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Choosing to breastfeed your baby is an important decision every mom to be must make. If it’s something you’re able to do, you should know that breast milk is a remarkably healthy choice of nourishment for your little one and the act of feeding them is a wonderful way to bond.

But do you know all the benefits of breast Milk? There’s more to it than you might think.

Breast Milk Basics
Once you become pregnant, your hormones go into high gear. The added estrogen and progesterone being produced by the body triggers the process of producing breast milk. The milk glands within the breasts begin to expand as well as the milk ducts. Next, the hormone prolactin kicks in, drawing essential nutrients you consume from your blood supply to produce breast milk to feed your baby.

When the milk first comes out, it’s thicker in texture and pale yellow in color. This is known as colostrum, and it’s rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and immunoglobulins to nourish your baby and help strengthen their immune system to keep them healthy outside the womb and is also low in fat. This is followed by mature milk, which contains those nutrients as well as fat, enzymes, carbohydrates and additional white blood cells. Over time, the amount of fat and enzymes, most notably lysozyme, increases, adjusting to suit the needs of your growing baby.

Unique Uses for Breast Milk
If you thought breast milk’s only use was feeding your baby, you’ll be pleased to know there’s lots more this amazing stuff can do because of its antibacterial properties. Here are some uses for breast milk you may not have heard of before (including other ways for them to enjoy it as a meal or snack):

  • Apply topically for common skin irritations like diaper rash or eczema as well as bug bites
  • Add a few drops to the ears once a day to treat an ear infection
  • Remove makeup with it
  • Use to gently cleanse your face
  • Make soap with it
  • Freeze into popsicles for teething toddlers
  • Mix into vegetable puree for nutritious, homemade baby food

Proper Storage of Breast Milk
To keep breast milk fresh, it should be kept in an airtight container in the back of the refrigerator. It will last in there between three and eight days. Don’t leave it out at room temperature for more than eight hours to prevent the growth of bacteria. Whatever your baby doesn’t consume during a feeding should be discarded and never combined with fresh breast milk. If you’re producing more breast milk than your baby can consume, you can bag it and freeze it as well. Place it in the back of the freezer for up to three months.

Breast milk provides a blend of nutrients that simply cannot be replicated. It’s complete nutrition that adjusts as your child gets older to help them grow and develop properly. Now that you know what else you can use it for, take advantage of this amazing gift your body provides in more ways than one!

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