5 Amazing Benefits of a Milk Bath for Baby
Breast milk is not just for feeding anymore! You might be surprised to learn that there are tons of other ways you can use the “liquid gold” known as breast milk. Breast milk is chock full o’ good stuff so it makes sense that it can be used to treat ear infections, soothe teething pain and help with diaper rash, among many other things. It can even be used in a milk bath for baby to treat tons of skin conditions. I never thought of using breast milk outside of feeding until a friend mentioned how effective it is for treating blocked tear ducts (It works. Mind blown). It got me wondering about other ways to use breast milk, and it turns out, there are lots of practical uses! Cover photo credit: @landoflawson
- About Breast Milk
- 5 Benefits of a Milk Bath For Baby
- How To Make A Breast Milk Bath
- Other Surprising Uses for Breast Milk
About Breast Milk
Human milk can be used for much more than just food and it comes with a long list of active germ-fighting and health-promoting ingredients. As babies grow, breast milk provides important protection against infection and disease, which isn’t surprising considering its composition; it’s packed with vitamins, nutrients and fat, including lauric acid, immunoglobulin A, palmitic acid, and oleic acid, just to name a few.
According to Ask Dr. Sears, one drop of breast milk contains around one million white blood cells! That’s astonishing. These blood cells, called “macrophages,” crush bacteria and other harmful organisms. Also in breast milk is lauric acid, a skin-softening fatty acid that happens to be naturally antimicrobial. Breast milk is also packed with immunoglobulin A (IgA), an antibody blood protein that coats baby’s immature intestinal lining and prevents germs from leaking through. Colostrum, the milk mothers produce in the first few days after birth, is especially rich in IgA.
There are lots of other important components to breast milk, but the full list, and all of the respective benefits, would be a mile long. Basically, breast milk is the bomb and it deserves all of the praise hands 🙌.
What women’s bodies can do is seriously incredible.
5 Benefits of a Milk Bath for Baby
There is tons of anecdotal evidence and even some studies proving that breast milk if effective at treating a variety of skin irritations and ailments. One of the best ways to use it is directly in the bathtub. Here are 5 ways that a breast milk bath may benefit your baby:
1. Treating Eczema, Psoriasis, and Cradle Cap
Breast milk for eczema? You betcha. It’s estimated that about 50% of infants are affected by eczema in the first years of their lives, and many moms swear by a breast milk bath to reduce the symptoms of eczema as well as psoriasis and cradle cap. Breast milk is so effective at reducing dry and itchy symptoms that one woman even claimed to have healed her babies’ eczema by having them bathe in her breast milk. Now, it’s even being proven! A 2015 study showed that breast milk was found to be equally as effective as hydrocortisone 1% in treating mild to moderate eczema.
2. Clearing Acne
A breast milk bath can even help treat acne! Lauric acid, which is abundant in breast milk, has antibacterial properties that can fight off acne. It promotes faster healing and keeps the area free from bacteria and infection. It can also help in diminishing spots and discoloration on the skin.
3. Hydrating Dry Skin
Remember all of those acids I mentioned (vaccenic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid)? They’re incredibly hydrating! Bathing baby in breast milk can help heal dry skin, lighten skin spots, and minimize inflammation.
4. Healing Minor Burns, Cuts, and Insect bites
Man, that immunoglobulin A (IgA) truly is amazing! IgA contains antibodies that fight off bacteria and cure infections, so a milk bath for baby can relieve soreness and irritation from minor burns, cuts, and insect bites.
5. Soothing Diaper Rash
Because breast milk is full of antibodies, an infant milk bath can quickly attack and destroy the bacteria that causes diaper rash. A 2013 study in the journal Pediatric Dermatology found that breast milk was just as effective as hydrocortisone on babies with diaper rash.
How To Make A Breast Milk Bath
Making a breast milk bath is simple. All you need is warm water, a baby bath, and 6-10 ounces of breast milk.
Other Surprising Uses for Breast Milk
Soothing Teething Pain
Momsicles, anyone? Teething is no fun for baby or you, but popsicles can certainly help! You can use breast milk to make popsicles (sometimes called “Momsicles”) by pouring it into molds and freezing it. Check out the full instructions here.
Treating Ear Infection
Ear infections are extremely common in children ages 6 to 18 months; in fact, ear infections are the most common reason for antibiotic use in children. Before immediately reaching for the antibiotics, perhaps give breast milk a try! The antibodies in breast milk can actually fight off ear infections. Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends putting about 3 to 4 drops at the entrance of the ear canal every few hours. The infection should clear up within 24 to 48 hours.
Clearing Blocked Tear Ducts
It’s quite common for newborns to get blocked tear ducts leaving them looking “teary” eyed. At least 20% of babies are born with one or both of their tear ducts blocked or partially blocked. The blocked ducts can lead to conjunctivitis-like symptoms, such as white or yellow discharge, or full-blown conjunctivitis. Most of the time, blocked ducts will resolve on their own, but in some cases, they can lead to infections and unsightly eye discharge. Until the duct opens fully, you'll need to clean the discharge from the eyes regularly. Dip a cotton ball in plain warm water or saline solution and gently wipe the eye from the inside corner out (use a fresh cotton ball for every wipe). Adding a few drops of breast milk several times a day may help clear the discharge and prevent infections as well.
Alleviating Sore Nipples
Chapped, sore nipples are a common problem in the early days of breastfeeding. There are tons of creams and prescription ointments for this particular issues, but many moms, midwives, and lactation consultants swear by breast milk instead.
Breast milk is one of the most fabulous, and seriously underutilized, concoctions known to man! It’s rich with vitamins, minerals, and fats and it’s got a mile-long list of benefits. Aside from feeding, a breastmilk bath for baby can provide lots of benefits, including fighting acne, hydrating dry skin, and healing minor cuts. It can also be used in a bath to treat irritating skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, cradle cap, and diaper rash. Don’t believe it? There are many moms who swear by breast milk, especially a milk bath for baby. Studies now show that it’s just as effective as hydrocortisone in treating both eczema and diaper rash! It can even be used to soothe teething pain, treat an ear infection, clear blocked tear ducts, and relieve sore nipples. Seriously, what can’t breast milk do?
Have another interesting way to use breast milk? I’d love to hear it - Leave a comment below!
Please note: This article is informational only and is not intended to replace medical advice.
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