Breast Milk Bath for Babies
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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, breast milk bath is very beneficial for babies. To learn more about the benefits of breast milk baths for babies, we have covered the information in the article below. We have also mentioned how to use it for bathing your baby.
Video : Milk Baths for Baby: What It Is, Benefits, and How-To Do It
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. 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.
4. Heal Small Wounds
Breastmilk contains omega fatty acids that can heal minor wounds and provide relief. The fatty acids achieve it by intervening in the wound repair function of the baby’s skin.
5. Protects Skin Against Pathogens
Breastmilk is a rich source of antibodies and has strong anti-infective properties. These antibodies help prevent pathogenic invasion of minor cuts and bruises on the baby’s body.
6. Prevents Pump and Dump (for Mothers)
Breastfeeding mothers who express breastmilk during breast engorgement need not dispose of the excess milk. Instead, the surplus breastmilk can be used to bathe their baby, preventing the wastage of milk.
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.
1. Can You Freeze Breast Milk for a Breast Milk Bath?
Yes, you can use frozen breastmilk for your baby’s breastmilk bath. But, It must be thawed completely, and the final milk temperature should be checked before bathing the baby.
2. Can You Add Other Ingredients to a Breast Milk Bath, Such As Oatmeal or Essential Oils?
Yes, you can add other ingredients, like oatmeal, essential oils, bath salts, or honey to the breastmilk for a baby’s bath. Ensure you use age-appropriate ingredients after discussing them with your healthcare provider.
3. How Can You Store Leftover Breast Milk After a Bath?
Breastmilk used for bathing the baby should be discarded immediately after bathing him or her. Leftover and unused breast milk in the container may be stored in the fridge for a few days or freezer for a longer duration. Remember to use it only for bathing the baby and do not feed it to them.
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.
1. Pumping and storing breastmilk; womenshealth.gov; https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/pumping-and-storing-breastmilk
2. The Benefits of Mother’s Own Milk; stanfordchildrens.org/; https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=the-benefits-of-mothers-own-milk-90-P02339
3. 12 Things You Can Do With Leftover Breast Milk; milkology.org; https://milkology.org/content/what-to-do-with-leftover-breast-milk
4. Proper Storage and Preparation of Breast Milk; cdc.gov; https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/handling_breastmilk.htm
5. Breastfeeding Awareness Month; cfctb.org; https://cfctb.org/news/unique-ways-to-use-breast-milk/