The “live” breastmilk hoax


The lactivist blogosphere is buzzing with news of micro photographs and videos that purported demonstrate that breastmilk is alive.

They were originally posted by Jansen Howard on her Facebook page.


[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Under the microscope breastmilk looks just like salad dressing.[/pullquote]

You guys… this is SO COOL!!!!!!!! this is the living liquid gold we call breast milk in motion!!!! My dad is a blood microscopist and this is a single drop off my breast milk under his microscope!!!! It’s miraculous and it’s ALIVE tailored to my babies needs at this moment!!!!

What’s blood microscopy also known as live blood analysis? It’s quackery. Even alternative health guru Dr. Andrew Weil acknowledges that:

… This procedure is used by practitioners who claim that a darkfield analysis of a blood sample reveals much about a person’s health. Usually, the magnified blood cells are projected onto a large screen, so that patients can watch as practitioners point out “abnormalities.” Most of the abnormalities are artifacts of the technique of darkfield microscopy, but LBA proponents claim they represent early indications of cancer and other serious diseases…

None of this is actually possible by LBA…

But that’s not what makes the breastmilk images a hoax. This is:


The images look very similar to the breastmilk image above, but they’re not breastmilk; they’re salad dressing.

Why do they look so similar? Because in both cases we are looking at fat globules in an emulsion. Breastmilk, like salad dressing, is an emulsion.

According to Wikipedia:

An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally immiscible (unmixable or unblendable)… In an emulsion, one liquid (the dispersed phase) is dispersed in the other (the continuous phase). Examples of emulsions include vinaigrettes, homogenized milk, mayonnaise …

Breastmilk, like all milk, is an emulsion of fat and casein in water as depicted below.


It is true that breastmilk is a living fluid in that it contains immune cells, but Howard’s microscopic images of breastmilk don’t show that. They merely show that breastmilk looks a lot like salad dressing under the microscope … and salad dressing is not alive.