It's like miracle juice. After reading this you will agree breast really is best for practically everything. It's so good at healing that I found myself squirting friends to heal their infected cuts, nettle stings, insect bites; and for the baby it was like having a pharmacy in my boobs. But - you don't get this pharma gift easily; breastfeeding isn't automatic - baby on boob and boom!... It is an art form that takes practice, patience, support and the passing down of wisdom with respect. I'm so grateful that I was surrounded by people who gave me this wisdom from the old ways. It is the greatest gift, a pleasure; but also a literal lifesaver. There are few things more gut-wrenching than feeling helpless seeing a baby suffer, and the boobs have saved us time and time again; especially while traveling, where you're inevitably a little disorientated as it's a new place, and may not always have medicine at hand straight away. The boobs are always there. I write this in the hope to spread this knowledge, and help parents have the choice to use all the possibilities of healing that lie in those beautiful bosoms.
"In addition to antibodies, breast milk contains more than 100,000 constituents, which can influence the growth, development and immune status of the infant."
Quoted from an article by Future Virology on Medscape.
I have tried to find quotes from medical articles to explain scientifically what I have mentioned in this post; however, what I write is all from my personal experience; what has worked for me may not work for others, but I hope it helps. Also I must mention that in my case, as well as in the scientific articles I found, the information is based on exclusively breastfed babies, who, in addition, are fed on-demand. Here is my personal list of what I use my miracle boob juice for...
1.Conjunctivitis, red-eye, or eye irritations
Method: with clean hands, express a little milk directly on the eye and swish it about; or sometimes on my finger helps too
Eye infections are apparently quite common in newborn babies. So common in fact, that in some hospitals eye drops at birth are common practice to avoid conjunctivitis. We opted out of this option as we felt it was invasive and unnecessary. Ayün has not had any need for eyedrops since birth; he is now currently 20 months. We have not wrapped him in cotton wool either; he has been quite exposed to everything: dogs and their very dribbly kisses, cats, mud, travel, people, and the occasional poop party - we've all been there, it just takes a millisecond... Back to the point, I personally have used milk as soon as I have seen eye exposure to something, like a very stinky dog lick his eye, or if a woft of dust blew on his face. So I've used it almost like a preventative. In the image below you can see how anti-bacterial breast milk is. Ayün, up to now (19 months) has not had a full blown eye infection, just irritations, and I nip it in the bud. However, I have seen babies very upset and uncomfortable with full blown junky pink eyes. I would mention popping a little milk on, and seen that even at that stage of pink eye the milk has avoided the need for antibiotic eye drops, and soothed an irritated baby strait away. Obviously eyes are so delicate that it's best to see a doctor if you feel the infection is too great; but on the way to the docs it may sooth baby in the meantime. Here are some petri dishes that show why booblie is so awesome.
*Writers Note: Since writing this Ayun (now 29 months old) had a full blown eye infection as I didn't put milk on in time before to prevent. It was so bad I didn't know if boob was going to cure it completely, it did. I got in contact with the doctor, while waiting for a call back during covid madness, I continued treating his eyes by cleaning and breastmilk regularly, I was so worried, however it was healed by the time they called me back 2 days later. Didn't even need to go to a pharmacy. I was very relieved. As was Ayun :)
2. Potential ear infections:
Method: express milk straight into both ears while baby lies on their side, letting drops travel in with a little jiggle of the ear
Again, I have used milk as a preventative. If Ayün has swam and I saw lots of water getting into his ears, or the water was rather full of babies and all that that entails, I would squirt a little boob in the ears. So far, he hasn't had an ear infection. I have noticed when he holds his ears and seems irritated, and squirted them too. I don't know if that has been the first sign that his ear was about to get infected or if it was his teeth, but so far he hasn't had an infection. I'm aware that some babies have a propensity to ear infections, I know I did as a kid, and I don't know how effective milk is once the ear has become infected as I haven't known anyone who had a child with an ear infection and cured it with milk. Perhaps it's because everyone I know is shoving milk left right and center, or we are just a lucky bunch whose kids don't get ear infections. Also, baby's ears, nose and mouth are still all connected; the connective tissue that separates the passages doesn't grow until later, so the milk, while drinking, may also be preventing an infection.
