58 Medicinal, Cosmetic, and Other Alternative Uses for Breastmilk

February 20th, 2012 by Dionna | 28 Comments
Posted in Breastfeeding/Lactivism, Compassionate Advocacy, Feed with Love and Respect, natural parenting

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Breastmilk – it’s not just for babies anymore.1 I’ve compiled some of the amazing (and admittedly strange) uses for breastmilk – nature’s super food. Follow the links for my source cites and/or further studies and information. And while there is research to support some of these claims, keep in mind that most of it is anecdotal – that is, mothers across generations have tried and can attest to the powers of breastmilk.

What is your favorite alternative use for breastmilk? And let me know if I left anything off the list!

    Medicinal

    For Babies Only

  1. Get Rid of Diaper Rash: Breastmilk can help heal diaper rash, so squirt some on, allow it to dry in the air, and watch the rash disappear.
  2. Prevent Diaper Rash: If your little one is prone to diaper rash, go ahead and put breastmilk on her diaper area daily as a preventative measure.
  3. Clear Up Baby Acne and Eczema: Massage breastmilk onto your baby’s face to clear up baby acne.
  4. Cradle Cap: Conventional mama wisdom says to massage breastmilk onto baby’s scalp to get rid of cradle cap.
  5. Donate It: If you have breastmilk in abundant supply, consider donating your milk, either to a friend or acquaintance or through a milk bank.
  6. For Everyone

