Breastmilk baths are a great way to naturally soothe and nourish your little one's delicate skin. If you have leftover breast milk hanging out in your freezer there's no easier way to use it up than to add it to your baby's bath water.
Last week, my littlest had a bad rash from poison ivy. At first, we thought it was chicken pox, it was that bad. He was miserable and so were we. We usually use oatmeal with powdered coconut milk in the kid's bath. But this time around, I knew he needed something special.
To ease his itchiness and relax our nerves I drew him a breastmilk bath every night until I ran out of frozen milk. And, little by little his skin got better. It even healed without any scars - win!
Now, making your own milk bath can be as simple as adding some milk to a bath. It doesn't only have to be for baby's either, older kids and adults can benefit from a relaxing milk bath too.
While breast milk is an amazing skincare ingredient you can make a nourishing milk bath with other types of milk. Think of Cleopatra and her donkey milk ;). Cow's milk, goat's milk, and coconut milk are all great substitutions if you don't have a surplus of extra breast milk.
Benefits of a Breast Milk Bath
Breast milk is simply amazing, you guys! Yes, it's primarily intended to feed infants, babies, and even toddlers but it has also many benefits when applied to the skin.
There's a reason many refer to it as "liquid gold". Medical studies have found that "Breast milk has natural antibacterial properties, so it can be used to treat a range of skin problems, including cuts and scrapes" (Source). Let's see what other skincare benefits human breast milk can have:
- Super Moisturizing: Breast milk is like nature's own moisturizer for your and your baby's skin. It's packed with natural oils and fatty acids that can keep delicate skin hydrated and prevent dryness. Say goodbye to flaky skin and cradle cap!
- Bacteria Buster: Breast milk is armed with antibodies that can kick some serious bacterial butt. It contains a high amount of lauric acid (a fatty acid that is present in many other natural ingredients, such as coconut oil) which is known for its anti-bacterial properties. Which makes it so beneficial for baby acne.
- Calm and Soothe: Dealing with irritated or diaper rashes? Breast milk to the rescue! Some studies suggest that it has anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it can help calm down redness and irritation. It's like a soothing hug for baby's skin.
- Barrier Booster: Breast milk contains proteins and fats that can strengthen the skin's natural barrier. This means it helps protect your little one's skin from external irritants and keeps it looking and feeling healthy. It's like giving your skin its own personal bodyguard.
- Gentle Exfoliant: Breast milk contains small amounts of lactic acid (similar to goat milk) which can help soften skin and gently slough off dead skin cells benefiting skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Milk Bath with Oatmeal
This step is not a must, but ground oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal is the perfect addition to a baby milk bath. An oatmeal bath has very similar soothing effects as breast milk and together they make the perfect combo. Plus, it's easy to do and you likely already have oatmeal sitting in your pantry.
Preparing Oatmeal for a Bath
This step is easy and quick: Simply grind ¼ cup of rolled oats in a coffee grinder or food processor until you have a very fine powder.
In case you're not quite convinced yet to try oatmeal in your next bath. Let me lay out some skin benefits of oatmeal for you here:
- Soothes and calms irritated skin: Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce redness and skin irritations
- Moisturizes and hydrates: It forms a protective layer on the skin's surface, locking in moisture and preventing dryness
- Eases itchiness: Oatmeal can provide temporary relief from the itchiness and irritation caused by bug bites, poison ivy, and chicken pox
- Suitable for all skin types: Oatmeal is gentle and generally safe for sensitive skin, oily skin, or any other skin type, making it a versatile ingredient for everyone.
How to Give a Breastmilk Bath
Caution: When adding milk and/or oatmeal to bath water, it will make the bottom and sides of the bathtub very slipper!
Now, let's get this milk bath started:
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- Breast Milk (or another type of milk): 8-10 oz for a baby bathtub, more for a regular tub
- Ground Oatmeal or Colloidal Oats (optional): ¼ cup
Step 1: Let milk come to room temperature
Step 2: Grind oatmeal until you have a very fine powder (if using)
Step 3: Fill your baby's bathtub with warm water
Step 4: Add breastmilk and ground oatmeal to the water and gently swirl it around
Step 5: Carefully lower your baby into the warm bath. Use a washcloth, a small cup or your hands to gently pour the water over your baby's body. Spend more time on areas that are especially irritated.
Step 6: Let your baby soak in the bath for 10-15 minutes. Use this time to interact and play with your baby, sing a song, or read a book.
Step 7: After the bath, lift your baby out of the tub and gently pat them dry with a soft towel. There's no need to rinse off the breast milk, as it will absorb into your baby's skin.
Step 8: Moisturize with breastmilk lotion, homemade body butter, or unscented baby lotion