3. Healing cuts
Method: pop freshly expressed milk directly onto minor cut, covering all the cut with milk and letting it air dry
So I have used this on my baby and adults alike. Luckily Ayün has never had any serious cuts; just a few grazes, but none have got infected, and they've healed very fast. I never had to use savlon; not even a plaster. Very handy. Also to add, when he is upset from being hurt, I find that breastfeeding is an amazing soother; he will stop crying almost straight away, nosh away for a bit and then back to his bouncy self.
I have also used my milk for adults. I really saw the power of milk in Guatemala. A friend cut her palm deep enough to get an infection. She didn't need stitches, but due to the location I think she found it hard to maintain the cut aired to heal. She put savlon on it and all sorts of stuff and it was just getting worse. I offered a bit of milk, three times in the day, and by the next day it had finally scarred shut, no more infection. We were all very pleased. How did the boob do this? Well.. when milk was studied it was found that the milk contained:
"molecules that help clear infections, reduce inflammation, combat pain and heal wounds."
Taken from an article in sciencedaily.com
4. Healing and soothing burns
Method: pop freshly expressed milk directly onto minor burn, covering all the burn with milk and letting it air dry
Ayün has touched a few hot agas and ovens with curious little fingers. As we all know, burns are really horrid and don't tend to stop stinging. I would pop boob on and it seemed to sooth the sting; and the burn would heal very fast. I tried it on myself and felt how soothing it was. My burn was so bad I thought it would leave a blister but it disappeared the next day.
Method: pop freshly expressed breast milk directly onto minor burn, covering all the burn with the milk and letting it air dry.
Again, epic soother much like with a heat burn. Obviously babies should not be exposed to sun at all. I have used it mostly on me and my partner, putting milk on our sunburn and we have avoided peeling and that horrible itchy feeling after a burn; and redness goes faster. But you do need to put it on quite frequently.
6. Nappy rash/red bum/irritated baby bum
Method: pop freshly expressed milk directly onto nappy rash, covering all the rash, crevices and surrounding area with milk and letting it air dry FULLY. Leave baby nappy free for as long as possible; apply milk after every pee, poo and bath, making sure they are clean and dry
He got a very red bum twice since he was born; both times we healed and instantly soothed his bum with boob milk. I used milk after every nappy change using the method in the title above. After a few months I didn't need to put milk on his bum every change. He hasn't had a bum rash since. When I see he may have a little bit red I pop milk on and air dry and so far it has worked. We got into Elimination Communication when Ayün was about a month. We have never bought or used any baby creams, diaper creams or anything of that ilk - we have our pure carrier oils we use for us - like shea, coconut and sesame oils, with no additives or essencial oils - but have never really needed to use any on Ayün. We give him a massage with sesame or coconut oil, but we are lucky his skin doesn't get dry often.
7. Insect bites
Method: rub freshly expressed milk directly onto bite, covering all the surrounding area with milk, holding it under a finger to let the milk absorb then letting it air dry.
My travel bag is so much lighter thanks to my boobs. I'm one of those people that is like a walking mozi buffet; I've even been bitten in winter in London, nightmare. But since starting to breastfeed, I don't know why, I don't get bitten quite as much. And when I do, I pop milk on and I don't itch like a ravenous maniac. I used to be left with scars as I would itch during the night ;til I bled; now, I don't have to carry a bottle around - I pop the milk on often so I don't drive my self mad. Ayün doesn't seem to get itchy, but if he gets bitten I pop milk on and the redness goes away very quickly. I must add that bite prevention is key when traveling; Dengue is a real problem so try to stay safe. Mozi nets and spray are key. I have put citronella on everything but have noticed it's not always effective. I like to think I'm all natural but when it comes to mosquitos & ticks I don't risk it. I also want to add that I found mud to be more effective for bee and wasp stings than breastmilk for the initial bite.