  7. Pain Relief: The endorphins in breastmilk can actually reduce pain felt by your child, so nurse away anytime your little one gets hurt.2
  8. Ear Infections: Dr. Mercola says that there is a simple solution for childhood ear infections: just “put a few drops of breast milk in the ear canal every few hours. This usually works to clear up the infection within 24-48 hours and is far safer, less expensive and a better solution than putting the child on antibiotics. If the mother is not breastfeeding, it is likely she knows someone who is. All that is required for the treatment is about one half ounce of breast milk . . . .” Mothering suggests following the breastmilk with “warm (not hot) olive oil and garlic, or bottled garlic mullein oil.”
  9. Prevent Childhood Illnesses: Because your baby’s immune system is not mature, the antibodies present in breastmilk can help protect him against a variety of childhood illnesses, including “ear infections, upper and lower respiratory ailments, allergies, intestinal disorders, colds, viruses, staph, strep and e coli infections, diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, many childhood cancers, meningitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, salmonella, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS),” asthma, and more.3
  10. Chicken Pox: Relieve the itch and heal any sores from chicken pox.
  11. Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac: Try dabbing at the itchy spots with a cotton ball soaked in breastmilk.
  12. Prevent Adult Illnesses: Research has also shown that breastfeeding can help give “lifetime protection from Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, some lymphomas, insulin dependent diabetes, . . . breast and ovarian cancer[,]” osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, and others.4
  13. Prevent Illnesses in the Breastfeeding Mother: Breastfeeding reduces the nursing mother’s risk of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer, protects mothers against anemia, and can stabilize the progress of endometriosis.5
  14. Cuts and Scrapes: Breastmilk is actually a natural antiseptic, and it can be used to soothe and promote healing of cuts and scrapes.
  15. Insect Bites and Stings: The antiseptic and antibacterial properties of breastmilk can reduce itching and promote healing of insect bites and stings.
  16. Clogged Tear Ducts: Tons of anecdotal evidence (that is, motherly wisdom) has it that breastmilk can help unclog clogged/blocked tear ducts. Science of Mom took a look at some of the studies behind this cure, and found that breastmilk is indeed safe – and potentially healing – for clogged tear ducts.
  17. Conjunctivitis/Stys: While there have been no studies (to my knowledge) that prove whether breastmilk can help get rid of conjunctivitis or stys, many breastfeeding mothers have found it helpful. And from the research on clogged tear ducts, it may follow that breastmilk – especially colostrum – could be beneficial.
  18. Sleep Aid for Baby/Child: Nucleotides in breastmilk actually help babies go to sleep.
  19. Tranquilizer for Mom: Hormones released in mamas while breastfeeding decrease blood pressure and act to calm and soothe mothers, helping them sleep.6
  20. Congestion in Infants/Children: Breastmilk’s antimicrobial properties can also help babies and children when you squirt it into little noses.
  21. Neti Pot (Congestion in Older Children/Adults): For congestion in adults, try putting breastmilk in a neti pot to flush your nasal passages. If you don’t have a neti pot, just put a few drops of expressed milk in the nose like you would saline.
  22. Sore Throat: Gargle with breastmilk to help fight off a sore throat.
  23. Cold/Flu: Boost your body’s immune system and stay hydrated with breastmilk.
  24. Heal Sore Nipples: Research has actually proven that rubbing breastmilk on sore, cracked nipples leads to shorter healing times than using lanolin.
  25. Cure Cancer: Scientists have found that “[a] substance found in breast milk can kill cancer cells.” Patients have been drinking breastmilk to treat their cancer with successful results.
  26. Cough in Infants/Children: Little ones with a cough need to stay hydrated – give them fluids and environmental-specific antibodies by nursing or expressing breastmilk.
  27. Birth Control: “Lactational amenorrhea is the natural postnatal infertility that occurs when a woman is amenorrheic and fully breastfeeding.” In other words, exclusive breastfeeding can help with child spacing.7
  28. Fever in Infants/Children: For a child with a fever, you want to keep him hydrated. Let him nurse or drink expressed breastmilk – it will quench thirst and provide antibodies.
  29. Cold Sores and Fever Blisters: Pat a cold sore or fever blister with a cotton ball soaked in breastmilk to help promote healing and relieve pain.
  30. Burns: Mothering shares that a burn treated with a mixture of breastmilk and smashed up blueberries will heal more quickly.
  31. Infected Wounds: Apply breastmilk to the infected area to take advantage of its antiseptic properties.
  32. Boost Your Immune System: Antibodies in breastmilk are environment-specific, so drinking breastmilk from a mother in close proximity can help boost an ill person’s – such as a chemo or organ transplant patient’s – immune system.
  33. Skin Rashes and Contact Dermatitis: Breastmilk’s antimicrobial and antiseptic properties can be used to help heal and relieve pain and itchiness of rashes and contact dermatitis.
  34. Sunburn: Gently pat expressed breastmilk onto a sunburn to help ease pain and heal the skin.
  35. Wound Cleaning: If you are out and about and someone gets hurt, use breastmilk to clean out the wound if you do not have access to another cleansing agent.
  36. Warts: According to Mothering, put “a breastmilk-saturated cotton ball on the wart for a few minutes twice a day. Continue for several days until the wart dries up.”
  37. Cosmetic and Practical Uses

  38. Clear Up Teen/Adult Acne: Use a mixture of breastmilk and coconut oil on a cotton ball to help clear up acne in teens and adults.8
  39. Contact Lens Solution: Did you get something on your contact, but you don’t have saline solution handy? Clean it with some expressed breastmilk!
  40. Soap: “Milk is touted as an ideal ingredient for skin care products because it contains essential proteins, amino acids, and vitamin A, which nourishes skin. Milk is also rich in lactic acid, which cleanses and softens.” Check out two recipes for breastmilk soap and one Etsy shop that sells breastmilk soap.
  41. Make-up Removal: Use breastmilk on a cotton ball or pad to remove make-up and soften skin.
  42. Red or Puffy Eyes: If you don’t have cucumber slices for your puffy eyes, saturate two cotton balls with cold breastmilk.
  43. Moisten Chapped Lips: If you run out of lip balm and need instant relief, rub some breastmilk on your lips.
  44. Deodorant: One of my readers shares that she uses breastmilk as deodorant. Just rub some milk on your clean underarms and let dry.
  45. Lotion: One resourceful mama has published a recipe for a homemade breastmilk, oats, and honey lotion.
  46. baby food

