6 surprising uses for breast milk

You probably already know that breast milk is beneficial for your baby because of the amazing nutritional and immunity-boosting benefits. But did you know there are some surprisingly practical uses for breast milk as well?

For example, one drop of breast milk can contain up to one million white blood cells and their sole function is to fight germs. While it’s not a cure-all for any ailment, why not try putting a little breast milk on a cut or scrape? It isn’t going to hurt your newborn and you might stumble onto a home remedy that’s very helpful. From treating diaper rash and eczema to soothing teething pain and healing a stuffy nose, here are six surprising (and astonishing!) uses for breast milk.

Surprising breast milk use #1: Teething pain

Is your little one currently breastfeeding? If you want to soothe her teething pain, try breast milk. Pour some of your expressed breast milk into a popsicle mold before freezing. When your little one starts crying, give her a ‘momsicle’ for instant relief that’s also nutritional! Genius idea, right?

Surprising breast milk use #2: Healing diaper rash

Believe it or not, a 2013 study from Pediatric Dermatology found that breast milk was just as effective as hydrocortisone for treating diaper dermatitis, a.k.a. diaper rash. Its effectiveness may be due to the fact that breast milk contains natural moisturizers that can hurry up the healing process. The best way to use breast milk for diaper rash is to clean the affected area, rub a little bit of breast milk on your little one, and then let it fully dry before re-diapering.   

Surprising breast milk use #3: Treating an ear infection

We’ve told you about the amazing antibodies that are found in breast milk, but did you know breast milk could also treat an ear infection? The immunologic agents found in breast milk can help fight against bacteria, viruses, and parasites. So if your little one keeps getting an ear infection, the next time she’s down for the count, try putting a few drops of breast milk at the entrance of her ear canal every few hours. The infection should clear up within two days.

Surprising breast milk use #4: Unblocking a tear duct

Unfortunately, it’s common for a newborn to get blocked tear ducts. In most cases they can resolve the blockage on their own, but sometimes blocked tear ducts can lead to infections or goopy eye discharge. The best thing to do is to regularly wash your little one’s eye with clean, warm water. Then apply a few drops of breast milk several times a day to aid in clearing up the tear duct and preventing discharge.

Surprising breast milk use #5: Relieving a stuffy nose

If your baby is suffering from a stuffed-up nose, the most common suggestion is to use a nasal aspirator or rubber bulb syringe to help clear the mucus out. Both devices have you put a few drops of saline solution in them before sucking snot out. But why not use breast milk instead? It’s high in anti-infective and anti-inflammatory properties and can act as an efficient way to help relieve congestion in newborns. Plus, unlike when you use a saline solution, babies won’t notice if they swallow breast milk in the process.

Surprising breast milk use #6: Clearing up eczema

A study published in the International Journal of Dermatology found that half of all infants are affected by atopic eczema, which usually causes itchy, red, swollen, and cracked skin. Since breast milk is equally as effective at treating skin conditions as hydrocortisone, it can be a lifesaver for babies suffering from eczema. Pro tip: breast milk also works wonders on chapped, raw, and sore nipples.

What else is breast milk good for?

Some moms have also had luck using breast milk for insect bites, cuts, scrapes, and sunburns. You should always check with your doctor when looking for remedies, but don’t rule out breast milk as a natural remedy. If you’ve got it, why not try it?!