8. Mouth ulcers
Method: with clean hands, express a little milk onto a finger and then on the effected area in the mouth
My partner really suffers from mouth ulcers: whenever he is stressed; eats the wrong food; or gets very run down and tired. As an equal prsence to me the mother, sometimes being tired can't be avoided, so he gets ulcers often. We have noticed putting milk on often helps them go away faster, and they don't get as big - he can get real monsters that join up, and when we don't bother to put milk on, often this happens, but so far milk reduces the length. We still don't know what to do to prevent the ulcers altogether, if you have any advise please contact us!
9. Coldsores aka herpes:
Method: express a little milk directly onto a cotton bud onto effected lip area, leave it there for a bit and air dry without touching at all
Another thing my partner suffers from is coldsores; we can't prevent them, but certainly reduce them with a little help from the boob. Drew can get such bad coldsores they blow up on his lip and spread to his face. So far the milk stops the cold sore in its tracks; it comes but goes much faster than before.
Method: drink from the boob as much as possible when infant has temperature or diarrhea
Sometimes when a baby starts eating food, it's difficult to avoid a little bad luck with something not falling well with your baby's tummy. A few months ago we celebrated Granny's birthday with a platter of seafood and something went a little skew whiff. Everyone got the runs except Drew and I; I believe we avoided it as we were doing a 10-day detox with magic tea and i think it somehow killed off whatever everyone had. We suspect it was rota-virus. Ayün did get very sick with a very high temperature, about 40; so we called the doctor and through Covid suspicions and back-and-forth, the GP advised to give him Calpol; his temperature came down, and in a few days he was better. He never got dehydrated, and though he hadn't wanted to eat for days, which worried us, he didn't stop drinking boob, which kept his energy and hydration up, which is the most dangerous thing about diarrhea in a baby, they get dangerously dehydrated fast. But Ayün didn't, and the doctor said that as he was still drinking, and keeping it down, so long as we kept his temperature down, it should pass, which it did. When babies feel sick they look for comfort, the boob is that. It can be hard to give a sick child anything to drink or eat, hence why non-breastfed babies tend to be in danger of getting dehydrated. The bonus of being comforted by boob is that it keeps them hydrated; helps give an immune boost from the mother who is also fighting whatever illness it is; it is easily digested; and has probiotics so can sooth a hurting belly too.
Method: again, just being breastfed
So breastmilk has probiotics, so as long as the mama has a healthy digestive system, these probiotics help babies prepare their tummies - that have not ingested food yet - for the time to begin eating food. And though you'll notice much of what goes in in the beginning comes out just the same, it's all starting the intestines learning to digest. La Leche League recommend starting introducing food at around 6 months, and to give them a boob feed just before and after the food tasting - this is to line the stomach and ease digestion and avoid tummy pains. My granny used to say that babies eased into food this way have good associations to food in future as they don't get as many digestive problems - makes sense but I don't know how much evidence there is of this being the case as many formula fed babies have no issues with food.
Breast milk is not sterile and contains many bacteria, particularly bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. Oligosaccharides are the third most abundant component in human milk. These human milk oligosaccharides act as prebiotics – that is, nondigestible components that promote the growth of commensal bacteria.[49,50] Indeed, mother's milk fosters the growth of healthy bacteria in the newborn's intestinal tract, which not only aids nutrient absorption, but also boosts the immune system. In addition, these factors constituting the human milk glycobiome can inhibit pathogen adhesion and directly influence intestinal maturation and integrity.
Quoted from an article by Future Virology on Medscape.
