Breastmilk as (Free!) Medicine

We know that studies have shown breastfeeding helps reduce the chances of childhood cancers, SIDS, female cancers in the mother, raises IQ scores, lowers the chance of heart disease in later life (the longer a child is breastfed, the lower the chances, per the study).  And on and on it goes.

And we know it changes formulation as a child grows to meet the needs of that age and stage.  And when mom develops a cold, infection, etc, the antibodies appear in the breastmilk to help protect the child.

But did you know that breastmilk should also be in your first aid kit (figurative, not literal)?  After reading an article in Mothering magazine when my daughter was about 1, I have tried to keep breastmilk in the freezer or fridge at all times just for its medicinal uses.

Breastmilks’ sterile state and composition of both antibacterial and antiviral properties makes it fabulous medicine for all sorts of minor ailments.   The best medicine it has been for us is in use as a healer for pinkeye.  My kids have had it several times (and passed it to me!).  Using breastmilk, the longest it has ever gone on is about 24 hours!  The two times we used conventional medicine, it took much longer to heal.  I was VERY pleased to learn about this treatment; we’ve not gone back to the doctor for it yet.

Congestion Squirt a couple drops of breastmilk in each nostril (via a dropper or straight from the source 😉 ), follow up with a bulb aspirator, if needed.  Repeat every hour or two until congestion passes.

Pinkeye/conjunctivitis Place 3-5 drops of breastmilk in infected eye(s).  Try to open the eyelid to allow the breastmilk to penetrate under the lid.  Repeat 3-4 times a day until pinkeye clears.  (The antibody immunoglobulin A keeps the bacteria from attaching to the mucous in the eye.)

Eczema Natural moisturizers in breastmilk help keep the skin supple, speeding the healing process.  Rub breastmilk onto eczema spots several times a day until clear.

Ear infections Place 3-5 drops of breastmilk in ear(s).  Repeat 3-4 times a day, or as necessary.

Diaper rash With each diaper change, rub the affected area with breastmilk; allow to air dry before putting another diaper on.  If the rash is yeast, do not use breastmilk!

Bug bites, scrapes, cuts, scratches Aids in itch relief and healing.  Rub breastmilk onto eczema spots several times a day until clear.

Minor burns The fat in breastmilk acts as a skin soother and softener.  Apply to MINOR burns several times a day; allow to air dry.

Sore nipples Oh, the early days of breastfeeding!  Unless you are lucky enough to have a baby who read the “How to Properly Breastfeed” handbook while still in utero, as my second son did!, you may well end up with sore nipples while you work on figuring out the cause and correcting that issue.  The breastmilk will help with pain, the antibodies can help with possible infections and it will help your nipples heal. After nursing, and as needed, rub your nipples with breastmilk and let them air dry.

Studies have also shown breastmilk’s healing qualities in more severe situations.  Organ transplant patients have ingested breastmilk to fight infection after surgery.  Chemo patients have used breastmilk to calm their nausea after treatment.  When injected into cancer cells, breastmilk has been shown to KILL cancer cells!!

God created amazing stuff, didn’t he?!

If you’re interested in reading more, this article on Kellymom has links to some great articles, including some studies that support the above uses.

I am NOT a doctor, just a mom who has researched this topic and use it in my own home frequently.  So please use common sense and if a situation warrants medical intervention, do it.  If healing isn’t happening or symptoms get worse, go see your doctor!!

This posted is linked to:
N.I.P.P.L.E Friday @ The Eclectic Mommy
Frugle Friday @ Life as Mom
Works for Me Wednesday @ We are THAT Family

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  1. I have used it for stuff like this too. I am a dummy, didn’t think to freeze a stash. I still made milk for a while after Drew weaned. Then I dried up when I got pregnant. Of course I will make for milk again soon. This time I will make sure to always have some saved for first aid stuff.

    • One of the nice things about freezing it for medicinal purposes is that it doesn’t lose those properties like it will lose nutritional properties. So the standard advice of X months in the freezer doesn’t apply here!

  2. I knew about some of these uses but had never heard the eczema suggestion. I”m totally going to give that a try for both the munchkins. So cool! Thanks for linking up :)

    <3 Birdie

  3. So cool, and makes me feel like such and idiot. I totally considered myself a breastfeeding expert, just weaned my 21 month old this month, and never replenished the freezer stash after she finished it… ahhhh!

    • If you have a pump, you may still be able to express some milk. Many mamas have some milk for many months after weaning. Wouldn’t hurt to try!

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