Miracle Milk: 10 Cool Things You May Not Know About Breast Milk

 Writing about the need for more education about breastfeeding reminded me of the things I did not know about breast milk a year ago.  I thought I’d share a few.  If you know of any more, please let me know!

  1. Breast milk changes to meet the specific needs of your child.   Moms with premature babies make milk that is much higher in fat content and protective antibodies, for example.  The milk you produce for an 8 month old is not same that you produce for a newborn, or a two year old.  I had this image of breast milk being something static, like getting cow’s milk out of the fridge.  I think it’s pretty neat that it’s adaptable.
  2. Along those same lines, on hot days breast milk is actually becomes more watery, which helps to prevent dehydration.
  3. You can use breast milk as a decongestant–just a few drops up the nose works just as well (if not better) than saline solution.  I’ve actually done this on J when he had a cold.
  4. Breastfeeding is a natural pain reliever. In studies, they have found that infants that were breastfed before, during, and after procedures (such as immunizations or heel pricks) had lower responses on pain scales (which they usually measure not only by reactions such as crying, but also heart rate and oxygen saturation) than infants who were simply held or given a pacifier with sugar water (which has also been shown to ease pain).  In the two minutes following the procedures, the breastfed infants cried only 8% of the time, where the infants who were given sugar water cried 56% of the time.  I know this from personal experience: not only does J stop crying as soon as I start to nurse him after his shots, but when he falls or hurts himself somehow nursing is the number one way that I comfort him.  Thirty seconds of nursing, and he’s all better, ready to try again!  So much better than mommy’s kisses. 
  5. Breast milk is not only packed with nutrients, it also has antibodies which help fight off illnesses and protects them from many health problems.  It is more like human blood than cow’s milk because it has white blood cells.  It’s nutrition, comfort, and immune system, all in one!
  6. You can use breast milk to help treat ear/eye/sinus infections, including pink eye.
  7. Breast milk can be also be used on diaper rash, cuts, scrapes, eczema, and acne!  It works just as well as the diaper rash creams you can buy, and you don’t  have to worry about allergic reactions.
  8. Have a bug bite?  Using breast milk helps ease the itch.  You can also use it on bee stings and chicken pox.
  9. Breast milk helps fight tooth decay.  In fact, all efforts by researchers to grow bacteria in breast milk (including the bacteria that causes tooth decay) were completely unsuccessful. 
  10. Patients who receive organ transplants often use breast milk after surgery to help fight off infection and boost immunity.

8 Responses to “Miracle Milk: 10 Cool Things You May Not Know About Breast Milk”

  1. 1 Kitty Scarless September 27, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    You didn’t mention taste…Formula tastes like bitter, icky, vitamins crushed then mixed with water. It is gross! Breast Milk is so much better.

    Kitty S.

  2. 2 mamajade September 27, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Oh, yes, that is true, and I hate the way formula smells (which I think I mentioned in my previous breastfeeding rant. For this post, I was going more for the neat things about breast milk that might not be commong knowledge (or at least, they weren’t common knowledge to me). =)

  3. 3 bebehblog September 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    I put breastmilk on my pimples and it clears them up faster than any cream I’ve ever bought. It really works on the baby’s cuts and scrapes too. I actually put a bottle full in the baby’s bath the other day to treat a mystery rash – it was gone in less than 12 hours!

    • 4 mamajade September 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm

      It never would have occured to me to add it to his bath. J has had little red bumps on his arms and cheeks for a little over a week now, maybe I’ll try that tonight.

  4. 5 theadamyouknow September 27, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Also excellent in coffee!

    Just kidding, sorry… 😀

    • 6 mamajade September 27, 2009 at 10:42 pm

      Well, you know, it *is* sweet, so maybe. And it would be like adding immunity boost to your coffee, like they do with the smoothies. You should try it, get back to me. 🙂

  5. 7 mamajade September 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Just as an update, I tried giving J a milk bath last night, and less than 24 hours later, the diaper rash is pretty much gone! The mysterious red bumps on his arms are still there, but he didn’t really soak his arms like he did his bum, so we’ll try again tonight.

  6. 8 marla September 29, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    that is completely fascinating. I am going to try my breast….er uhmm best to breast feed when I have a little carpet monkey.

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