10 Surprising Uses of Breast Milk for Your Baby's Health, Other Than Feeding
10 mins read
Care for New Born, Baby
There is no secret that breastmilk is an excellent source of nutrition for babies. But did you know that apart from just being food and satiating your little one's hunger, this liquid gold can also have many other fantastic uses?
When you hold your baby for the first time, you swear to be by their side, provide the best for them and protect them from anything that could potentially harm them. Breastfeeding is a beautiful expression of that same promise! Not only does it satiate your young one's hunger but also provides them with all the important nutrition they require for all-round development. It is also full of disease-fighting components that help protect your little one against any illnesses. It is advised by doctors that a mother should exclusively breastfeed her baby for at least 6 months; in fact, the benefits of breastfeeding last much longer.
The Importance of Breastfeeding
Scientists have observed that babies who are breastfed possess a 20% lower risk of mortality between the ages of 28 days and one year. Also, the longer they are breastfed, the better. The most important factor that is associated with breastmilk is that it contains secretory immunoglobulin A (also known as IgA) which is present largely in colostrum - the first milk a mother's body produces after delivery. This is the secret weapon that guards the extremely fragile and vulnerable immune system of your baby against foreign bodies like germs. It does so by creating a protective layer on the mucous membranes in various part of your baby's body.
The ‘Liquid Gold’: The benefits of breastmilk are many and hence it is rightly called the 'liquid gold'. What's important to know is that the benefits of breastfeeding last longer than just the duration of breastfeeding. It has also been proved that breastfeeding in the early stages helps prevent the onset of major diseases such as type 1 and type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol later in life.
Breastfeeding is Good for the Mom Too: Not only for your baby, but breastfeeding does wonders for you too. The release of oxytocin during the act helps relax mothers and creates a stronger bond with the baby. Not just this, it also helps in reducing the risk of cancer and enables post-pregnancy weight loss too.
Now that you are aware of the amazing benefits breastmilk has for you and for your baby's health, it’s time to be truly amazed. The same liquid gold also has several other uses that seem unbelievable but are totally true! Below are 10 extremely unconventional remedies that involve breastmilk and the results are wonderful!
Note: As a general practice, always ensure that you never use old and stored breastmilk for any of these remedies. Additionally, consult your baby's doctor before trying any of these remedies if you face any concerns.
Breastmilk Helps Treat Ear Infections
Ear infections are extremely common amongst babies. This is because your baby's immune system is still not fully developed. These infections are usually preceded by a cold and are mostly a result of a bacteria or even a virus. But the good news is, breastmilk can help relieve the signs of a ear infection! Add a few drops of breastmilk to your baby's ear. It will help clear out the infection because of the presence of antibodies in it. This remedy works well for sinus infections as well.
Keep in mind: Use this method simply as a home remedy and in case the infection persists for more than 48 hours, seek medical intervention. Most ear infections tend to go away in the specified period, however, it is better to seek your paediatrician’s advice when in doubt.
Breastmilk is an Effective Remedy for Treating Baby Acne
Breakout of acne is a very common skin concern amongst babies as their body goes through hormonal adjustments. Acne can cause discomfort and sometimes be painful too. A simple and effective remedy to treat this at home is to dab some breastmilk on the affected area. You could alternatively soak a cotton ball in some breastmilk and apply it on the affected area and let it dry. It helps in drying the acne and shows instant results.
Keep in mind: Apply a little breastmilk on a small area of your baby's hand first and check for any reaction. In case you observe some irritation, refrain from using this remedy and consult your doctor for an alternative instead.
That problem of baby dandruff and cradle cap that just doesn't seem to go away has a simple solution. Put some breastmilk on your baby's head and massage gently. Let it dry for about 20 minutes and wash the head with water. Repeat this process for two days. Voila! Breastmilk helps in moisturising the scalp and get rid of cradle cap effectively. Along with this, you can also apply shea butter for better results.
Keep in mind: Remember to wash the scalp after 20 minutes or it could cause some discomfort to your baby. Cradle cap is not a very serious issue; however, if it persists, do consult your baby's doctor for further course of action.
Used for Treating Diaper Rashes
Nappy rashes are very common with babies and toddlers. Since the bottom area is mostly covered and retains moisture, rashes tend to develop faster, and if untreated, can cause serious discomfort to your baby. You can simply apply a little breastmilk to the nappy area 2-3 times a day and it will help soothe the skin condition.
