By Liz Laing
Issue 133, November/December 2005
- Acne Treatment and Facial Cleanser Wash face with a mild soap, rinse, and gently pat a breastmilk-saturated ball of cotton (not a synthetic material) over the entire face. This process is great for removing eye makeup as well.
- Burns and Sunburn Apply breastmilk gingerly to burns and they will dry up and look much better the next day. A burn treated with breastmilk and mashed-up blueberries will dry up within an hour, wrote one mom on a Midwifery Today online forum.1 Elena Michaels, PhD, CCH, LMFT, a traditional naturopath in Santa Clarita, California, told me that she often applied her breastmilk to her kids' sunburns. The soothing milk would stop the pain immediately," she said. "I believe the lauric acid found in breastmilk is antiviral, antibacterial, healing to tissue, and contains analgesic properties. Besides human breastmilk, virgin coconut oil is nature's most abundant source of lauric acid.
- Chapped Lips Dab a bit of milk onto dry lips, leaving them wet. Apply often, and lips should take only a day or two to heal.
- Cold Sores and Fever Blisters Place milk directly on a cold sore with a clean finger or cotton ball. This should speed the healing process and also help relieve some of the pain.
- Cuts, Scrapes, Scratches Clean wound first using breastmilk if you don't have soap and water. Drip milk onto the wound, then let it air-dry. You can also use a cotton ball or a 4-by-4-inch gauze pad soaked in breastmilk. If the cut is on a baby's lips or mouth area, allow him or her to nurse. An upset child will be calmed by the gentle, loving act of breastfeeding, and the milk will help heal the wound. I'll never forget when my 15-month-old daughter was bitten by her grandma's dog right on her face." says Nancy Levesque, a former La Leche League leader. "I immediately put her to my breast and nursed her as we were deciding what hospital to take her to. I'm so glad that I was able to comfort her during this traumatic time, and I believe the act of nursing did help to begin to heal her wound.
- Diaper Rash Gently pat baby's bottom with breastmilk, being especially generous when applying it to reddened or rash areas. Leave baby's diaper off for a few minutes and let the bottom air-dry.
- Ear Infections Place a few drops of breastmilk in the ear; follow with warm (not hot) olive oil and garlic, or bottled garlic mullein oil (sold at natural food stores).
- Red or Puffy Eyes Place two cotton balls saturated with breastmilk over closed eyes for a few minutes - works better than tea bags or cucumber slices!
- Insect Bites With a clean finger, dab breastmilk on the bite; this will help stop the itching.
- Skin Rash/Wounds Apply breastmilk on itchy spots - even chickenpox - for soothing relief. One woman claims that she used her breastmilk to clear up an elderly relative's leg ulcers. It's also possible that breastmilk helps heal skin wounds in nursing women themselves.
- Sore or Cracked Nipples Gently rub milk onto nipples or area of soreness and let air-dry. Another option is to bathe the sore nipple by dipping it into a clean, shallow dish of breastmilk.
- Sore Throats Baby can benefit by directly nursing.
- Warts Leave a breastmilk-saturated cotton ball on the wart for a few minutes twice a day. Continue for several days until the wart dries up.
Liz Laing, ACE, is a freelance writer and mother of four beautiful, breastfed children. She has been a stay-at-home mom for the past 12 years and most recently is overcoming the challenges of single motherhood. A certified childbirth educator and doula, Liz lives in Los Angeles, California.