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Breast milk deserves the epithet of ‘liquid gold’. It’s capable of nourishing your baby both from inside and outside. Breast milk contains 3 to 5% fat, 0.8 to 0.9% proteins, 6.8 to 7.2% carbohydrates and 0.2% vitamins and minerals. The fat content of breast milk includes fats that are primary ingredients of cosmetics like skin moisturizers, and these fats are highly beneficial for skin and hair. Therefore, a breast milk bath is very beneficial for babies.
What Is a Breast Milk Bath?
Benefits of a Breast Milk Bath
Here are some benefits of a breast milk bath for infants:
1. Heals Acne and Spots
Breast milk contains lauric acid which is a fatty acid also found in coconut oil. It has antibacterial properties and can fight acne. It also helps in diminishing spots and discolouration on the skin. Some babies have acne breakouts because of the presence of their mother’s hormones in their blood. This can be healed by giving the baby a breast milk bath at least twice a week.
2. Moisturises Dry Skin and Reduces Itching
Breast milk contains palmitic acid, a saturated fatty acid, that is an excellent moisturiser. It also contains an omega fatty acid called oleic acid that is found in human tissue. Oleic acid moisturises and heals dry skin, and fights ageing.
Another constituent of breast milk is vaccenic acid, which protects and nourishes the skin. Linoleic acid is another constituent of breast milk that moisturises, lightens spots and minimises inflammation. Thus, a breast milk bath can heal dry skin and reduce itching in babies. Applying a few drops of breast milk can also heal dry, cracked and sore nipples in the mother.
3. Heals Minor Burns and Insect Bites
Breast milk contains Immunoglobulin-A antibodies that fight harmful bacteria and cure infections. Hence, a breast milk bath can heal minor burns, cuts, and scrapes. It can also soothe the pain and irritation of insect bites.
4. Soothes Nappy Rash and Skin Irritation
The antibodies in breast milk can destroy soothe a diaper rash. Give your baby a breast milk bath once or twice a week to soothe the inflamed skin.
How Much Breast Milk Should You Use?
For the breast milk bath to be effective, the water should look milky, but you should be able to make out an outline of the baby’s body below the water surface. For this, it would be ideal to use anything between 180 to 300 ml of breast milk.
How To Bathe Your Baby With Breast Milk
A breast milk bath recipe requires warm water, 180 to 300 ml of breast milk and a baby bathtub. You can use freshly pumped breast milk or thawed breast milk. Run warm water into the tub, pour the breast milk and mix until the bathwater looks milky. Place your baby in the tub and let her soak her neck, face, and limbs. Gently pat dry and use coconut oil to lock the moisture in.
Tip: You can even add oatmeal to the water to enhance its efficiency!
Can Expired Breast Milk Be Used?
Sometimes, moms pump excess breast milk and freeze it. However, some milk packets may cross the expiry date. As long as the milk doesn’t smell bad or taste sour, you can bathe your baby with it. Avoid using breast milk that has become mouldy or smells rancid. For itchy skin, mixing breast milk with oatmeal can do wonders.
Moms who suffer from engorgement of the breasts can express the milk and use it for a breast milk bath later.
Should a Breast Milk Bath Be Given Daily?
Bathing with breast milk every day isn’t necessary. A weekly or fortnightly bath should be sufficient. If your baby has an extreme case of diaper rash or eczema, give a breast milk bath twice a week. You can reduce the frequency depending on your baby’s recovery.
A breast milk bath can treat various skin ailments that affect infants and toddlers. The nutrients in the breast milk nourish babies’ skin and keep it hydrated, soft and supple.
Also Read: Baby Sponge Bath