58 Medicinal, Cosmetic, and Other Alternative Uses for Breastmilk
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Clear Up Baby Acne and Eczema: Massage breastmilk onto your baby’s face to clear up baby acne.
- Cradle Cap: Conventional mama wisdom says to massage breastmilk onto baby’s scalp to get rid of cradle cap.
- Donate It: If you have breastmilk in abundant supply, consider donating your milk, either to a friend or acquaintance or through a milk bank.
- Pain Relief: The endorphins in breastmilk can actually reduce pain felt by your child, so nurse away anytime your little one gets hurt.2
- 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.”
- 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
- Chicken Pox: Relieve the itch and heal any sores from chicken pox.
- Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac: Try dabbing at the itchy spots with a cotton ball soaked in breastmilk.
- 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
- 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
- Cuts and Scrapes: Breastmilk is actually a natural antiseptic, and it can be used to soothe and promote healing of cuts and scrapes.
- Insect Bites and Stings: The antiseptic and antibacterial properties of breastmilk can reduce itching and promote healing of insect bites and stings.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sleep Aid for Baby/Child: Nucleotides in breastmilk actually help babies go to sleep.
- Tranquilizer for Mom: Hormones released in mamas while breastfeeding decrease blood pressure and act to calm and soothe mothers, helping them sleep.6
- Congestion in Infants/Children: Breastmilk’s antimicrobial properties can also help babies and children when you squirt it into little noses.
- 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.
- Sore Throat: Gargle with breastmilk to help fight off a sore throat.
- Cold/Flu: Boost your body’s immune system and stay hydrated with breastmilk.
- Heal Sore Nipples: Research has actually proven that rubbing breastmilk on sore, cracked nipples leads to shorter healing times than using lanolin.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Burns: Mothering shares that a burn treated with a mixture of breastmilk and smashed up blueberries will heal more quickly.
- Infected Wounds: Apply breastmilk to the infected area to take advantage of its antiseptic properties.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sunburn: Gently pat expressed breastmilk onto a sunburn to help ease pain and heal the skin.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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
- Contact Lens Solution: Did you get something on your contact, but you don’t have saline solution handy? Clean it with some expressed breastmilk!
- 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.
- Make-up Removal: Use breastmilk on a cotton ball or pad to remove make-up and soften skin.
- Red or Puffy Eyes: If you don’t have cucumber slices for your puffy eyes, saturate two cotton balls with cold breastmilk.
- Moisten Chapped Lips: If you run out of lip balm and need instant relief, rub some breastmilk on your lips.
- Deodorant: One of my readers shares that she uses breastmilk as deodorant. Just rub some milk on your clean underarms and let dry.
- Lotion: One resourceful mama has published a recipe for a homemade breastmilk, oats, and honey lotion.
- Ice Cream: Many kids say that breastmilk tastes like melted ice cream, so making ice cream out of breastmilk only make sense.
- Cupcakes: Melodie from Breastfeeding Moms Unite actually made and ate cupcakes made with breastmilk. She kind of rocks.
- 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.
- 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.
- Baby Food: If you are making your little one fresh baby food, add some breastmilk to the mix!
- Cheese: Chef Daniel Angerer offers a breastmilk cheese recipe, if you have some milk to spare.
- Coffee Creamer: It’s milk. It’s sweet. It’s sweet milk for your coffee!
- Butter: I really want to try this easy recipe.
- Yogurt: Mmm yogurt! Here’s a recipe for yogurt made from breastmilk.
- Sherbet: What a great way to help a little one with a fever or a sore throat – sherbet made from mama milk!
- Bread: Create your own breastmilk bread starter with this recipe.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- Sexual Lubricant: Express breastmilk and use it as you would any lubricant.
For Babies Only
Cosmetic and Practical Uses
For Everything Else
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.
- Many thanks to Amy at Anktangle, who has researched this topic in the past. ↩
- See #65 in 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child ↩
- See #10, 23-33, and 91 in 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child for citations to further reading ↩
- See #6, 17, 18, 34, 39, and 87 in 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child for citations to further reading ↩
- See #4, 13, 20, and 93 in 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child for citations to further reading ↩
- See #53 and 67 in 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child for citations to further reading ↩
- See #45 in 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child for citations to further reading ↩
- Or not, as Lauren of Hobo Mama would attest to. ↩
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"58 Medicinal, Cosmetic, and Other Alternative Uses for Breastmilk"
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