Is Breast Milk Truly The Magical Elixir for your Baby?
I have been pregnant twice and cannot begin to count how often I have had other moms tell me that I can cure my child’s illness with breast milk! Shocking? Yes? No? Either ways, apparently it works!
I have heard the elders in my family talk about how breast milk used to be the ‘turn to’ option in their times. It was known to cure infections, cuts, wounds and much more, saving them many visits to the doctors! This method of healing is popular even today.
A mom friend swears by this ‘Magic Elixir’ too and stores her milk in the freezer. While its virtues remain intact, it works like magic for certain issues, she claims!
For example -
1. Great to cure diaper rash
According to anecdotes, simple butt rash is often treated by just dabbing some milk onto the affected area. Yet there is always a possibility that the natural sugar in the breast milk might actually aggravate the situation. At this stage, you might need to turn to a doctor.
2. Using it to clear baby acne.
Here again it is used to dab and then left to dry. This is known to make the rash disappear! While this is restricted to topical application, I guess there really is no harm.
3. It can be used to clear a ‘pink-eye’ (known in our side of the world as conjunctivitis)
It is wonderful to learn that breast milk is filled with antibodies and great for the immune system. But does that really mean that it can be used as a substitute to medication for sick children? The rash that you see in a new baby’s eyes is actually just blocked tear-ducts which clear away soon. It may not be because of the breast milk. So putting in a few drops of breast milk in the baby’s eye may not be the treatment you are looking for.
4. Sore nipples? Just dab a little breast milk on them and let them dry.
A lot of breastfeeding mothers would strongly recommend this as one amongst the top cures for sore/cracked nipples! With aching boobs and painful nipples while baby is struggling to feed, waiting to see if it would work or not may be a tough call. Consult a lactation expert instead.
5. Ear infection can be cured too!
“Don’t worry because a few drops of breast milk will make the infection disappear.” I have heard this often. A handful of advice comes against this as well! You may also want to consider that bacteria can breed very happily in this ’sweet’ liquid inside your baby’s ear.
So does it really work??
The antibacterial and healing properties of breast milk are often overlooked, but breast milk contains antibodies which have been known to promote healing of minor illnesses and injuries. The anecdotal evidence for this practice is overwhelming!
In fact, owing to the burgeoning demand in donor milk banks, people are beginning to use it as a means of treatment in some adult cases. Several on-going studies and researches are immersed in finding new ways to use it. The internet is flooded with articles promoting the alternate use of breast milk. However, I am yet to come across any scientific data or studies backing up the medicinal virtues of breast milk.
This recently published article in a leading newspaper came in as a rude shock. This is a case of breast milk being used as a healer without much thought, leading to grave circumstances.
It reminded me how these helpless babies are dependent on parents like us to make informed choices for them. So whatever your healing choices maybe, ensure you consult the right experts.
Explore the entire collection of articles: Breastfeeding Tips
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