

Under a microscope, it is alive and moving. It is also gold in color, which is part of what earns the nickname liquid gold. It is life that the mother makes from her breast to feed to her baby, a recipe tailored to meet the unique needs of that baby, nourishing that baby completely. The Tree of Life app is so fitting.

I feel sorry for the moms who have attempted to co-op the app and use it to try and say the same thing for formula. It’s just not the same. Formula is a dead artificial human milk substitute. There is no life there. Now, formula feeding sustains millions of babies each year. So I’m not going to knock any formula moms or how they feed their babies. But it’s not the same as breastfeeding and it never will be. And there’s nothing wrong with being proud of breastfeeding, there’s nothing wrong with having a “thing” that is for you and your tribe. You know, there are lots of types of mom that I am not. And those moms unite under their common bond. Vaccinations, for example, is a good one that is really polarizing. Non-vax moms unite under that banner of not vaccinating their kids. And you know what, if they want to make an app or a coffee cup or a whatever to represent their choice that they’re proud of, great! It’s great to feel good about the decisions you make as a mother without having to get all butt hurt when someone does it differently. Guess what – I vaccinate my kid. I’m not going to try and steal any non-vaxxing mom’s thunder if she goes and does something special for them and that community.

Going back to breastfeeding and how special it is, I happen to have a sick kid on my hands. My sweet 19 month old baby doll has had runny nose, congestion, throwing up, low grade fever, and general ick. I am SO grateful to still be breastfeeding her because I know that I am making all the antibodies she needs to help her get well faster. The nutrients she could be lacking from being sick are being made in my milk as I type this and will be available for her at the next nursing session. My milk is better for her and more hydrating than Pedialyte, better for her system than any artificial medicine. Because of the anti-inflammatory properties, it prevents swelling of her sinuses and helps fight her headaches. It also comforts her and provides her with the needed cuddles and extra closeness that comes when you’re sick.

Breastfeeding is such a complete package, it’s not just filling up your child’s stomach for digestion. The giving of life is so special, and is so beautifully represented by this new photo filter. I’m so excited to see how breastfeeding is becoming normal. And giving moms a way to represent just how proud they are of being able to give this to our children.


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