Breast milk is like the original super food. Move over kale — your time is done Breast milk is known for its amazing benefits for both moms and babies, but can breast milk help with a cold? During these cold winter months, it would be nice to use your own milk to keep your little ones healthy, but is it enough to warrant tossing out the cough syrup and nose wipes?
According to La Leche League International, your breast milk is the best medicine there is. Your breast milk is made up of the antibodies produced by your own immune system to ward off specific illnesses. Meaning, if you have a cold and are worried about your baby getting it, you're doing the best thing possible for your little one by breastfeeding them. Your baby gets the antibodies your body created to ward off that very same cold, so it's medicine specifically made for them and that sickness.
But, if your baby already has a cold, the breast milk may not "cure" it immediately. Same goes for older children in your home. While breast milk is more than OK to give an older child that doesn't actively nurse, it's not necessarily going to take care of their illness. International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Tiffany Gallagher of The Boob Geek tells Romper that while breast milk won't hurt a child who already has a cold, it might not help if they are already showing symptoms. "Fresh milk would be ideal, since it would be more likely to contain antibodies specific to this particular illness," Gallagher says.
According to Kelly Mom, giving over-the-counter cold medicines to children under 6 years old is not advised — there's no research to prove that these medicines are even effective. If you want to keep your child's immune system up through a nasty cold, a cup of your breast milk or a few extra nursing sessions definitely won't hurt — your kids will get those antibodies regardless. But it may not be the miracle cure you're hoping for. Parents noted that some infections are contagious before symptoms even appear, so if you want to try to ward off any colds this year, try giving your kiddos breast milk even if they aren't acting sick as a way to help build up their immune system.