Breast milk is the perfect source of nutrition for your child. It helps babies maintain a healthy weight, improve their brain development and thanks to an ideal mix of antibodies, boost their immune system and help them fight off diseases and infections.
But did you know that this liquid gold has benefits beyond nourishing your baby? Milliam Murigi explores some unexpected ways to use it
Treating eye and 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/eye every few hours will help clear the infection quickly. Consult a doctor if the problem persists.
Scientists have discovered that lauric acid, a component of breast milk, has antibacterial, acne-fighting qualities. Dabbing breast milk on your face, then letting it air dry, may help clear up acne. You can also wash your face with breast milk to prevent future breakouts. If you want to try it, first wash your face with clear water, wash again with breast milk and let it air dry, and wipe it away with a clean towel.
From cuts to minor burns and even small wounds, breast milk can be used to heal any form of a wound. It has this ability because it’s sterile, antiseptic, antibacterial, and has healing properties. Breast milk contains the most living white blood cells to help fight bacteria. Apart from healing, it also prevents the wounds from becoming infected.
However surprising this is, there is a compound in breast milk that actually destroys common warts on the skin, causing them to fall off. All you need to do is placing a milk-soaked cotton ball on the wart for a few minutes twice a day until the wart dries up and falls off.
Treating sore nipples
Chapped and sore nipples are a common problem in the early days of breastfeeding. Though there are various creams and prescription ointments on the market to treat this, you can try breast milk instead. Because of the antibiotics properties found in the breast milk, you only need to express a bit of milk onto the nipple at the end of a feed and then let it air-dry there.
Treating diaper rash
If your child is suffering from diaper rash, instead of applying diaper rush creams, you can apply breastmilk. Just apply breast milk three times a day on the affected area and let it air dry before putting a diaper back on. There are a number of studies that have found human milk as an effective treatment for diaper rash. One study found that breast milk was just as effective in treating diaper rash as hydrocortisone one per cent ointment alone and reiterated that “human breast milk is an effective and safe treatment for diaper dermatitis in infants.”
Clearing stuffy Nose
Babies suffer from congestion from time to time. Usually, parents squirt a bit of saline solution into baby’s nose to decongest the nostrils, but instead of saline, try a bit of breast milk instead. It works just as well as saline to break up mucus, so it’s commonly recommended by paediatricians. Unlike salty saline, babies also recognise the taste of breastmilk, so they aren’t as disturbed when they swallow some of it in the process.
Boosting immune system
Breast milk is believed to serve as an immune booster and those who are sick are advised to drink breast milk. It is also believed that breast milk shortens the length and severity of a cold. Breast milk can help cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, and people with infectious diseases to strengthen their immune system.
Treating insect bites
Because of its anti-inflammatory chemicals that help regulate the body’s immune response, breast milk can be used as a remedy for insect bites such as ants, mosquitoes, among others. Apply on the insect bite and allow it to dry to bring quick relief from the itching.
To make non-allergenic milk products
Breast milk can be used to make all-natural, safe, and non-allergenic milk products such as yoghurt, cheese and butter that you can give your baby. You will need to express at least six cups of breast milk to be able to make these 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.