Thursday, August 4, 2011

Breastmilk: It's like Windex.

The title is (perhaps, obviously) a nod to the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Did you see it? In the movie, the father of the leading lady puts Windex on everything from rashes to pimples; to him, it's the ultimate cure for what ails you!

26 ounces of my frozen breastmilk
This is how I feel about breastmilk, and I know I'm not alone in this belief in its powers! I've joked about it many times with other breastfeeding mothers. Earlier in the week, I mentioned that I've used breastmilk to help heal blistered nipples, but that's a fairly obvious application...as things go.

Here, I've compiled a collection of some less apparent uses for (and things you can make out of) breastmilk. Some I have tried, and others I haven't.

Breastmilk can help with the following ailments:

 

  • Healing baby acne (and other transient mystery baby rashes): Breastmilk has antibacterial properties, which can help soothe and heal your baby's rashy skin.
  • Treating mama acne: Besides having antibacterial properties, breastmilk has lauric acid, which helps to exfoliate the skin. I've heard mixed results from this remedy: some people swear by breastmilk for acne (and there's even research that supports this claim). Others (like my friend, Lauren) just haven't had the same success with it.
  • Diaper rash: A special kind of rash all in its own, diaper rash can be particularly responsive to receiving the breastmilk treatment. Simply apply some after each diaper change, and allow the affected area to dry prior to putting on the clean diaper.
  • Baby's infected/clogged tear ducts: Again, because of the antibacterial properties of breastmilk, and the fact that the nursing mother is continually making antibodies for every pathogen her baby is exposed to on a day-to-day basis, breastmilk works wonders with infected baby eyes. And it works fast, too!
  • Conjunctivitis ("pink eye") in Mama's or Papa's or anyone else's eyes: For the same reasons it works in your baby's eyes, breastmilk can clear up infections in older folks' eyes as well. I've used my milk to treat my own eye infection, and (I don't think he would mind me sharing this) I know my brother has used a friend's milk to treat his own pink eye on more than one occasion. It works!
  • Baby's nasal congestion: Breastmilk works at least as well as saline nasal spray (but it's free!) at helping to loosen nasal congestion in your little one. You can use breastmilk alone, or just before using a nasal aspirator to clear everything out.
  • Cuts & scrapes: Breastmilk is particularly useful for this purpose when you're away from home (or a reliable water source). You can clean the injury with the milk, and then apply some fresh milk to it and allow it to dry there.
  • Insect stings & bites: For the same reason I just mentioned, you're often away from home when you're outside getting bitten by insects. Breastmilk can help to take the itch away from a nasty mosquito bite!

Breastmilk can be made into:


  • Cupcakes: I've seen this idea on several blogs, but I'm pretty sure I saw it first on Breastfeeding Moms Unite! If you follow that link, the recipe is for vanilla breastmilk cupcakes with strawberry frosting...and they sound absolutely delicious. Perhaps these would be good to serve at a first birthday party!

  • Soap: I recently asked a fellow doula, Nicole, to make me some breastmilk soap and she did a beautiful job! I love the idea of having breastmilk soap around long after your babies are weaned. You can have a very special (but still quite practical and useful) memento of your nursing relationship for years to come. The frozen milk pictured in the photo above is now part of this:
    Just one of the 20 bars of soap made with my milk

    You can even do it yourself with this recipe, if you feel so inspired!
  • Momsicles: Oh, I know, the name makes me groan, too! If you haven't guessed, these are popsicles made of breastmilk, and they're very handy to keep in stock for teething and/or feverish babies. Sometimes a sick kiddo won't eat or drink anything, but sucking on a popsicle hits the spot. Even better when it's made of antibody-rich breastmilk! You can use a popsicle mold to make them or a simple ice cube tray with toothpicks stuck in them works well, too.
  • Apparently, making breastmilk cheese is out of the question, though...just in case you were considering it.

Which of these breastmilk remedies or recipes have you tried, if any? What other uses for breastmilk can you think of that I missed? I'd love to add to my list!


Let's help communicate about breastfeeding for this year's WBW! Link up your breastfeeding posts below, and visit NPN to grab the code for your own blog. It will update automatically as posts are added!

19 comments:

  1. Love the soap and momsicle ideas. These would be great even for older babies, wish I had heard of these when I had nurslings. Thanks for sharing them.

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  2. Wow such great ideas...I agree, I think the stuff is magical too! Wonderful post :) Glad I found your post through Life With Levi's Breastfeeding Blog Hop. I will link up through this one too. Now following you on Twitter and GFC

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  3. I might try to make the soap - what a great idea! Do you know if it still retains it's healing properties in this form?

    And for the momsicles - A frozen cube in a mesh feeder also works wonders on a teething or sick baby!

    Great post! I'll be following!
    Crystal
    http://www.SoooBig.WordPress.com

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  4. I don't remember where I heard this, but I read somewhere that breastmilk can cure cancer!

    Hardly an everyday need, but..

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  5. These are great ideas! Be careful with the momsicles though-- the ones in the ice tray with toothpicks- I learned the hard way that once the momsicle starts to melt in baby's mouth, there's a sharp edge of a toothpick exposed. :)

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  6. Ooh, that's a very good point, Adrienne. Thank you for the safety reminder!

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  7. Sure you can make breastmilk cheese! Though, it takes some help, because of the issues in separating the curds and whey in some of the versions of breastmilk (since it is every changing!) http://chefdanielangerer.typepad.com/chef_daniel_angerers_blog/2010/02/mommys-milk.html

    Thanks for the list.

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  8. Great list, Amy! My husband has definitely compared breastmilk to Windex as I apply it to various uses in our house. I love the soap idea, and yours looks fantastic - like something straight out of Lush!

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  9. Hmm... not sure if my comment took:

    Love the list. You're right breastmilk fixes everything!

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  10. I've read the same articles Katie has - there is evidence that breastmilk can cure cancer!
    Love :)

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  11. It works well for any kind of infection. I used it more than once for ear infections (a few drops right in the ear) while my little one was nursing.

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  12. I've been thinking of trying breastmilk on my daughters scalp, because she's developing some bad cradle cap. I hate using goopy gels and creams, because they are hard to get out. Anyone ever try the milk instead?

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  13. @RealMommy: I stand corrected on the breastmilk cheese! I noticed that he used other milk to mix with the human milk though...I believe the story I linked to attempted to make cheese out of ONLY breastmilk, and she was unsuccessful.

    @tamara: I think I read somewhere that breastmilk is good for cradle cap, but I haven't tried it. What I have tried is coconut oil, and it worked like a charm! Anyone else try breastmilk on cradle cap?

    Thanks to everyone for all the additional suggestions--I'll need to update my list!

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  14. My first thought on the cupcakes was also that they'd be perfect for a 1st birthday! I'd like to try breastmilk ice cream. :) I do love iced milk (can't find it anymore), so that would surely be good with breastmilk, too!

    Strangely, breastmilk is in my dictionary, but not Breastmilk. I guess it isn't supposed to be capitalized. :-P

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  15. Momsicles are the best for teething babies who are not yet on solids, I imagine they are so soothing :)

    Visiting from the NPN Blog hop :)

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  16. Replies
    1. I'm glad you like it! Thanks for pinning. =)

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  17. I was trying to click on the link by the soap, but is just goes to a generic domain . . . :( I'd love to make a bunch of soap while I still have milk!

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    1. It looks like the doula who made my soap for me no longer has her website active, but the link below the photo directs to a breastmilk soap recipe for your DIY needs. Hope that helps!

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