Q: I’ve heard you can use human milk to treat pink eye. Is this actually true? Is there anything else you can use it for?
Human milk has been purported to treat a surprisingly varied range of minor conditions over the years. Here are twenty alternative uses for human milk, a list which is by no means exhaustive:
- Pink Eye; As you heard, breast milk is often cited as a quick cure for conjunctivitis, be it viral, bacterial, or allergenic
- Bug Bites; Mothers in many countries use their milk to soothe itchy bites or stings
- Sunburn; Human milk can be applied to minor sunburn to alleviate discomfort
- Abrasions, cuts, scratches; The adaptive anti-bacterials in mother’s milk help to disinfect minor wounds, while the natural anaesthetics help with the pain
- Ear Infections; Mothers for many generations have provided relief by applying drops of their milk into the ear of a suffering child
- Diaper Rash; Your milk can help heal and soothe most forms of diaper rash
- Sore Throat; Human milk can be extremely soothing for sore throats, and potentially salubrious due to its natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties
- Cleaning Solution; Because it is naturally antibacterial and non-abrasive, some people fine breast milk to be an excellent solution for cleaning contact lenses, eye glasses, baby’s soother, and the likes
- Teething; Human milk helps relieve teething pain, so as well as nursing baby through teething episodes, some mothers let baby suck on cloths soaked in breast milk, or make breast milk popsicles. You can even combine these and let baby chew on a frozen, milk-laden cloth
- Pain; Mothers all over the world know that nursing a baby brings comfort and relieves pain. Breastfeeding is an excellent balm for vaccinations, scrapes and falls, minor bumps and bruises, and any other of life’s little upsets
- Acne; Try dabbing some on pimples or blemishes. Human milk is rumoured to get rid of them quickly
- Cleanser; For centuries women have used human milk as a facial cleanser, renowned for its cleansing and anti-aging effects. It is particularly esteemed for decreasing puffiness around the eyes
- Cancer; There is fascinating research using human milk against cancerous cells:
- Warts; Some people report wart removal success from the application of human milk
- Colds and Flus; Human milk is said to fight the cold and the flu quickly because its immunities adapt to efficiently battle whatever pathogens it encounters
- Congestion; Instead of using a suction-syringe, some mothers place drops of breast milk in their child’s nostrils for near-instant relief
- Nausea; Human milk is supposed to provide relief for upset stomachs due to motion sickness or nausea—a natural dramamine
- Eczema, Dry Skin, Cradle Cap, and Chapped Lips; Some people use their milk to treat skin conditions as it is gentle and does not irritate sensitive skin
- Chicken Pox & Measles; Human milk can be applied directly to chicken pox and measles sores, providing relief from the pain and the itching (note: it does not cure either of these illnesses–it is a balm rather than a cure)
- Sleep; Mother’s milk contains several different kinds of sleep hormones. A good feeding session can almost always put a tired baby to sleep. This is my personal favourite use, which I consider an almost divine gift from Mother Nature
It is worth mentioning that the healing effects of mother’s milk are by no means limited to your baby. It has the same results on any member of the family. I understand that many adults have approached their own pink-eye this way. And I have heard many entertaining tales of women squirting their friends’ or partners’ wounds on demand. Experiment at your own risk!
Of course, if any condition persists, checking in with one’s health practitioner might be in order. But for minor, every-day ailments, human milk provides a harmless and often helpful form of first aid. A multi-purpose item in your ‘medicine chest’.