    For Consumption

  47. Ice Cream: Many kids say that breastmilk tastes like melted ice cream, so making ice cream out of breastmilk only make sense.
  48. Cupcakes: Melodie from Breastfeeding Moms Unite actually made and ate cupcakes made with breastmilk. She kind of rocks.
  49. Popsicles: Either freeze plain old breastmilk into those little plastic popsicle forms, or jazz it up with some green smoothie add-ins. Let teething toddlers have healthy, cold relief.
  50. Mesh Feeder: If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can also freeze breastmilk into ice cube trays, then put some in a mesh feeder for teething toddlers.
  51. Baby Food: If you are making your little one fresh baby food, add some breastmilk to the mix!
  52. Cheese: Chef Daniel Angerer offers a breastmilk cheese recipe, if you have some milk to spare.
  53. Coffee Creamer: It’s milk. It’s sweet. It’s sweet milk for your coffee!
  54. Butter: I really want to try this easy recipe.
  55. Yogurt: Mmm yogurt! Here’s a recipe for yogurt made from breastmilk.
  56. Sherbet: What a great way to help a little one with a fever or a sore throat – sherbet made from mama milk!
  57. Bread: Create your own breastmilk bread starter with this recipe.
  58. Soup: Mothers can replace cow milk with breastmilk in cream soups. This mama tried it with Cream of Carrot soup and proclaimed it “not bad.”
  59. Anything that Calls for Milk: You can use breastmilk in just about any recipe that calls for milk; this site has recipes for everything from macaroni and cheese to french toast.
  60. For Everything Else

  61. Necklaces: Memorialize your nursing years into a necklace. Here is one where the milk has been made into a plastic-like substance by solidifying the casein content. Hollyday Designs makes beautiful necklaces with “milk beads” in different shapes.
  62. Sexual Lubricant: Express breastmilk and use it as you would any lubricant.

________________________

Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with your health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician. Nothing you read here should be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment.

  1. Many thanks to Amy at Anktangle, who has researched this topic in the past.
  2. See #65 in 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child
  3. See #10, 23-33, and 91 in 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child for citations to further reading
  4. See #6, 17, 18, 34, 39, and 87 in 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child for citations to further reading
  5. See #4, 13, 20, and 93 in 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child for citations to further reading
  6. See #53 and 67 in 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child for citations to further reading
  7. See #45 in 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child for citations to further reading
  8. Or not, as Lauren of Hobo Mama would attest to.

28 Responses to:
"58 Medicinal, Cosmetic, and Other Alternative Uses for Breastmilk"

  1. Love this! I’m especially curious right now about using it as a deodorant, never heard that one before! I may have to try it :-)

  2. Sibylle

    And where is the evidence those things work ?

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      Sibylle – where possible, I’ve linked to information in each bullet point. For many, the information is anecdotal – lots of moms can attest to the fact that breastmilk helps with x, y, or z. I’d be all for scientific studies on it, though!

  3. Christine Mfo   _tubbytelly

    I wish I had know this two years ago when I was looking for answers and still lactating!

  4. Kate

    This is actually perfect timing for me :) Now that I have a new nursling I’ve been giving my toddler expressed milk for his colds but it never occurred to me to put it on his diaper rash (and boy does his have a bad one after pooping during naptime yesterday).

  5. Amy G   mamagatzemeyer

    Great information! Thank you! I just did a post on breastmilk and illness/pain, and it made me wonder about other uses. And, now you’ve answered my questions! Especially about diaper rash- I’m battling my first case at almost 11 months, and it makes me sad!

  6. Angie Bond

    Healthy mothers with milk that has been handled and stored properly can connect with local mothers in need and donate directly through Eats On Feets. This builds a great bond between families and enables a network of lactating moms to be in place in the event of natural disaster to make sure babies eat safely! eatsonfeets.org and state chapters can be found on facebook.

