What else can you use breastmilk for?
We all know how amazing breastmilk is and that it has great benefits for mum and baby when breastfeeding, but did you know that breast milk can also be used for other reasons?
Colostrum and breast milk is called liquid gold for a reason. It can be used to treat blocked tear ducts, cracked nipples, rashes and is pain relief for your baby.
If you have spare breast milk in your fridge or freezer, don’t throw it away (unless it’s off). Here are some of the many ways you can use your breastmilk! Often Mamas who munch on Franjos lactation biscuits have excess breastmilk too.
Eczema and baby acne
Eczema can be common amongst newborns, as babies have sensitive skin that can dry easily, which can cause eczema to develop.
Baby acne or little white pustules on babies face or body can be normal in the early stages of life due to their body still containing some of your hormones.
- Breastmilk can help ease eczema and acne without using any creams. The easiest way is to soak a cotton ball with breastmilk and apply it to the affected area or pour some breastmilk (or frozen milk cubes) into bubs bath to help relieve the redness.
It is sometimes common for babies skin to get red and irritated on their bottom due to wearing a nappy. There are lots of different barrier creams that you can put on babies bottom as prevention for nappy rash, but some babies still get a red bottom. There have been some studies that suggest breast milk can be more effective than prescription creams for nappy rash.
- As we know, breastmilk contains antibodies from you, which can fight off the bacteria that cause nappy rash. It is recommended to pat it onto the red area and let it dry before putting nappy back on. Fresh air is also great for nappy rash, so tummy time with nappy off and breast milk applied to the rash can work really well.
Sore or cracked nipples
Breastmilk can also benefit you, Mama! It can be very common for breastfeeding to leave you with sore, cracked and even bleeding nipples, especially if it is your first time breastfeeding. If you think there is an infection on your nipples causing the pain and soreness then please consult your health care professional before rubbing breast milk onto them.
- Gently massage breastmilk onto your nipples after every feed and let it dry. This can help heal those damaged nipples, as well as some fresh air.
Clogged tear duct
It can be common for bub to have crusty, teary eyes in the first few months of life. This is typically caused by blocked tear ducts. Symptoms include excessive tearing, crusting, blurred vision, and pus discharge from the eyes. If the discharge is yellow/green in colour, consult a health care professional. It is recommended to regularly clean the eye using a cloth or cotton pad (a separate one for each eye), with warm water. Some doctors will recommend gently massaging the tear ducts to help open the nasal passages that are clogged, but breast milk can also work just as well. Always check in with your healthcare provider if you have concerns.
- After cleaning the eye with water, drop some breastmilk into the irritated part of the eye a couple of times a day. This will help the tear duct clear in 1-2 days. If it still does not clear up, consult a doctor.
Cuts, insect bites & sunburn
Thanks to breastmilk’s soothing and antibacterial properties it can help treat many cuts, scratches or insect bites that your baby may get. Breast milk also contains anti-inflammatory chemicals that help regulate the body’s immune response.
- Defrost some breastmilk and add it to some water or use fresh breastmilk. Apply onto the insect bite and allow it to dry to bring quick relief from the itching. For sunburn, you can also use a breast milk ice cube on the affected area for some cool relief.
Normally when babies have a stuffy or congested nose parents drop some saline solution into their nose to loosen up the congestion. Although Mama, your breastmilk is high in anti-inflammatory properties, so it is the perfect liquid to substitute saline for. Unlike salty saline, baby will recognise the taste of breast milk, so they won’t be as shocked when they swallow some of it in the process.
- Simply express some breastmilk into a cup, or defrost frozen breastmilk. Lay your baby back in your arms, your partner’s arms or on the change mat, and use a syringe to drop some breast milk into each nostril. Bub may not like this sensation or may sneeze, give bub a cuddle and let your breast milk do all the work.
You are your baby’s comfort, calm and home. When they are tired, upset or have hurt themselves, they are going to want you, their Mama. Cuddles and breastfeeding is going to be your number one way to help relieve your baby’s pain.
- If bub has a cold or a sore throat, don’t stop breastfeeding! Breastmilk may help soothe throat pain, breastmilk antibodies can shorten the span of the illness and can help bub build resistance and beat the cold.
- Another idea for a pain-relieving treatment is if your baby is teething, or they have red sore gums. You can freeze your breastmilk into popsicles or ice cubes, then simply get them out of freezer and give them to bub to suck on to soothe their sore gums.
- To make it convenient, freeze some breastmilk in an ice tray and then you can pop out a cube to defrost whenever you need some.
- After baby is 6 months old and you are introducing solids, you can use breast milk in puree's. By adding some breast milk instead of water, it will be a familiar taste for bub and still have all the amazing benefits.
- Leftover breast milk can always be used for a beautiful ‘milk bath’ for you or your baby. Simply pour in some breastmilk (fresh or frozen) to a warm bath, relax and enjoy delicious soft skin which can be amazing for eczema or rashes.
Always check in with your healthcare provider before attempting any of the above tips.
With credit to Franjos Kitchen for the suggestions.