Whether you are brand new to breastfeeding or a seasoned pro, you’ve likely heard of the wonderful benefits of breastmilk for your baby’s overall health, growth & development. Breastmilk is made perfectly by you and has everything in it that your baby needs for the first six months of life. Other benefits are not as commonly talked about— Alternate uses for breastmilk. Breastmilk is full of so many great ingredients: proteins, fats, lactose, vitamins, iron, minerals, water & enzymes. All of these work together to satisfy different needs in our babies’ bodies. Their benefits don’t end with providing sustenance, the same properties in the milk that help our babies build their immune systems, fight bacteria, develop tissues and hydrate can also be helpful when applied topically.
If you have a freezer stash built up there are different ways that you can put it to use! One way is when introducing solid foods to your baby you can thin out purees with breastmilk, and use it when mixing baby’s cereals. This gives baby that familiar taste of the breastmilk that they are used to, and adds the nutrient-rich benefits of breastmilk.
If your baby is teething and struggling with sore gums you may want to try a breastmilk- pop! Simply pour breastmilk into an ice cube tray and stick a plastic baby spoon in it as it freezes, or another idea is to set a pacifier on top (nipple down in the breastmilk). Once frozen, baby can use it to soothe those painful gums. The age of your baby and their ability to handle this will vary, I wouldn’t try this with a tiny baby, I would wait until baby is at least over 6 months, as we don’t want babe to aspirate or choke. Get creative with this concept, your baby might get some needed soothing from the ice and reap the benefits of breastmilk at the same time.
Did you know that when you or your baby are sick your breastmilk will contain more leukocytes, the cells that will help fight off infections — SO COOL! So not only does breastmilk provide overall immunity to many diseases, but it also can adjust and boost your immune systems when needed. With the antibacterial properties, we can keep breastmilk at room temperature for 4 hours, in the fridge for 3 days and then freeze it, all while it continues to fight off bacteria. So this, Mama’s, is why it is so useful for topical treatments of various kinds! If your baby has acne, cradle cap, bum rash, an insect bite, eczema or a small scratch you can try breastmilk on it in a thin layer and then allow it to dry, the healing properties can be amazing. It just may save you going for an ointment from the doctor. Now that being said, always watch for signs and symptoms of infection and if the breastmilk doesn’t seem to be helping, then maybe its time to have it checked by your health care professional. Parents, intuition and common sense ALWAYS prevail!
Hopefully, you have or will be lucky enough to avoid this problem, the pain can be so intense! One way to help heal your nipples is to express some breastmilk and gently rub onto the affected area, then allow to air dry. If you do this after every feeding it can be very helpful. If you continue to have difficulty with pain during breastfeeding please reach out to a Mama Coach for a Lactation Consultation. We are trained professionals who would love to help you with any of your Breastfeeding needs.
Enjoy your breastfeeding experience Mamas and don’t be afraid to use your amazing breastmilk to its full potential. Know that you have options, and breastmilk is one that you have on hand and is well worth a try if you choose!