Breastmilk has been touted as the wonder drink. We’ve all heard how good it is for babies, and we all know that babies who have been breastfed are said to be healthier, less obese as children, and less fussy eaters than formula fed babies. We also know that breastfeeding is good for mothers. It reduces the risk of breast cancer, helps with wait loss and can help prevent post partum depression.
Even so, I am often surprised by the things that people don’t know about breastmilk. Here are a few of my favourites:
Breastmilk removes cradle cap / eczema
My daughter was born with a beautiful head of dark, almost black, hair. Within two weeks she had developed dreadful cradle cap â€“ the thick dandruff looking layer of skin that caused a lot of her beautiful hair to fall out.
I tried every ‘natural’ remedy recommended to me, including olive oil, lavender oil, a shampoo specifically for cradle cap as well as just washing her hair with water. When nothing seemed to work I began gently rubbing breast milk in to her scalp, softly enough to not dislodge any of the skin, and within two days the cradle cap cleared up and has never returned.
I have done the same with small spots of eczema, using breast milk rather than other products and it has made a visible and remarkable difference overnight.
Breast milk heals sore and cracked nipples
In the beginning of breastfeeding many mothers complain about their nipples cracking and hurting and in some cases even bleeding. A fantastic way of healing these nipples quickly and cheaply is by genlty rubbing a few drops of milk on and around the nipple area after each feed and allowing the nipples to air dry.
The immunoglobulin A in the milk stimulates healing, causing the skin to regenerate and heal faster.
Breastmilk cures ear infections as well as pink eyes/styes/eye infections
This is sadly a little known fact with painful and unfortunate results. Countless babies have developed ear infections, (often as a result of teething) and have been given antibiotics. No sooner is the first course finished than they have another infection and with it another course of antibiotics. Before they’re a year old their immune systems have been utterly destroyed by antibiotics after antibiotics and the ear infections continue to plague them.
Soon they are taken in to hospital for an operation which puts a little tube in the ear.
All this can be avoided by dropping a few drops of breast milk in their ears. Breast milk is a body fluid and as a result it is able to be reabsorbed by the body. As a result the immunoglobulin A in the breastmilk attacks the infection and removes it fast and since it is removed, it doesn’t require operations.
I have seen time and again how babies have ended up with operations, and when my own daughter developed an ear infection, breast milk saw her happy again by morning. I am certainly not a doctor, but I think it’s worth trying before reaching for the antibiotics.
Breast milk clears up congestion
Breast milk also contains an ingredient called phagocytic cells. It acts almost like an acid, eating through congestion and clearing the nostrils, nasal passage and sinuses.
With my daughter I express about a teaspoon of milk and suck it up in a syringe. It can be quite tough to get her to lie still, but I try to drop the milk directly in to her nose. As you can imagine it’s not a very pleasant feeling, but it is more pleasant than saline solution which does the same thing, but has salt water running down the back of their throats. It’s also much more pleasant than having all that gunk suctioned out.
A few drops of breast milk on the nostril until that’s clear, then a few more inside the nostril and your little one will be breathing freely in no time again.
Breast milk heals cuts and scrapes
Because breast milk is so rich in vitamins, minerals, hormones and protective agents it works better than any oil or cream to help in the reduction of scars. Although I swear by Vitamin C serum and Vitamin E oil for some of my worst scars (I’m quite accident prone!), I’ve discovered the magic of breast milk on my daughter’s skin.
As an eight month old constantly trying to walk she falls down often and is full of knocks and scrapes. A few drops of breast milk and scars are generally gone within a day.
Have you ever used breast milk for anything other than feeding your baby? Share your tips and secrets here!