Keep in mind: Sometimes, these rashes are a result of a yeast infection, and in such cases, breastmilk can do more harm than good. The sugars present in the milk can actually aggravate the infection instead of reducing it. It is advisable to consult the doctor before trying out the remedy to be sure of what kind of an infection it really is.
Quite Effective in Reducing Effects of Sunburn
Yes, it may really seem bizarre, but rubbing breastmilk all over your baby's body can help lower the effects of sunburn and soothe the irritated skin. It is gentle on the skin and helps in the healing process too.
Keep in mind: If the sunburn is quite extensive avoid this remedy and consult your doctor first. This could be adopted as the second course of action.
Heals Cracked and Sore Nipples
Every mother is aware of the associated flipside that comes with the joy of breastfeeding - cracked and sore nipples, and let's face it, they are painful! There are several home remedies available to soothe this. However, one very effective way is to simply express a small amount of milk on the nipples to cure this problem. You could also dab some breastmilk around your nipples after you finish feeding your baby.
Keep in mind: Just like nappy rashes, the soreness on nipples can also be caused due to yeast infection and in that case, dabbing more breastmilk will be a bad idea. If your condition doesn't improve, seek medical advice.
Make Yoghurt for Babies
Yoghurt is a food which is considered excellent for babies. Packed with nutrition and easily digestible with great taste! But did you know you could make yoghurt an even more powerful food by using breast milk to make it? Breast milk yoghurt is very beneficial for your baby as it not only contains the goodness of milk but also the antibodies. It is naturally sweet and therefore, the taste wouldn't be a problem either. If your baby is eating semi-solids, you can introduce this in his meals too.
How to make this?: Below is a step by step procedure of making breastmilk yoghurt
Heat a little breast milk in a pan over medium heat. In case you have a thermometer, ensure the milk is heated up to 185 degrees, just before it starts to boil.
Let it cool so it reaches a lukewarm temperature.
Add a little yoghurt starter/ regular yoghurt as a live culture (similar to the procedure involved in making regular yoghurt at home.)
Add a thickening agent like powdered gelatin or cornstarch (ensure your baby isn't allergic to any of these). Without these, your yoghurt may turn out to be runny and watery.
Pour this mixture into a warm dish / glass jars and cover with a lid.
Place this jar in another container and pour really hot water around it. Pour the water till the rim of the glass jar.
Cover this jar with a warm towel completely. Leave this untouched for about 12 hours
The yoghurt is now ready!
Keep in mind: Storing breastmilk can be the tricky part and the process of curdling the milk as well. Ensure you make your baby taste this first and see how he likes it before making it a regular. It is simply an addition of texture in his diet.
Breastmilk Can Also Be Used for Making Soaps
No, we are not kidding! Since breastmilk is known to have several benefits for skin issues, including helping with acne and rashes, it can also be used for making soaps with which you can bathe your baby.
Keep in mind: Making breastmilk soap can require extensive pumping so ensure that you are well prepared for this one!
Watch: How to make breastmilk soaps
Helps Treat Blocked Tear Ducts
Newborns and babies tend to have crusty, mucky eyes which sticks to their skin and this crust is painful to remove. In fact, blocked tear ducts are quite common in infants. Usually doctors prescribe ointments to help with the same, however, you could try a home remedy at your end to make sure it doesn't aggravate. Just add a few drops of breastmilk to the affected eye! It will help in soothing and clearing the blockage. In case the irritation persists, immediate medical attention should be sought.
Keep in mind: Matters of the eye can be very tricky. Sometimes using a non-sterile substance can make matters worse. Therefore, always ensure you consult your doctor before using any of these. Although these have worked in the past, it is always best to be sure.
Can Also Be Used as a Facial Treatment
Last but not the least moms, you can use breastmilk for your facial treatments as well! Add some breastmilk to your cream/ face pack and use it. Other mums have found that doing this helps clear acne, relieve sunburn and treat infection. The benefits of breastmilk for baby's skin are plenty and who doesn't want skin like a baby’s, right?
Read what this mom had to say about her 9-day breastmilk facial regime "The zits on my cheek were completely down in inflammation and all that remained was a slight scar — a scar I'm choosing to believe could’ve been much bigger if the breast milk hadn’t attacked my pimple."
Keep in mind: The thought of using your own breastmilk on your face may gross you out; however, do give it a try. You might be surprised by the results!
Breastmilk sure has some very unconventional uses; we will admit we were floored by some of these! Many moms around us have been using breast milk to get these benefits – it truly is a blessing in disguise. Rejoice this act moms, because it surely is a beautiful thing!