It’s not just the milk your baby drinks that can boost her health – mothers the world over have used breast-milk as a cure-all for minor aches and pains from rashes and itchy bites, to relieving sunburn, unblocking snotty noses and soothing grazes. And it’s not only babies who are bathing in the benefits of this liquid gold. It seems people of all ages and cultures are finding surprising ways to boost their health with magic mothers’ milk – from body builders in the United States, to the wealthy elderly in China.
Bodybuilders are using breast milk to put on more muscle, arguing that it has special properties that make it superior to just about any other food. A cup of breast milk contains about 170 calories a cup (20 more than whole milk), 10 grams of fat, 16 carbs, and 2 grams of protein (5 less than whole milk), as well as vitamins and minerals and several growth hormones. While breast milk is designed to support the rapid growth of babies, the jury is still out on whether this has similar effects on grown men – other than reports from the body builders themselves.
According to reports from Guangzhou’s Southern Metropolis Daily and the BBC, breast milk is the new luxury snack for wealthy adults in China, Proponents cite breast milk’s high nutritional value, as adult wet nurses are being paid between $2000 to $4000 per month. In parts of China, there is the belief that human breast milk contains the most nutritional value for people that are ill.
The antibodies in breast milk, IgG, IgA, IgM, IgD and IgE, which are secretory IgA molecules, combat diseases without causing inflammation. This is why breastfed babies are often protected from various illnesses such as diarrhea, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal disease and even asthma symptoms. Studies into the antibacterial agents of mother’s milk reveal that compounds in human milk ‘human alpha-lactalbumin made lethal to tumor cells’ — also known as HAMLET — have been linked to killing 40 types of cancer cells in tests, says the National Institutes of Health. According to researchers at the University of Buffalo HAMLET can help treat people with those nasty superbugs that cause pneumonia, MRSA, and staph infections.
While you are most likely not considering selling your breastmilk to body builders or becoming a wet nurse to adults whatever the price, there are some amazing and unusual uses for your magic mama milk that you can try at home.
Five ways to use breast milk at home:
Healing sore nipples: If you have sore nipples, you could be better off ditching the creams and potions and rubbing some fresh breast milk on your nipples. Studies show that breast milk is more effective than lanolin at healing damaged nipples. Simply rub breast milk onto your nipples and let it dry after you feed your baby. It will soothe soreness and kill any bacteria that could lead to mastitis if bugs enter cracks in the skin.
Conjunctivitis: the amazing antibacterial properties in breast milk work a treat for babies’ sticky eyes or older kids who get an infection. You can simply squirt fresh breast milk in your child’s eyes or use an eye dropper, but do check with your Dr any time your child’s eyes look buggy, especially if a bit of boob isn’t clearing them up quickly.
Facial cleanser: Breast milk can be a cheap facial cleanser – simply squirt some onto a cotton ball and use it to remove makeup or apply breast milk to your skin and wipe off with tissues or a clean towel.
Your Mama milk could also be an effective remedy for teenage acne (an added bonus if you have teenagers and a baby, but good luck convincing your teenager to try this!): according to a report in the Daily Telegraph, University of California, San Diego, scientist, Dissaya Pornpattananangkul found the lauric acid in human breast milk targets skin bacteria that causes acne and, because it is a natural substance, there are no side effects. To use breast milk as an acne solution, rinse your face with water, then apply breast milk all over the infected area and let it air-dry.
Ear infections: Please check with your doctor if your baby seems to have a sore ear (red ear, pulling at his ear and waking, screaming in pain), but if ear ache strikes at 3 am this could be handy to try: according to US Osteopathic Physician, Dr Joseph Mercola, the antibacterial properties in breast milk make it a natural remedy to treat an ear infection in infants and even adults. He advises, three to four drops of breast milk into the baby’s ear will suffice, and the drops should be administered at the entrance of the ear canal, not directly into it.
Breast Milk Jewellery: If you would like a precious memento of your breastfeeding days, you can have a wee bit of your mama milk specially preserved and made into beautiful keepsake jewellery. You can get your jewellery professionally created or try this at home with a do it yourself kit
Pinky McKay is an Internationally Certified Lactation Consultant and best selling baby care author. She is also the creator of Boobie Bikkies, all natural and organic health food cookies to boost energy and support a healthy breastmilk supply. Download your FREE ebook “Making More Mummy Milk, Naturally “ by Pinky McKay.