Breastfeeding is known to be immensely beneficial for babies. Breast milk contains numerous nutrients, minerals and vitamins necessary for growth and development of babies. Also, breast milk contains high amount of fat, thus causing an increase in baby’s weight. Everything the baby needs during his or her first year of life is concentrated in mom’s breast milk.
Can Breast Milk Heal?
Besides being used solely for the purpose of feeding, breast milk is also considered to have healing abilities and to be able to cure some illnesses and injuries. Namely, breastfeeding can decrease the risk of heart diseases, SIDS and different childhood cancers, while it should also decrease the probability of breast cancer in nursing mother. Many women have been using breast milk to cure sore nipples, cuts, scrapes and scratches, as well as their babies’ ear or eye infections.
Doctors explain that breast milk does contain antibodies and can actually be used to treat some minor injuries or illnesses. Antibodies fight against present germs, preventing infection or killing harmful bacteria and viruses. If you apply some breast milk to the problematic (infected) area, it is likely to resolve the issue. However, do not expect breast milk to kill all bacteria and ease all problems, but better ask for some conventional medical help to be sure the disease or infection is completely cured.
Breast Milk and Eye Problems
Conjunctivitis or pink eye is one of very common infections of the eyes in newborns. This problem may be quite unpleasant, causing soreness, inflammation and crusting of the eye(s) and it can also be an extremely contagious condition. To treat this problem, some people advise using breast milk, squirting some and applying small amount of it to the affected eye. Try to lift the eyelid a little bit and help breast milk to enter under the eyelid (for conjunctivitis can also cause redness of the inside of the eyelids). Such treatment is recommended to be performed for several days, three times per day. Any worsening or persistent symptoms must be reported to your pediatrician and treated promptly.
Scientists have discovered that a certain antibody known as immunoglobulin A is the one responsible for breast milk benefits against conjunctivitis. This immunoglobulin prevents bacteria from attaching to the surface of the eye, limits their multiplication, resolving this eye problem.
Many experts have not agreed on benefits of breast milk regarding eye infections and you can hear advocates for and against the use of breast milk for this problem. Those against claim that most cases of conjunctivitis resolve on their own and that the use of colostrum can cause additional infections. However, those in favor of breast milk use for the eyes say this is a natural and proper treatment for any baby or adult that will not do any harm to anyone.