You are probably relatively familiar with the benefits that breast milk offers your baby as far as nutritional value; however, you may not have realized that you can use your excess milk to treat a number of different ailments from blocked tear ducts to ear infections and even diaper rash. If you have ever heard breast milk called “liquid gold,” it’s for good reason because this stuff literally does it all. Learn a few of the additional benefits of this medicinal superpower and some of the surprising ways you can use it.
Can Breast Milk Really Heal?
Breast milk is much more than food alone. This natural liquid is a complex living substance that can actually be likened to blood. Human milk possesses a variety of germ-fighting and health-promoting ingredients. These benefits not only protect babies from infection, but they can also help treat a number of different concerns.
A single drop of breast milk possesses nearly one million white blood cells that function to consume and eliminate germs. Additionally, human milk is packed with immunoglobulin A, which typically serves to coat the lining of babies’ intestines but can also create a protective barrier on the skin. breast milk is also chock full of antibodies that support immune health and fight infection.
What Can Human Milk Treat?
With all of these beneficial properties, breast milk can be used to treat a variety of different ailments – for baby and for the rest of the family. These are some of the ways that breast milk can be used.
- Clear Clogged Tear Ducts – It’s very common for your newborn to get weepy, crusty eyes. For most babies the cause is a blockage in the tear duct. While most doctors will prescribe antibiotic ointment or even a minor surgical procedure, placing hot compresses on the eye and applying breast milk to the affected duct has also been found to help clear the blockage.
- Treat Ear Infections – Ear infections are most common in children between the ages of six and 18 months. Breast milk is an easy solution that delivers a powerful shot of antibodies right to the site of the issue. Three to four drops of milk right into the ear is typically enough to treat the issue. The drops should be placed at the entrance of the ear canal, not directly into it.
- Remedy Eye Infections – Human milk is also effective at treating infections of the eye – viral, bacterial and allergic. Breast milk fits the probiotic-laden, non-acidic liquid profile necessary to treat issues, such conjunctivitis or pink eye. A couple of drops placed into the eye is typically enough to start relieving the issue and fighting infection.
- Relieve Sore Throat – The antibodies as well as the coating properties of human milk have been found to provide babies, children and adults alike with relief from sore throat symptoms. To treat it, simply give the affected individual a few spoonfuls of the liquid to take by mouth.
- Treat Skin Issues – Breast milk has also been found as a cost-effective facial cleanser and remedy to a number of different skin ailments. The lauric acid found in human milk can help treat acne and relieve other inflammatory skin conditions. To use breast milk as a solution for acne and other conditions, simply apply the milk to the affected area and let it air dry. Many individuals report seeing a noticeable difference in just one treatment. breast milk can also be used as a simple facial cleanser by covering the face in milk and wiping it clean with a fresh towel.
- Remedy Yeast Infections – Some baby’s develop a more complex diaper rash that involves a yeast infection. Human milk contains the components needed to kill off the unhealthy bacteria that causes yeast diaper rashes. Again with this remedy, you can simply apply the milk to the affected area, let it air dry, and then diaper as usual.
- Treat Cradle Cap – Cradle cap is often an issue with the overgrowth of yeast in baby’s skin. While your doctor will likely tell you there is little you can do to remedy the issue, many mamas have found that breast milk applied to the baby’s scalp helps diminish the issue.
- Treat Cuts and Scrapes – It is easy for cuts and scrapes to become infected, especially for little ones who are crawling around and exploring their world. Human milk can also treat this issue. This milk contains natural antiseptic properties, so it can be effectively used to not only soothe cuts and scrapes but also to prevent infection.
- Relieve Insect Bites and Stings – As difficult as it is to see your child suffer with an insect bite or sting, it can be even harder to find an effective remedy that you can trust. Thankfully, you can just use breast milk on this one too. The antiseptic and antibacterial properties of breast milk help reduce itching and promote healing of bites and stings.
- Heal Sore Nipples – Research indicates that breast milk is also effective for treating sore, cracked nipples as well as a number of other dry, irritated skin ailments. In fact, breast milk may even promote faster healing than the commonly prescribed lanolin.
While these are just a few of the many uses for breast milk, it’s pretty obvious what a wonder worker this natural substance is. Whether you typically pump or not, expressing a little extra milk and saving it once in awhile may come in handy for more than just a late night feeding for your precious little one. Ameda offers a wide selection of insurance-approved breast pumps and accessories that are designed with you and your baby in mind. Keep your baby feeling healthy and full with an insurance-provided Ameda breast pump today.