I have come across a lot of unconventional uses of breastmilk.
From milk baths to jewelry, I never knew there were so many different things people are doing with their milk. I only knew of it to be a food source.
Amongst all of the different uses out there, there is one that really stuck out to me. People putting breastmilk in their baby’s eyes.
I have read about people doing this and promoting this practice to others. “If your baby has an eye infection, put a little breastmilk in it. It cured my baby’s pink eye. It soothes the eye”. Let me be the first to tell you (although hopefully I’m not the first to tell you) don’t put breastmilk in your baby’s eyes.
If you haven’t already been able to tell I am not big on alternative medicine. I am a Registered Nurse in the U.S. and strongly believe in western medicine.
I have been trying to find some good solid research on using breastmilk for treating eye conditions, but I come up short.
I’ll be honest, the first time I heard about using breastmilk to treat an eye infection I thought, really? How cool is that. But unfortunately none of what people say has been substantiated by medical professionals.
I have yet to come across a scientific research-based article that supports the use of breastmilk in the eye to treat infections. If you have, feel free to share it with me.
Our eyes are very sensitive organs.
I mean, just think about how irritated it feels when you get something in them. Our eyes have little protection from external elements. They have our lids and lashes, but other than that they are an open target.
It is best to never put anything in them that isn’t meant to go in them. If breastmilk were a cure for eye infections, I would think I would have come across at least one research article about it.
To treat a bacterial eye infection, you will most likely need an antibiotic ointment or drop.
Breastmilk is great. Don’t get me wrong here. I love breastmilk for what it is. It is the best nutritional source for your baby. It provides your baby with everything he or she needs for their first year of life.
Breastmilk has antibodies for the newborn when their immune system is not developed yet. Breastmilk is gold! But breastmilk is not an antibiotic. It is not scientifically proven to be safe for putting in your baby’s eyes.
Pink eye is the term the public uses for an eye infection or conjunctivitis.
The important thing to realize is that it is not always caused by a bacterial infection requiring antibiotics. More often it is a viral infection in which antibiotics would not be effective, but it can also be caused by allergens or other irritants.
For your quick reference, here are signs of pink eye or conjunctivitis:
- pink or red eye
- weepy or oozing liquid
- itching or burning
- eye gets stuck shut, especially when child first wakes up
What you should know about pink eye:
- highly contagious when caused by an infection
- it is spread by touching something that has come into contact with infected eye (ie: hand towel)
- also spread when an infected person touches their eye, then touches someone else, and that person touches their eye
Prevent Spread of infection:
- Wash hands thoroughly and often!
- For at least 30 seconds, front and back side of hands and wrists vigorously with soap
- Do not touch eyes with hands, you can spread the infection from one eye to the other this way
- If on antibiotics, remain home from school/work/activities for 24 hours. This is the contagious period.
- Wash all bed linen, towels, and change out other personal items that may have had contact with infected person
Your baby only has one set of eyes for their life. It is best not to compromise that.