Breast milk has long been thought of solely as the food necessary for a newborn to grow into a healthy young child. The perception is that breast milk is really just that: food for a baby. Upon further research, it becomes apparent that there is a vast array of uses for breast milk other than feeding a baby, although some of them are almost too crazy to believe.
From the practical and the resourceful, to the mildly disconcerting and just plain shocking, breast milk has a lot more to offer than just nourishment for a baby. However, few of them, if any, are considered to be mainstream uses for the product. All the same, there are few things more natural than a mother’s breast milk, so might as well try to get as much use out of it as possible, right?
Here are ten of the most interesting, potentially uncomfortable, and in one case hilariously shocking, alternative uses for breast milk.
10. Chicken Pox/Poison Oak
The vast majority of us have probably experienced a nasty case of the chicken pox as a child, or, if totally unlucky, as an adult. With that in mind, the fabled oatmeal bath said to help reduce the itching of the chicken pox is also an experience many of us have shared, and let’s not forget the Calamine lotion to be applied on the pox afterwards. Poison oak and poison ivy can be treated much in the same way, but apparently, breast milk is as good a remedy for chicken pox and the poison oak and ivy as any oatmeal bath or Calamine lotion. By applying breast milk to the areas affected by the pox or poison oak/ivy irritations, the milk acts in the same way as lotion, reducing itchiness and also helping to heal any blisters or sores, as well as minimizing potential scarring.
9. Sore Throat
The idea of gargling breast milk instead of salt water when you get that tingling or burning feeling in your throat may seem wholly unappealing, but it reportedly works. Some reports even claim that gargling with breast milk will actually help sooth your sore throat much quicker than over the counter remedies, all the while acting as a preventative agent for further illness, helping to stave off that cold or flu you feel is on its way when you wake up with a burn in the throat. Not sure exactly if the idea outweighs the potential pros, but if you can get over the somewhat odd notion of breast milk as a throat coat, it may just be worth a try.
8. Birth Control
Who knew? Women who breast-feed have a natural birth control in their milk. Scientifically, “lactational amenorrhea is the natural postnatal infertility that occurs when a woman is amenorrheic and fully breastfeeding.” The effectiveness of this type of birth control is around 98% for up to six months post birth. So in reality, if you want to ensure that you can keep baby number one from meeting a new brother or sister anytime soon, breast-feed. There haven’t been enough studies to necessarily find a practical over the counter use for breast milk as birth control, but some research suggests that this may be a benefit to new mothers only.
7. Contact Lens Solution
While gargling breast milk for a sore throat may not be the most appealing thought to someone feeling a cold or flu coming on, the idea of soaking your contact lenses in breast milk seems even more uncomfortable. Literally touted as a replacement for the saline solution those of us who wear contacts are so accustomed to, breast milk has been reported to clean contact lenses as effectively, and also keep the contact lenses as clean over time as over the counter solutions. Again, this practical use if indeed effective, seems reasonable to try if you can A) get over the fact that you have breast milk in your eye and B) actually get a hold of breast milk easier than over the counter contact lens solution.
Baking, cooking, creating culinary delights with breast milk. It’s all the rage it seems. Many women are using breast milk to make their own ice cream, and according to some, their kids love it. What about some cupcakes to go with that ice cream? Well, using breast milk in the cupcake batter is a quite popular topic on mother message boards. You can freeze breast milk to make popsicles in the summer, either as a cool down or as a healthy treat if your child has a sore throat and a cold. It doesn’t end there, either; recipes including breast milk for everything from cheese to yogurt, butter and of course baby food are all over the Internet. It seems that breast milk is a very handy ingredient in the kitchen.
From the kitchen to the artist’s studio, breast milk can also be a handy tool in jewellery making, if you can get yourself situated in the right niche. Breast milk is 40% composed of a protein called casein, which is helpful in digestion, but also gelatinizes over time. There are now jewellers focusing on young mothers who have found that by solidifying the casein content artificially and creating a design in a mould, the breast milk can become an integral component of a nice piece of jewellery that is meant to commemorate the birth of a child, a truly unique idea to celebrate a new member of the family.
Rubbing breast milk on your under arms to use as deodorant seems like a much easier idea to get behind than gargling or essentially putting it in your eye. It is not healthy for a woman to wear many types of deodorant while breastfeeding because many of the chemicals, particularly aluminum, can enter the blood stream and get into the breast milk, so many woman have actually taken to applying breast milk to their under arms and claim that it does the job. It may not be a solution for men, or something you want to throw on after a workout at the gym, but on casual days it reportedly does quite nicely.
3. Sexual Lubricant
Well, we’ve gone from gargling breast milk as a sore throat remedy to breast milk as an effective contact lens solution and even breast milk as deodorant. And now we have breast milk as sexual lubrication. For postpartum women sex can be a sensitive topic. There is a healing period, there is pain, and there are many hormones that make the idea of sexual intimacy difficult for some. Furthermore, when a woman is ready mentally, her body may not entirely be. As such, there are doctors who recommend using breast milk as a natural lubricant as opposed to over the counter lubricants to aid in sex. The internet community seems divided on the idea, but there are women who claim that it works and has been a benefit in their postpartum sex lives.
2. Cure for Cancer
The science behind this claim seems legit. There is a protein in breast milk that apparently kills cancer cells, with breast milk being particularly effective at killing lung and liver cancer cells. In research trials on mice, the drugs derived from breast milk’s anti-cancer properties showed great promise, and as of 2013 both drugs had gone to clinical trials on human beings. Though it may be a while until any such drug is available on the market, the research remains sound. It has also been proven through clinical studies that breast milk can cure encephalitis, a dangerous condition that causes swelling of the brain.
This may be the MOST ingenious use for breast milk yet, though also the most insane. Adding a little levity to this list, we see breast milk as an effective tool in aiding a woman who robbed a pharmacy. Late last year a German woman walked into a pharmacy and started spraying her breast milk at employees in order to distract them so she could rob the place. The woman had bought a breast pump from the pharmacy earlier, and when she approached another cash register, opened her shirt and started spraying breast milk at the cashiers. Shocked patrons could do nothing but stare at the insane scene. After the milk spraying, the woman stumbled around the store towards the exit, pretending to be completely confused, until she left and took off. After the ordeal, pharmacy employees discovered at least 100 Euros missing from the cash register, proving that breast milk can even aid in a successful robbery (not that we’re condoning it of course).
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