  7. Mama Eew   http://imdreamingupreality.blogspot.com/

    Awesome post! Many of these I already do without even realizing the “goodness” we were actually getting out of it! Also, I can attest to using breast milk as deodorant ;). Any time my underarms have a serious breakout (either rash from shaving or reaction to a new product I’m using) I use breast milk ONLY until it clears up. Awesome use and works very quickly ;). I’ve been using it on my adult acne for over a year now (twice a day after washing my face and before my moisturizer). I’ve seen a huge difference and my face is super clear and even old acne scars are fading, it’s a miracle elixir I tell ya ;). God really knew what He was doing when He designed the female body and gave us the ability to lactate :-D.

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I can definitely see why it would work as a way to clear up a rash under your arm! Have you noticed that it actually help with smell, though? And I fixed your link, btw ;)

  8. laura   mamapoekie

    love this. sharing in next surf

  9. Amy

    I have used it for Stys on myself and it works great. I use it on my rosacea. As soon at I am done washing my face I put some on the affected area. I also still use the medicine I have been prescribed. I think the breast milk really helps with the puffyness and redness better that the medicine did.
    My oldest son poured bubbles on his head the other day also ended up in his eyes (he is 5, not the smartest thing he has ever done). No matter how much I rinsed them he kept crying that they hurt so I flushed them out with a bit of breastmilk and he quit crying right away.

  10. Boobs really ARE magical! lol

    I saw this link posted on a friend’s FB today, via KellyMom. It makes me giggle like I know someone famous. ;-)

  11. crystal

    Sclerosis… not Sclorosis..

    and is there scientific study that all this works?

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      You win the prize for finding my typo ;) And there is research to support some of the claims (at the links), but much of it is anecdotal.

  12. Ayelet   ayeletschwell

    True story: DH was walking our 5 yr old DD to school one day. She was skipping along ahead of him then stopped and said, “my ear is hurting…. Oh, Mommy will put some milk in it when I get home!” And I did! For the few months between weaning each kid and the birth of the next, I was at a loss for my favorite cure-all!

  13. Keisha

    I love this!!! I don’t understand why people think that breast feeding or using breast milk as an adult is “unnatural”. God made women lactate for a reason, human consumption.

  14. Marie

    Interesting ideas. I have used freshly-expressed breast milk on some of my acne. It worked well. I have some in the freezer that my son will probably not drink. Can I defrost it and use it for my skin? If so, how would I store it after it’s been defrosted? (ie: will it go bad within 24 hours like when you defrost it for your child)

    • Dionna   CodeNameMama

      I don’t know if I’d use it much longer after it turns. I had some in the fridge last week for colds/cradle cap, and I put it on Ailia’s head – then took a big whiff. Ew. She got a bath that day. But that’s just me ;) I don’t know if the benefits are still present after it turns. Maybe you could freeze it in smaller quantities to use for those purposes? I’m thinking ice cube trays, then put them in a baggie?

  15. Dawn   naturalmomra

    This is great! Linking it to my links page on the website!

  16. Sylvia

    Also use for Pinkeye infection!

  17. maleahbliss

    Here’s a link for breastmilk lotion: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/05/breastmilk-oat-honey-lotion.html. I haven’t tried it yet, but want to. :)

  18. Wow, what a fantastic list. I knew breastmilk was the stuff miracles were made of, but I hadn’t even thought of some of these uses… warts for instance, brilliant!

  19. I was just with my friend last night and she was squirting milk in her baby’s eye (clogged tear duct).

    I love that there are 58 uses (such a random number) and the wide assortment of uses listed!

  20. Crucilla Koon

    THESE ARE ALL AMAZING IDEAS ! THANK YOU !!! p.s sorry for the caps! lol

  21. sc2987

    There’s a study showing colostrum is better than antibiotics for conjunctivitis, there’s no reason this wouldn’t hold true for mature milk too:

    Verd, S. Switch from antibiotic eye drops to instillation of mother’s milk drops as a treatment of infant epiphora. J Trop Pediatr. 53(1): p. 68-9. 2007.

  22. Lynn

    What is the freezer life for these medicinal purposes? Same as consumption ?? Like if I wanted to make soap or use for scrapes is it only for a year in freezer or will it be ok to use longer as long as not ingested?

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