Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Wonders of Breastmilk

My daughter came down with a case of conjunctivitis. Pink eye. I didn't suspect it, in fact I was alarmed by the redness, swelling, discharge and pain because night before last during a water gun fight she was hit with a direct stream of water in her left eye. And within two hours, her eye was hurting and swelling, and goopy. So yesterday morning I took her to urgent care, suspecting a terrible scratch. Nope. Just pink eye. Uncomfortable and gross but much better than I thought.
And then I failed as a parent. I forgot to drop off the prescription for the antibiotic ointment. I had planned on picking it up when I went to the store, but an impromptu visit from Grandpa and a trip to the pool changed my afternoon and we had pancakes for dinner because 4 hours in the pool equaled cranky, tired and hungry kids as soon as they walked in the door. I was in a hurry to do baths and get 3, 4 and 5 in the tub and into bed before EVERYONE had a meltdown. So I failed. And I felt terrible.
We're not the kind of parents to rush our kids to the Dr for everything. Not even a cold or the flu phases us much anymore. Cuts, weird looking poop, puking toddlers are all taken in stride and addressed at home. We avoid medication whenever possible, which is about 98% of the time. Because should they get really sick and need medication, we don't want them to have a resistance. We also want their immune systems to work out their own kinks as naturally as possible whenever possible.
That's not to say we don't give them motrin or tylenol or other needed medications...because we do, when they're necessary. But we also do hot baths, steam, hot and cold compresses, lots of water and broth and teas for a variety of ailments. So how do we fix a bacterial infection that obviously needs medication, when we can't get it, or the pharmacy is closed when you suddenly remember you didn't pick it up?
Breastmilk. Yep, breastmilk. That stuff with all the goodies in it for our babies. Turns out, it's perfect for pretty much anything. And I mean ANYTHING. I pretty much knew this. I breastfeed my babes for a reason, right? I've used it for sore nipples, cuts and rashes, but there's a lot of things it's good for besides. Every one already knows the virtues of breastfeeding our babies, and some of the other things it can do, so I'm not going to wax poetic about it (although I could because it's super!). But do you know what else it can do for you and your family?
 It can help ear infections,  exzema, psoriasis,  cradle cap, diaper rashes. It can even help with the chicken pox! It helps sore throats too. You can also use it in your hair and on your skin as a regular beauty regimen. And for all you contact lens wearers out there, you can apparently store your contacts in it! Supposedly it's extra moisturizing in addition to all the antibacterial properties. I am going to give it a shot, because who doesn't need a little extra boost of germ killers for their contacts??
And, it most definitely works on pink eye. I kid you not! I panicked a bit when I realized I had forgotten the prescription,  and then I remembered reading about the wonder drug that is breastmilk. My daughter's eye looked horrendous. Swollen, and red. She looked like she lost a fight. So I pumped 2 teaspoons of milk into a little clean cup, sucked it up with an infant medication syringe and put a couple drops in her eye. And then forgot about it for awhile during evening clean up. As we were relaxing on the couch, I looked at her and her eye was so much better! The swelling was down by half. The redness outside the eye had gone down significantly.  And she said it felt better too. So I dosed her again. Hey, I know a good thing when I see it! When she got in bed, it looked way better than it had 3 hours prior. And the great thing is, anyone's breastmilk will work! You can use donated milk from a friend or family member if you're not nursing for a whole host of things. PLUS It's free.
If you're a nursing mom,  pump a few ounces here and there, and freeze it in ice cube trays then store in a freezer bag. Pop one out when the mosquitoes start biting and rub it on the bite and it'll sooth and heal. Defrost one and put some drops in your child's ear when they have an earache. Add some cubes to some healing tea and let it help tummy aches and sore throats.  Or, defrost it and cook with it! Works perfect when you're out of milk. Plus, who doesn't need an extra immune boost? Serve it INSTEAD of regular milk. Put it in oatmeal or rice or a smoothie and no one will know. (In case you have a squeamish one in the bunch.)
I am NOT a physician. While I do encourage natural healing, I can't promise a miracle cure. And what works for me, or you, may not work for someone else. But there's tons of research and proof that breastmilk can and does help so many ailments. Check it out for yourself. Talk to your doctors. Call the Le Leche League. Try it!
At the very least, use it on your hair. The shine people!

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