You may just think of breastmilk as food for your baby. Well, it is the most nutritious and convenient way to feed babies and designed specifically for their needs, but did you know there are actually other uses for your breastmilk that can benefit both you and baby?
Breastmilk is liquid gold and has some uses you probably didn’t realise. I’m not talking a cure for cancer or anything but it certainly has some great medicinal qualities. Breastmilk actually has immunological agents and antibacterial properties that can help mend some common ailments and speed up babies’ recovery from illness.
- Conjunctivitis and pink eye
Your nan will probably tell you about this one. If your little bub has woken up with a gunky eye, a long used home remedy has been to put a little breastmilk on their eye and it will clear it up quick smart. Same goes for you or your other children. Obviously if their eye isn’t clearing, see a doctor for advice.
- Cradle cap
Another great long-used remedy that mums have used for hundreds of years, if not longer! Cradle cap is a yucky and super common condition that affects newborns and infants. It causes flaky skin and often crusty yellow gunk all over a baby’s head and forehead. Breastmilk has wonderful antiseptic and healing qualities that help nourish bub’s skin and drive that cradle cap away.
- Eczema and skin conditions
Babies are prone to skin conditions like dry skin, eczema and particularly baby acne. Rubbing a little breastmilk on the affected area can help soothe and heal the skin. It’s also great on adult acne if you have a post-baby breakout.
- Nappy rash
Using creams and ointments long term on a baby’s nappy rash can thin their skin and doesn’t always work. If you notice your baby starting to develop some redness or nappy rash treat it with a little breastmilk regularly by rubbing it on the affected area after a nappy change and let it dry. Try this for a few days before turning to chemical creams.
- Healing sore or cracked nipples
Start this one as soon as you start producing milk. Breastfeeding, especially in the early weeks, can be painful as you try to establish a proper latch and are feeding frequently. This often leads to sore, dry and sometimes cracking and bleeding nipples. After every feed, hand express (squeeze out) a little left over milk, rub it over your nipples and let it air dry. You’ll be so grateful you did!
- Cuts and scrapes
Breastmilk can also be used topically to aid in the healing process of cuts and scrapes as a natural alternative to antibiotic antiseptic agents. Apply frequently for a few days and you might be surprised at how fast your scrape is healing.
- Breastmilk Icey poles
There is nothing worse than when your little baby gets sick and you feel there is nothing you can do to help especially when they are refusing to feed and are miserable! Freezing breastmilk to make breastmilk icey poles can be a great way to get milk into a baby while helping keep their fluids up and making that fever feel a little better.
- Homemade soaps and lotions
Maybe you’ve been pumping and have a good stash of milk in your fridge or freezer. Try turning it into homemade soaps and lotions that are great alternatives to those chemical filled soaps they sell for babies in the supermarket. You’ll be able to find plenty of recipes online.
The great thing about breastmilk is that you have a ready supply on hand all the time. For the majority of women, your body will produce as much milk as your baby needs and you’ll probably still have a little left over for all of the above uses. You don’t even need very much for most breastmilk uses (other than feeding bub) so you can start benefiting from it now!