Breast milk has several nutritional benefits for the baby as well as health benefits for the mother. Some of the benefits for the baby include resistance to flu and colds, reduction in middle ear infections, reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome, heightened intelligence, and decreased risk of developing leukaemia, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and eczema. In the mother, breastfeeding minimises the post-delivery bleeding and also reduces the risk of breast cancer and diabetes.
Breast milk is often referred to as ‘liquid gold’ for its nutritional benefits. However, breast milk can also be used as a home remedy for various conditions like acne, diaper rash, minor cuts and scrapes, insect bites, and even cogged tear ducts.
Other Incredible Uses of Breast Milk Apart from Breastfeeding
Breast milk can be used as a home remedy for various conditions including sunburns, and ear and eye infections It also has cosmetic uses. Here are some incredible uses of breast milk for purposes other than breastfeeding:
1. How to Use Breast Milk For Diaper Rash
If your baby has a diaper rash and no other remedy is helping, take some breast milk and apply over the affected area. This will help the baby’s skin heal faster from the diaper rash. The breast milk can be used as lotion on the baby’s skin to protect it even if the baby does not have a diaper rash. Breast milk contains antibodies from the mother, which can fight off the bacteria that cause the diaper rash.
2. For Acne
One of the uses of breast milk for skin conditions is to treat acne. Applying breast milk over the acne-affected area reduces the acne according to many women who have tried this. However, although there are recorded individual experiments on this, there are no scientific studies to prove this. Breast milk can also be used to clear up baby acne. Babies’ bodies still contain some of the mother’s hormones which may cause acne breakouts. Dabbing a cotton ball soaked in breast milk over the affected area will help in clearing up the baby acne without the use of any harmful medication.
3. To Treat Insect Bites
Breast milk contains anti-inflammatory chemicals that help regulate the body’s immune response. Hence, it can be used as a remedy for insect bites from ants, mosquitoes, etc. Apply on the insect bite and allow it to dry to bring quick relief from the itching. Keep in mind that cow’s milk will not work for this in the same way because it has a different composition from breast milk and might actually worsen the situation.
4. For Clogged Tear Ducts
Babies eyes may sometimes get affected by clogged tear ducts. Symptoms include excessive tearing, crusting, painful swelling in the inner eye corner, blurred vision, and pus discharge from the eyelids. This condition can be painful for babies. Usually, doctors prescribe antibiotics for this condition or recommend a minor surgical procedure that involves probing the tear ducts with wires. Instead of such invasive procedures, breast milk can be used as a home remedy. Apply 2 drops of breast milk to the eye after cleaning the eye area with water. This will help the tear duct get unclogged in 1 to 2 days. If it still does not clear up, consult a doctor.
5. As a Soap
One of the cosmetic uses of breast milk is to use it as soap. Breast milk works wonders on skin. It makes the skin soft, soothes rashes, is gentle on acne, and helps reduce excess oil in the skin. Some stores sell soap made from human breast milk. Else, you can even make it at home.
6. How to Use Breast Milk for Ear Infection
Breast milk can be used as a home remedy for ear infections. Breast milk contains high levels of Immunoglobulin-A antibodies which protect the babies from infection. Adding a few drops of breast milk into the affected ear every few hours will help clear the infection quickly. Make sure you consult a doctor before you do this.
7. Healing Sore Nipples
Breastfeeding can leave new mothers with sore, cracked and even bleeding nipples. Expressing some breast milk and spreading it on the affected area can help soothe the soreness and heal the cracked nipples. However, if yeast or fungal infection is the cause of the soreness, please consult a doctor as using breast milk can worsen the situation. This is because yeast and other fungi thrive on breast milk.
8. How to Use Breast Milk for Pink Eye
Breast milk can be used to treat eye infections like conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. Use an eye-dropper to put 2 drops of breast milk in the affected eye to help clear up the infection without the use of antibiotics. The antibodies in the breast milk can fight off the viruses or bacteria in the eye that is causing the infection and help your baby heal without the use of external medication.
9. For Teething Babies
Breast milk can be expressed and frozen on ice cream sticks to make ice-lollies. These ice-lollies can help soothe babies who are in pain from teething. Babies will find the familiar taste of the breast milk comforting and the ice-lolly will help numb the pain. This is an easy home remedy for babies who are irritable and cranky because of teething pains.
10. To Make Non-allergenic Dairy Products
Breast milk can be used to make all-natural, safe, and non-allergenic dairy products such as yoghurt, cheese and butter that you can give your baby. You will need to express at least 6 cups of breast milk to be able to make these dairy products at home. Cheese is a little difficult to make as the protein content in breast milk is lower than the protein content in animal milk. For making butter, all you need to do is put the breast milk into a blender and run it until the fat separates out. Yoghurt made with breast milk can be given to infants for soothing colic. Yoghurt made from breast milk contains probiotic bacteria that colonize the gut and relieve colic.
Besides these uses, breast milk has several other applications. Drinking breast milk has been found to relieve stomach pain. This is because breast milk contains a probiotic, lactobacillus, that soothes the stomach and relieves painful gut-contractions. Apart from health benefits and uses as a home remedy, breast milk has other uses, too. Breast milk has also been used to make jewellery. The milk protein in breast milk called casein elongates when heated and makes the milk into a mouldable substance like plastic. This substance has mother-of-pearl like an appearance and can be set into jewellery. Breast milk can be used as a make-up remover. Lauric acid present in breast milk helps to dissolve the make-up while the other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals in the milk help keep your skin nourished and supple.
It is important to consult your doctor before using breast milk as a home remedy for infections that affect your baby.