12. Colic, bellyache and wind
Method: Just being breastfed, on demand, baby knows best
So it is said no one knows why babies get colic, but I've heard enough whispers between grandmas to know there are a few things babies with colic have in common:
- an environment that is over-stimulating for baba causes stress and seems to be recognised as increasing chances of colic
- breastfed babies are less likely to have colic that formula fed babies
- breastfed babies also don't tend to need to be burped as much, which may factor in too; this is because the nipples evolve and mold to baby's mouth, as does baby's mouths mold to their beloved nipple, which is why it is advised by lactation experts not to interfere with this natural process by using bottles (even with expressed milk), nipple shields or dummies in the first 3 months, as this is when the mutual molding process is taking place. Babies during the first few months on the boobs have been described like engineers, tugging and moving the nipple in all sorts of ways. They know what they are doing the clever little creatures, and we sometimes mistake this with frustration with the boob; but they are just hard at work.
Also, as we have seen, breast milk is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory; so while babies are maturing their underdeveloped gut, boobs help - big time. The milk actually creates a lining within the gut that helps the gut mature and prepare to be able to defend the baby from unwanted pathogens infiltrating the digestive tract; and also helps digest the food better. This has been proven with babies that are exclusively breastfed, and fed 'on-demand', which is when the baby shows cues to feed, and they feed as much and as long as they want/need. If they do not get fed on-demand, or are given other liquids, it can interrupt the process.
13. Anti-inflammatory for teeth
Method: an exhausting amount of time on the boob
I noticed when Ayün is teething he asks for more boob. I looked into it and apparently boob milk can help soothe the gums. It turns out breast milk is anti-inflammatory, and heals broken skin...
"Milk exerts direct anti-inflammatory effects through suppression of inflammatory cell function, suppression of pro-inflammatory cytokine function and promotion of healing/growth...Promotion of healing/growth is achieved through growth factors present in milk. ...might produce a systemic anti-inflammatory state in the breast-fed infant, resulting in less symptomatic infection scarring responses to injury."
Taken from an article about breast milk's anti-inflammatory properties being overlooked
It must be said that you need to be sure to be gently brushing older babies' teeth as breast milk is very sugary and older breastfed babies can get plaque and all that that entails.
14. Colds, immunity & allergies
Method: Guess what, just being breastfed
Long-term breastfed babies tend to get sick less often and less severely (if they were not premature and don't have any medical issues.) In fact, breastfeeding mums tend to get sick less too. I definitely found this to be the case. Prior to having Ayün, I lived with a permanent flu and cold in winters; and during dreaded Covid we spent winter in London, horrid, but not even a sniffle, not even when Covid payed a visit to the family home; both Ayün and I somehow didn't get sick. I'm not saying breastfeeding makes you immune, that's just what happened to us.
If babies do get a flu they tend to have less mucus and recover faster than formula-fed babies. This is due to the fact that formula creates more mucus in humans than breast milk; and it doesn't have tailored anti-bodies within it.
Given the symbiosis between the breastfed infant and his/her mother during the first weeks of life, the microorganisms in the mother's environment are likely the same as those encountered by the infant. Intriguingly, milk composition changes (i.e., increase in the total number of white blood cells and higher TNF-α levels) have been documented in relation to active infection in the nursing infant.
Mothers may thus be considered as immune 'factories', providing infants with antibodies that prevent, postpone or attenuate diseases caused by pathogens in their environment.
Quoted from an article by Future Virology on Medscape.
*Writers Note: I was sent this article post writing this, it's 100% worth a read, wonderfully written and explains how the nipple actually creates a custom medicine for babies through their saliva:
"when a baby suckles at its mother's breast, a vacuum is created. Within that vacuum, the infant's saliva is sucked back into the mother's nipple, where receptors in her mammary gland read its signals. This "baby spit backwash," as she delightfully describes it, contains information about the baby's immune status. Everything scientists know about physiology indicates that baby spit backwash is one of the ways that breast milk adjusts its immunological composition. If the mammary gland receptors detect the presence of pathogens, they compel the mother's body to produce antibodies to fight it, and those antibodies travel through breast milk back into the baby's body, where they target the infection."
