By Hannah Schenker
By now you are pretty au fait with the untold wonders of breast milk, and you are out there working hard to breastfeed your baby, feeling great about this amazing start you are giving them. But did you know there are other possible uses for this wondrous liquid gold? Breast milk contains antibodies that fight off disease and infections – and can be used externally as well as internally for the health of your babe (and anyone else who’s game to try). Best of all – it’s free and available wherever you are! Boobs, glorious boobs…
Here are five alternative uses for breast milk:
- Treating eye infections:
It’s not uncommon for newborn babes to get a bit crusty in the eyes as their tear ducts get blocked and infected. Before you hit up the Doc for treatment (which is likely to involve antibiotic ointment), squirt some breastmilk in their eyes – just a few drops – and see if some magic happens. If in doubt, and/or if it doesn’t clear up, see your Doc.
- Treating ear infections:
Baby got sore ears? It depends whether the infection is in the inner ear – if so, the milk will not come into contact with it. If the pain and inflammation is in the outer ear (more like swimmer’s ear) – give it 3-4 drops near the entrance to the ear (not deep inside). The breast milk may combat any bacteria there. Best consult your Doc first so you know what you’re dealing with.
- Soothing troubled skin:
Babies’ skin can breakout, get irritated and inflamed with acne, bites, sunburn, scratches, nappy rash and eczema. To decrease the inflammation and soothe itchy and sore skin, put some breast milk on it! You can try it on yourself too – it should calm and disinfect the area so that it heals more quickly. However, if you’re dealing with a fungal infection, breast milk isn’t going to help – it will make it worse as the bacteria feed on the sugars in the milk.
- Sore throat soother:
Consuming or gargling with some breast milk should soothe a sore throat – if anyone is game to try it other than your child!
- Healing sore nipples:
Breastfeeding can be painful for some, especially in the beginning, leaving you with raw, cracked nipples and in a lot of pain. La Leche League reports that expressing a small amount of breast milk onto your nipples is actually among the top cures. However, if the pain is caused by a fungal infection (thrush) it will thrive on the breast milk, so get that sussed before you try this.
Have you discovered any other handy uses for the healing powers of breast milk? Leave a comment below and share what you’ve learned!