A breast milk bath for newborns helps to moisturize the baby’s skin, treating skin issues. Breast milk is loaded with properties that nourish, protect, and heal both the inside and outside of your baby. Breast milk contains many ingredients found in skin moisturizers, including vitamins, proteins, fat, minerals, and carbohydrates, making it a perfect moisturizer for your baby’s skin.
Breastfeeding isn’t the only way your baby can get the benefits of the healing powers of breast milk.
This breast milk bathing practice is an age-old therapeutic remedy for soothing common skin irritations.
Human breast milk is downright packed with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial goodness.
Just a little bit of your expressed breast milk can transform your baby’s bath into a soothing, spa-like experience.
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Benefits of breast milk baths
Although it can be beneficial, not all new mothers may consider a breast milk bath. Here are the benefits it offers:
1. Moisturize newborns skin
Fatty acids such as oleic acid, palmitic acid, and linolenic acid are present in breast milk.
These fatty acids can work as a barrier on the skin and lock in moisture to prevent dryness. Babies with dry and itchy skin can get significant relief from a breast milk bath.
2. Protects skin and body against pathogens
Breast milk has strong anti-infective properties, together with several antibodies.
These antibodies can prevent germs infections of minor cuts and bruises on your baby’s body.
The fatty acids present in breast milk also play a part in eradicating bacteria.
Those fatty acids, such as Oleic acid, can kill the bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus, which is commonly present on the skin.
3. Reduce and repair skin damage
Breast milk also contains linoleic acid, which has two variants, namely omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
The acid mitigates the damage to the baby’s skin due to sunlight exposure.
Topical application of breast milk goodness omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can reduce skin inflammation damaged by sun UV light.
It means a breast milk bath could help heal any sunburn on your baby’s skin.
4. Heal minor wounds
The omega fatty acids in breast milk work to heal minor wounds and provide relief.
The fatty acids achieve healing by intervening in the wound repair function of the skin.
5. Soothe diaper rash and eczema
Research has shown that breast milk can be used as a safe topical remedy for curing diaper rash and eczema.
Breast milk is considered a low-cost and reliable alternative to topical cream used to treat these conditions.
Therefore, a breast milk bath can be an ideal home remedy for diaper rash and eczema.
6. Prevents pump and dump (for mothers)
Breast milk expressed during breast engorgement need not be disposed of. Instead, the excess milk can be used in the baby’s bath, preventing milk wastage.
How to bathe my baby in breast milk?
A breast milk bath is the same as giving your newborn a regular bath. Here is a guide on how you can go about it:
- Add freshly expressed breast milk to your baby’s bath water. You can also use frozen breast milk by thawing it before adding it. The thawed breast milk can also be used to keep the bath water warm.
- Let the baby sit in the bathtub. Using your hands, dribble the water all over the baby’s body. Pour more water on the rashes if the baby has any.
- Allow the baby to soak in the water and absorb the breast milk goodness in the bath water for about 10-15 minutes.
- Afterward, take the baby out of the bath and pat them dry with a fresh towel, and they don’t need to be rinsed with plain water.
Other uses of breast milk for babies
Breast milk use doesn’t limit to feeding the baby only.
Instead, you can use breast milk to treat or manage numerous other problems and conditions in babies.
Below is some non-nutritive breast milk uses mothers can try with the permission of their little one’s pediatrician.
- Breast milk might help loosen the cradle cap.
- Breast milk also treats eye infections, such as pink eye and eye discharges due to the blocked tear duct.
- The application of breast milk can also manage chapped lips.
- A soaked cotton ball in breast milk can be used for stump care( umbilical cord separation)
How do I prepare a breast milk bath for my newborn?
To prepare a breast milk bath, you can simply add some expressed breast milk to warm water in a bathtub or basin.
The ratio of breast milk to water is up to you, but a common recommendation is to use 1-2 ounces of breast milk per gallon of water.
When is the best time to give my newborn a breast milk bath?
There is no specific time that is best for a breast milk bath.
Some parents give their newborns a breast milk bath daily, while others only do it occasionally.
It is important to monitor your baby’s skin and adjust the frequency of breast milk baths as needed.
Are there any risks associated with breast milk baths?
Breast milk is generally safe for babies, but there is a small risk of contamination if the breast milk is not handled or stored properly.
It is important to ensure that the breast milk is fresh and has been stored in a clean container.
Additionally, if your baby has any skin conditions or allergies, it is important to talk to your pediatrician before giving a breast milk bath.
Can I use formula or cow’s milk instead of breast milk for a newborn’s bath?
Using formula or cow’s milk for a newborn’s bath is not recommended, as these substances are not specifically designed for skin care and may cause irritation or allergic reactions.
If you cannot breastfeed, it is best to consult your pediatrician for alternative skin care options.
It is important to note that breast milk baths should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment if your newborn has a skin condition or infection.
You may want to read the posts below to learn more about bathing your newborn.
- Waiting A Week To Bathe Your Newborn
- Is It Ok For An Infant To Take A Bath While Having A Cold And Fever? (What’s Normal And What’s Not)
- Essential Baby Bath Time Safety Tips for New Parents