Quoted from article written by Angela Garbes for The Stranger:
15. Nipple cream/nipple aid for easing sore nipples:
Method: Put the colostrum when you first breastfeed on nipples after every feed & leave to completely air dry. The same can be done with the milk for sore nipples
This truly is a life saver. The nipple needs time to mold to baby's mouth, and, especially for first timers, it can be an intense process. Putting your colostrum on your nipple from the first feed, and after every feed, can help until your nipples have adapted. The milk dries your nipple and heals it fast to make the skin stronger faster, so it tends to hurt less and for less time. Nipple creams can actually make your nipples hydrated & soft and therefore more delicate and easier to break skin. Also they don't make your nipples heal faster at all in my opinion.
TIP: sometimes if you pull baby off the boob you will hurt your nipple by stretching it. I did this and got a tiny tear & jesus it stang. But my milk helped heal it much faster. You must gently put your little finger into the corner of baby's mouth to create an air pocket and baby pops off. Their suction is so strong that without that technique it's quite the tug. In La Leche League you can get many tips like this that will support you when you need it and help to make your journey into breastfeeding a beautiful adventure.
16. Stinging nettle
Method: squirt milk all over the skin with the nettle rash. Rub it in
Ayün's Godmother loves herself a nettle tea brew, and who can blame her, nettle tea tastes like pond water, but it's packed with goodness. However, the daft lass went foraging bare-handed and she picked some nettles that fought back. She put on a brave face, but there was no need to suffer the persistent sting. We squirted a little booblie several times, and it helped sooth the initial burn. It didn't take all the irritation away, but most of it. So there you have it. Booblie to the rescue once again.
Method: Boob all the way
Our pediatrician, our midwives and leaders of La Leche League mentioned something about breastfeeding that I had never heard of - non-nutritional suction. This is where the baby suckles on the boob but isn't drinking milk. Many mothers take the baby off at this stage, but apparently it's actually an important part of their development. It 'reorganises their nervous system', to quote one of the leaders of LLL. The action of suckling is deeply connected to a baby's nervous system. It releases calming hormones (which explains why babies tend to nod off easier on the boob) and regulates any residual stress or over-stimulation the baby may have experienced. I don't know if the same happens with babies' suction on bottles, or if they get the full calming experience from dummies. I hope so, as it seems very important to be able to 'detox' from stress, especially when you consider that babies are constantly experiencing all sorts of things for the first time; and not understanding what things are must be very overwhelming. I get pissed just because my phone updates automatically & I don't understand it anymore, let alone being a baby that has only existed for a few months in a whole new world - that is immense. So it's nice to have something that brings you to a place of calm. I guess it must be like meditation, but booblie baby style. Added note to this: statistically breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from mental disorders in their adult life.
"longer duration of breastfeeding during infancy was positively associated with cognitive performance as adults . Similarly, recent findings from another cohort revealed that the duration of exclusive breastfeeding was positively associated with increased intelligence, educational attainment, and income at 30 years of age . In fact, there is also work to show that breastfeeding duration during infancy is positively associated with reading ability at 53 years of age, as measured by the National Adult Reading Test ...
...A longitudinal study following adults from 20 to 40 years of age found significantly greater amounts of hostile (aggressive) behavior in adults who were not breastfed as infants compared to those who were breastfed ."
Doctors know about potentially life saving breast milk...
