Unique Breast Milk Uses and Topical Benefits
Not only is breast milk the perfect nutrition for your little one, but all of its vitamins, minerals, antibodies, and nutrients means it can also be beneficial when used beyond a food source. Find out more about your milk's topical benefits for your baby!
Breast Milk Uses Beyond Food and Nutrition
Breast milk is the perfect nutrition for your little one – not only is it chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that support healthy growth and development, but its composition also changes as they grow to provide unique protection for as long as they receive your liquid gold. Breast milk is comprised of many different substances, like antibodies, omega-3 fatty acids, and stem cells, which can also be incredibly beneficial when used in different forms (think lotions, facials, soap, and more) other than just a food source. If you have extra breast milk on hand, don’t let your precious liquid gold go to waste! There are plenty of creative breast milk uses that involve topical care and using those well-known nutritional benefits as equally beneficial support for the skin and even remedies for certain common, minor infections. In fact, studies show that breast milk’s powerful immunological properties are effective in the treatment of many skin and soft tissue conditions such as diaper rash; eczema; acne; and umbilical cord separation, as well as sore, dry, or cracked nipples; pink eye; nasal congestion; and minor scrapes, burns, and other superficial skin wounds. Though the topical benefits of breast milk are immense and may relieve many uncomfortable symptoms of the above conditions, your healthcare provider should always be your first call if you or your baby have an infection or major wound – sometimes (stronger) antibiotics or other professional care is necessary to ensure full and complete recovery.
Curious what alternative breast milk uses might be most beneficial for you and/or your little one? Get ready to get creative, mama! Here are just some of the amazing things that your breast milk can do – that you can also easily DIY at home with minimal extra supplies or ingredients needed:
- Breast Milk Soap: Your milk contains many antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiseptic components in its carbohydrates, sugars, white blood cells, and proteins. Any extra milk – our recipe requires just a cup – that you have on hand can be used to make breast milk soap with just a few additional ingredients, including soap base, essential oil, and powdered pigments (if desired).
- Breast Milk Lotion: Breast milk also contains natural moisturizing properties, which is one of the reasons why evidence points to your milk as a powerful healing agent for many skin issues, conditions, and minor superficial wounds. Use beeswax, a few ounces of extra breast milk, and a few drops of essential oil (if desired) to try your hand at homemade lotion that can be gently massaged onto your baby before bedtime or after their bath.
- Breast Milk Face Mask: Check Pinterest or YouTube for step-by-step instructions or tutorials to make a homemade face mask using your extra breast milk to find the recipe that might work best with you and your skin’s unique needs. Some blogs recommend simply mixing your breast milk with bentonite clay until it’s at the consistency of a spreadable paste that can be easily applied to your face. Let the paste dry and then wash it off – much like you would with most store-bought mud or clay face masks – for soft, clean skin.
- Ear, Nasal, and/or Eye Infection Treatment: One study found that breast milk applied to the ear canal can be effective against bacteria if the infection is in the outer portion of the ear canal. Also, anecdotal evidence collected confirms that breast milk may be effective against ailments in the mucus membranes, such as nasal congestion, though further research is likely needed to confirm these health benefits.
When tackling ear, nasal, or eye infections, such as pink eye, it’s always best to contact your pediatrician first and ask him or her what the best methods are for applying breast milk as a healing agent against these ailments.
- Diaper Rash, Infant Eczema, and/or Infant Acne Treatment: Studies show that breast milk can improve infant atopic eczema with the same results as a hydrocortisone ointment. Additionally, because of the presence of lauric acid in your milk, it may also be helpful in clearing up baby acne. Try dipping a soft cotton ball in an ounce of your breast milk and gently dabbing it onto problem areas of your little one’s skin.
- Cradle Cap Treatment: Some parents swear by using a little extra breast milk to treat minor cradle cap. Carefully massaging a bit of breast milk onto your baby’s scalp during their next bath may help with the flaking often associated with cradle cap. Because breast milk is widely accepted as a treatment for certain skin conditions, and cradle cap occurs on the scalp, it may be beneficial to add some of your milk to your little one’s shampoo or apply it separately after their hair is washed.
There are so many unique breast milk uses out there, mama! Be sure to use your best judgement when looking for ways to use your extra breast milk as a topical healing agent – though breast milk is full of vitamins, antibodies, nutrients, minerals, and other great-for-you components and it can be beneficial when used topically, it’s critical to ensure its application – and any recipes using your breast milk – are completely safe for your little one and do not further aggravate any issues, infections, or conditions. Your pediatrician is a great partner to have during this time, and a conversation with them can help you figure out the best breast milk uses for any extra stored milk – especially when it comes to using your liquid gold as a topical healing agent. Your breast milk is powerful, mama – and so are you and your baby!