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Does Breast Milk Really Heal?

Many doctors, researchers, and scientist agree that breast milk does appear to have healing properties that can prove beneficial when it comes to treating minor illnesses and injuries. This is because of the antibodies that breast milk contains. Just as breast milk provides your baby with necessary antibodies to fight off infection, it can also work to kill off bacteria and viruses when applied topically to problem areas. Nevertheless, breast milk is probably not potent enough to completely kill off infections and other illnesses. Most health care providers do recommend that you seek traditional medical care for these problems, in order to ensure that they completely heal. However, two common illnesses that appear to be helped by the use of breast milk include pink eye and sore nipples. Conjuctivitis Conjuctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is a type of eye infection that is highly contagious and very unpleasant to have. It causes the eye to become inflamed, crusted, and sore. Many people treat conjunctivitis by applying a small amount of breast milk to the affected eye. A particular antibody in the breast milk, called immunoglobulin A, prevents the pink eye bacteria from attaching to the mucosal surface of the eye. This limits the growth of the bacteria, helping to end the eye infection. If you develop pinkeye, simply squirt a little breast milk directly onto the surface of your eye. Lift your eyelid slightly to help the breast milk circulate underneath. Continue this treatment three times a day for a couple of days, or until the eye infection has cleared. If your symptoms persist or worsen, though, seek medical advice. SoreNipples If you are just beginning to breastfeed, than you are probably pretty familiar with the common complication of cracked and sore nipples. Before your nipples begin to toughen up, they can become quite raw as a result of the force of your baby’s mouth during feedings.

One of the many healing properties attributed to breast milk is the ability to cure eye infections such as ‘pink eye’ – conjunctivitis – or ‘sticky eye’ – a gooey discharge that often accompanies conjunctival inflammation. Conjunctivitis is a common condition that rarely requires treatment, usually clearing up by itself within a week or two. For newborns, however, it can occasionally be quite serious, so ensuring it is properly treated is very important. For everyone else, it can be irritating and unpleasant, so any way of reducing the length of the infection is naturally welcome. Can breast milk really provide any relief? A study in a hospital in New Delhi, India, examined the effect that routinely applying colostrum to babies’ eyes had on the likelihood of them developing an eye infection1. On one hospital wing, mothers were asked to put a drop of colostrum in their babies’ eyes three times a day; on another wing, mothers were asked not to apply anything. The infection rate was much lower in the babies who

At first glance. . can potentially combat some of the bacteria known to cause neonatal eye infections2. the study’s results were deemed sufficiently encouraging to switch from antibiotic drops to breast milk at the hospital where it took place. however: in vitro tests show that colostrum. not necessarily because it was with colostrum.received colostrum: only 3 out of 51 babies in this group (6%) developed an infection. At a hospital in Spain. compared to 26 out of 72 in the control group (35%). and another study provides evidence that it does seem to be an effective treatment for eye infections in young babies 4. but a closer examination of the figures indicates this isn’t necessarily the case. this seems like a convincing result for colostrum. Fewer babies in the study group may have got infections simply because their eyes were rinsed. Babies treated with breast milk generally recovered much faster: 26 out of 45 (57%) of those receiving milk had recovered after 30 days. There is other evidence that breast milk could help ease the symptoms of conjunctivitis. This may have occurred because the normal practice of wiping eyes with a sterile swab just after birth was abandoned during the study. Whilst this does not provide conclusive evidence that breast milk is the optimal treatment for eye infections in newborns. it seems they went up – considerably – in those who didn’t. The normal neonatal eye infection rate recorded at the hospital was just over 5% – roughly the same as the one recorded in the colostrum group. babies diagnosed with neonatal sticky eye were treated either with antibiotics or breast milk. compared with 3 out of 20 (15%) of those receiving antibiotics. and to a much lesser extent mature breast milk. Rather than infection rates going down in the babies who received colostrum.3.