Interesting Breast Milk Uses and Home Remedies

Ways to Use Breast Milk Other Than Feeding a Baby

Bottles of breast milk on a table
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Breast milk is the perfect source of nutrition for your child. And, it is not only nutritious, but human milk contains other substances that keep children healthy and help them to fight off diseases and infections. These natural antibodies found in breast milk, along with it's anti-infectious, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, make it possible to use for more than just a source of food for infants.

There are certainly legitimate medical uses for breast milk, and hospitals use it in treatment plans for many types of patients. But, did you know that some people use breast milk in home remedies to treat a variety of minor conditions? Here are some of the interesting and alternative uses for breast milk.

A Note of Warning

Breast milk that is prescribed by a doctor and obtained through a legitimate milk bank goes through a screening and pasteurizing process to ensure it is safe.

Fresh breast milk (unpasteurized) can contain dangerous bacterial and fungal infections, such as streptococcus, staphylococcus, and candida (yeast), as well as transmit viral infections including cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

When you place fresh breast milk into the eyes or ears, or onto an opening in the skin, it could cause complications, illness, and infection. You should use caution and common sense when considering any of these alternative breast milk uses.

Breast Milk Uses and Home Remedies

Home remedies are generally believed to be natural ways to cure minor illnesses or conditions. They are usually cultural practices, traditions, customs, or folk remedies that have been passed down from generation to generation or passed on from person to person. However, keep in mind that there is not necessarily any medical proof that any of these treatments actually work, or whether they can cause more harm than good.

Here are 11 breast milk home remedies:

  1. Eye Infections and Ear Infections: In some cultures, breast milk has been used to treat eye infections and pink eye (conjunctivitis). It has also been thought to help heal an ear infection.
  2. Cuts, Minor Burns, and Small Wounds: Breast milk has been used for cuts, burns, and wounds to help wounds heal and prevent them from becoming infected.
  3. Immune System Booster: If you get sick and drink breast milk, it is believed to boost the immune system and shorten the length and severity of a cold.
  4. Warts: Some claim that if you put breast milk on a wart, the wart will dry up and fall off.
  5. Itching and Stinging: Breast milk has been used on the skin to relieve the sting and itching of insect bites, bee stings, chicken pox, poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.
  6. Sore, Cracked Nipples: If you apply breast milk onto sore, cracked nipples, it is can help to relieve pain, prevent infection, and assist in healing.
  7. Skin Moisturizer: As mentioned above, breast milk is often rubbed on the breasts to moisturize dry, cracked nipples. But, it has also been used as a moisturizer to treat dry skin and eczema. And, some people say that it helps to relieve chapped lips, loosen cradle cap, and treat diaper rash.
  8. Circumcision Healing: Human breast milk has been used to prevent and treat infections at the site of a circumcision.
  9. A Sore Throat: When used as a gargle, breast milk is said to relieve a sore throat.
  10. Skin Cleanser: Breast milk has been used to wash the skin, remove make-up, and clear up acne.
  11. Contact Lenses Cleaner: Human milk has been used as contact lens solution.

If you or your family member has an illness or infection, consult your doctor before attempting to treat it with breast milk.

Cooking With Breast Milk

Breast milk is typically sweet and creamy. You will probably use it to mix your baby's first cereal when you begin to introduce solid foods. You may even add it to other foods for your child. But, some people use it in recipes that they make for themselves. It can replace cow's milk in cooking and baking. Just like goat's milk, or other cow's milk alternatives, it can be added to coffee and cereal or made into butter, cheese, ice cream, and other dairy products.

Medical Uses

While using breast milk in your cooking or as part of a home remedy may be questionable, some alternative uses for breast milk are legitimate and based on research and medical fact. Hospitals and doctors use carefully screened and pasteurized breast milk from human milk banks to treat many conditions.

Hospitals use breast milk for medical reasons such as: 

Nutrition: Breast milk provides nutrition for premature infants, children with failure to thrive, people with severe allergies, those with heart disorders or kidney failure, and people with feeding issues.

Patients With a Compromised Immune System: Breast milk can help cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, and people with infectious diseases to strengthen their immune system.

Burn Patients: Human breast milk can help protect and heal the skin of burn patients.

Surgical Patients: After surgery of the intestines, breast milk helps to provide patients with nutrition and promote healing.

Preventative Medicine: Certain populations of patients use donor breast milk to help prevent Crohn’s disease, colitis, and allergies.

What Else You Can Do With Extra Breast Milk

Although the idea of using breast milk for home remedies is interesting, it could be harmful to use fresh breast milk on open wounds or in the eyes and ears. If you have an abundant milk supply and plenty of extra breast milk, there are other things you can do with your milk. You can freeze and store it to give to your baby when you are no longer breastfeeding. If you still have extra milk, consider donating it to a milk bank to help premature babies and others in the hospital that could benefit from your generosity. 

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