Do wonders never cease when it comes to breast milk? Not only is it the perfect food for your baby, but it’s also been known to cure a whole slew of skin ailments, like bee stings, sunburn — even cradle cap. Now you can add another benefit to your liquid gold, because if you’ve been wondering if breast milk can cure diaper rash (spoiler alert), it can.
Babies can get diaper rash very easily. And even though those rose-colored cheeks can look super cute, they’re also pretty painful for your little one. But before you slather on some diaper rash cream, you might want to whip out your boob instead and express some breast milk. “Breast milk is alive and full of immunities,” lactation consultant Leigh Anne O'Connor, IBCLC, tells Romper. “Many people use breast milk on diaper rash, cuts, pink eye and more.”
What makes breast milk so beneficial for your baby’s skin? Well, there are many studies on the subject, and practically all of them confirm that breast milk can soothe your baby’s tush. In fact, the study “Assessment Effect of Breast Milk on Diaper Dermatitis” found that applying breast milk to the rash greatly reduced its overall appearance, citing it as “an effective, safe, and convenient remedy.”
So how exactly does this super food work wonders on your baby’s butt? “Breast milk has antibodies, and it is believed that these kill the bacteria that can cause diaper rash,” Andrea Tran, a registered nurse and lactation consultant, tells Romper.
If your baby has a diaper rash, you’ll need to know how to effectively apply your breast milk to the area. “Make sure that your hands are clean when you’re expressing your milk as well as applying it to the wound site,” recommends O’Connor. You can use a cotton ball to dab your breast milk onto your baby’s behind, but make sure that you’re gentle so that you don’t irritate the skin further. “Allow your breast milk to dry before putting your baby’s diaper back on,” says Tran. “It should be done with each diaper change.” Exposing your baby’s skin to air for periods of time throughout the day can also help.
Even though breast milk is a great way to clear up your baby’s rash, there might be times when it’s not enough. “If there are any signs of infection like open sores or pus, a doctor should see the baby,” says O’Connor. And if the rash doesn’t clear up on its own within a week, you should call your pediatrician.
The next time you spy a diaper rash on your baby’s derriere, you can always try using your breast milk to reduce the redness. With some patience (and mother’s milk), your baby’s bottom will be beautiful again in no time.
Seifi, B., Jalali, S., Heidari, M. (2017). “Assessment Effect of Breast Milk on Diaper Dermatitis.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5472239/
Andrea Tran, RN, BSN, MA, IBCLC, a registered nurse and lactation consultant
Leigh Anne O'Connor, IBCLC, a lactation consultant in NYC