The Healing Power of Breast Milk
We all know how beneficial breastfeeding can be for our babies. Breast milk contains all of the vitamins and minerals babies need to grow and develop. It is high in fat, helping babies to set down fat stores and gain weight. And every woman produces breast milk that is specifically tailored to the needs of her own baby. But can breast milk do more than just provide a nutritional meal for baby? You may have heard that many women use breast milk to treat a variety of illnesses, but does breast milk really have healing powers? This article will give you the lowdown on whether or not breast milk can really help to heal all that ails you.
My Milk Can Do What?
Whether you are surfing the internet or flipping through your favorite parenting magazine, you have probably come across numerous references to breast milk. You may have also discovered that breast milk isn’t only used for breastfeeding your child. In fact, breast milk is often used to help heal minor illnesses and injuries. But what can breast milk supposedly heal? Well, breast milk is purportedly able to heal:
- conjunctivitis or "pink eye"
- ear infections
- scrapes, scratches, and cuts
- sore nipples
Breast milk can supposedly also lower the risk of childhood cancers, SIDS, heart disease, and breast cancer.
Does Breast Milk Really Heal?
Many doctors, researchers, and scientist agree that breast milk does appear to have healing properties that can prove beneficial when it comes to treating minor illnesses and injuries. This is because of the antibodies that breast milk contains. Just as breast milk provides your baby with necessary antibodies to fight off infection, it can also work to kill off bacteria and viruses when applied topically to problem areas.
Nevertheless, breast milk is probably not potent enough to completely kill off infections and other illnesses. Most health care providers do recommend that you seek traditional medical care for these problems, in order to ensure that they completely heal. However, two common illnesses that appear to be helped by the use of breast milk include pink eye and sore nipples.
Conjuctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is a type of eye infection that is highly contagious and very unpleasant to have. It causes the eye to become inflamed, crusted, and sore. Many people treat conjunctivitis by applying a small amount of breast milk to the affected eye. A particular antibody in the breast milk, called immunoglobulin A, prevents the pink eye bacteria from attaching to the mucosal surface of the eye. This limits the growth of the bacteria, helping to end the eye infection.