Ayün got a mysterious temp when we were traveling. I felt guilty for exposing him, traveling when he was only 5 months. I was a bit of a mess as it was the first time since he was born he had a temperature. We gave Ayün homeopathic medicine, and our doctor from home said just keep giving him boob, no water, just boob. Another doctor from Guatemala said to give him hydrating water to prevent the temperature causing dehydration. But we listened to our older wiser pediatrician from back home in Argentina. He was right, Ayün didn't need nor want the medical rehydrating water. I gave him boob and rest and it passed. Our pediatrician explained that whatever caused the temp was better fought with immune-boosting boob. The water would not give him that and he may not want to drink much of it; plus it would be more energy to digest, causing more harm than good. When all was said and done, I was confident in boob helping when Ayün got sick.
All in all we have been very lucky with Ayün. Despite traveling with him through developing countries at a young age, we managed to avoid ever spending a night in a hospital. That's not to say Ayün has not been sick - he has. Twice since he was born he has had a very high temperature, and not the usual 'teething temp'. Both times what he had was massively helped by being breastfed. The most serious time he got sick was due to a doctor's mistake - a terrible mistake that nearly cost Ayün his life. But once he was properly treated, and recovered, we were told if he hadn't been so strong from breastfeeding he may have died. It was terrifying, but made me so grateful that I could help him through my milk.
It's important to say at this point that breast milk isn't a total miracle cure - it will help, but you must always be so careful with babies. There are many things breast milk can't prevent - though it may help, some things require medical intervention, especially with young newborns - they should be as protected as possible. Always have clean hands and environments - they are far too new to have to go through illness. A small passing illness for an older child or adult can be fatal to a newborn. Even at 1 year of age, serum IgA levels (our intestine's defense) are only 20% of adult levels. For me, that is all the more reason to give that extra immunization protection through your milk. And if they get sick despite being breastfed, then all the more reason to check out what might be wrong with a doctor.
And I found that having a doctor that is properly trained in lactation means mama & baby will be better attended to. They will know about milk properties and know how best to utilise them - not take for granted the difference with breastfed babies and their mamas... For example the need to protect the mama's milk supply at early stages; avoid mastitis if baby is weak and not feeding as much; or how differently a breastfed baby can react to an illness. A pediatrician without lactation experience is like a heart surgeon that hasn't learnt about the properties of blood - it just doesn't work quite as well. But sadly I have seen that more often than not breastfeeding is massively taken for granted, which is a shame because both are great healers - doctors and breast milk are great health providers and make for great allies.
I feel we are goddesses with a gift from our motherly nature to heal all the tribe of so much. We should embrace this gift and not be shy to use it; and support women the best we can to help them have this gift. With the right support most women can breastfeed. I was saved by www.lalecheleague.org.uk
I highly recommend this amazing organization; they are like secret super heroes going about the world saving humanity one boob at a time.
I once read if all the world's babies had been breastfed long-term, we would have less depression and mental health issues, better worldwide health, and breast milk would win the nobel peace prize. LOL - but kind of true. Here is the science to prove it:
The tolerogenic state induced by breastfeeding is supported by evidence from both human and animal data. In large epidemiologic studies, breastfed infants have a lower incidence of several autoimmune diseases ...cellular responses appear to extend well beyond weaning. In rodent models, perinatal antigen exposure via mother's milk has been shown to prime the suckling animal's immune responses in a manner so profound that the effects can still be detected two generations later.[58,62]
Quoted from an article by Future Virology on Medscape.
SO how about that then, you're not just doing your child a world of good, but their grandchildren too. Epic. Not for those poor rats though. Let's end on a happier note:
This study showed that 8‑month-old infants who had been breastfed for longer durations (more than 5 months) displayed an enhanced attentional brain response to happy expressions while reducing attention to fearful expressions, suggesting that longer exclusive breastfeeding experience is associated with a greater attentional bias to positive emotion. Similarly, in another study using eye tracking with 7‑month-old infants, exclusive breastfeeding duration was associated with an increased attention to happy eyes and reduced attention to angry eyes 
Bless the boob for helping us look at the happy eyes, just brilliant. Here is an alpaca expressing how I feel about boobs.
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