Breastmilk – it’s how nature intended babies be fed. Apart from the nourishment and nurturing, though, the amazing properties that make breastmilk such a healthy food choice also make it an incredible medicine.
While some uses of breastmilk have only anecdotal evidence, many others have actually been researched and are supported with studies as to their effectiveness. In fact, donor milk is sometimes even used for treating older children and adults with certain conditions, such as cancer and other serious illnesses.
Full of antibodies, breastmilk has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties without the side effects of pharmaceuticals. According to one source, a teaspoon of breastmilk contains at least 3 million germ-killing cells.
While you may never have considered many of these, you will see from the list below just how versatile your breastmilk is. Breastmilk can be used for:
- Eyes: Whether from a viral or bacterial infection, breastmilk’s anti-infective properties have been use to effectively treat “pink eye” and clogged tear ducts. Even styes seem to respond well to some drops of breastmilk.
- Ears: Ear pain seems to be lessened with a couple of drops of breastmilk a few times per day.
- Skin: Treat diaper rash, baby acne, cradle cap, adult acne, cuts and scrapes, burns, rashes, poison ivy, insect bites and stings with expressed breastmilk. Breastmilk has even been used to get rid of warts (apply breastmilk several times per day until the wart dries and falls off).
- Cold symptoms: Stuffy nose? Try breastmilk instead of saline nasal spray or drops. Sore throat? Have a shot of breastmilk or a breastmilk gargle.
- Cancer: Amazing research has shown that in a laboratory situation, breastmilk causes cancer cells to commit suicide while not damaging the healthy surrounding cells.
With any illness, a visit or call to your healthcare provider may be warranted along with your home comfort measures.
Apart from home remedies for illnesses, breastmilk has been used for other interesting purposes:
- Contact lens solution: If you’ve forgotten your solution when traveling, or if you’re just out and about and need to clean your lenses, what could be easier than using breastmilk? Its antimicrobial properties will clean your eyewear, and the small amount you need can easily be hand expressed (no need for a pump).
- Soap making: You can find recipes online for creating a gentle cleanser with breastmilk. Soap makers say it’s an ideal ingredient since it contains essential proteins and amino acids, as well as lactic acid and vitamin A – all excellent for skin care.
- Cooking and baking: Recipes for breastmilk ice cream and cheese can be found online. Actually, in any recipe that calls for milk, breastmilk can be substituted. Though heating or freezing the breastmilk may decrease the number of anti-infective organisms, it’s still a healthy choice. Out of coffee creamer or milk for your breakfast cereal? Try breastmilk. Hungry for a smoothie? Use breastmilk as the base.
- Jewelry: A number of online companies will take your expressed breastmilk and make it into jewelry to immortalize your breastfeeding experience. Some will sell the supplies, as well, if you want to DIY.
Have you used breastmilk for anything other than nourishing your baby?
Written by Michelle, childbirth instructor, lactation consultant, and mother to 4 busy kids
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.