It’s called “liquid gold” for a reason.
Another possible benefit of breast milk has surfaced on a Facebook group about breastfeeding. A mom posted a photo of the eczema she’s gotten from excessive hand-washing and use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers during the coronavirus pandemic. According to Pei Sun Lei, nothing helped her dry, cracked hands until she started soaking them in her breast milk.
It may sound wacky to the uninitiated, but breast milk has been known to help with eczema in babies. One study found that applying breast milk to a baby’s atopic eczema was as beneficial as treating it with hydrocortisone, which is often prescribed to treat the condition.
Breast milk “has many immunologic and anti-infective agents that act as natural antimicrobials,” found the study, published in the International Journal of Dermatology. “It also contains protective factors that provide specific and nonspecific passive immunity.”
Another study found it helped in treating some forms of diaper rash. (Word to the wise: Yeast infection are not included. Diaper rash caused by a yeast infection will not be helped by breast milk.)
Watch: The evolution of breastfeeding. Story continues below.
Some other weirdly helpful uses
In addition to, you know, keeping babies alive, breast milk has a number of bonus uses.
There aren’t many medical studies to back these all up, but bug bites, eye discharge, stuffy noses, sunburns and chapped lips can all be helped with a few drops of breast milk.
A few are specific to nursing parents. Midwife Esther Willms told Today’s Parent an easy way to soothe raw, chapped nipples due to breastfeeding is to express a little bit of milk and let it air dry. “There are good antibiotic properties in the breastmilk,” she said.
Last year, Swedish researchers started looking to a compound found in breast milk that mysteriously destroyed tumours. Their first major clinical trial found that people with bladder cancer benefitted significantly when they were treated with the compound, and they plan to try with other kinds of cancer, too.
Yes, there are some limits
While it’s beneficial in many ways, non-parents shouldn’t rush out to consume breast milk. It turns out it’s not, as some corners of the internet would have you believe, an effective way for grown men to build more muscle mass.
Yes, it’s full of nutrients, but sports dietitian Brian St. Pierre told Men’s Health that breast milk doesn’t actually contain enough protein for adults.
It’s also illegal to sell breast milk online, and Health Canada warns that unprocessed milk can contain harmful substances.
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