If you have been hanging around my blog for any amount of time at all, you've probably picked up on the fact that I love breastfeeding. It's not just an amazing bonding experience that can't be replicated, it offers unparalleled nutrition and antibodies for the child and amazing health benefits for moms. As if that wasn't enough, I recently discovered a new use for breast milk.
Yesterday morning I noticed that Peanut's eye was watering more than normal and seemed a little irritated. When she got up from her afternoon nap, her eyelid was swollen, caked with crusted gunk and her eye was bloodshot. This was our first bout with conjunctivitis (better known as the dreaded pink eye) so I grabbed my trusty baby book...which recommended antibiotics. I'm pretty proud of the fact that Peanut hasn't had any antibiotics yet and since I'm pretty much a try-a-natural-remedy-first kind of gal I decided to try something else.
I remembered reading somewhere that breast milk can be used to treat pink eye. I figured it was at least worth a try, couldn't hurt, right?
I laid Peanut on the bed and squirted a couple drops straight into her eye. She blinked a couple times and the milk filled her eye. I'm ecstatic about the results! It immediately reduced the redness and washed away all the nasty gunk from her eye. I repeated the treatment twice more yesterday afternoon, just for good measure. This morning the swelling and redness were totally gone but she still had just a tiny amount of discharge, so I "dosed" her again.
Talk about an easy, painless, free solution! I was interested in what exactly causes breast milk to work in this way, so I googled it. In short, there is an antibody called immunoglobulin A present in breast milk that prevents the bacteria in the conjunctivitis from attaching to the eye. (It's the same antibody that is present in tears, which is why allowing a child with pink eye to shed a few tears can actually be helpful in clearing up the infection.) As a result, the bacteria doesn't have an opportunity to grow which will essentially end the infection.
In my research, I ran across this article which lists many other uses for breast milk. I wish I'd known this when Peanut burned her fingers a few months back!
Anyway, thought I would share! Another reason to love breast milk!