If you’re a nursing mummy, rejoice! You are in possession of the true 神奇水 (miracle water).
This fact was re-emphasised to me when I was recently struck with a bout of cold sores – those awful weepy clusters of continuous pinprick pain. Add to that their scabby, pus-sy appearance, and you can understand why last week was an unpleasant one for me.
I tried tea tree oil at first, which dried up the sores but caused a searing pain that sometimes lasted a while. They also continued to weep after some time and it was horrid when the skin was raw and exposed underneath a scabby sheath (sorry for the graphic description!). Then I decided in desperation to try my milk – if it’s good enough to help shoo away my baby’s boo-boos, I reckoned it might work for me.
And sure enough it did. All I did was apply drops of expressed milk to the affected area over the course of the day. The most hygienic way to do this is using a cotton swab. (While I know it’s tempting to use the fingers both to express and apply, do note that cold sores are highly infectious – you don’t want them spreading anywhere else.) Not only was it soothing, compared to stinging tea tree oil, it seemed like my wounds healed in no time – 2 to 3 days, really; far shorter than the healing time I’m used to, when this affliction strikes. I was relieved when the scabs started to dry properly, the skin beneath them recovering well. I was so glad to be rid of the sticky mess, not to mention the discomfort.
I believe the liquid was able to act as a salve because of the lauric acid found in human milk – in the body, this substance is converted to monolaurin, which is well known for its healing, anti-bacterial, anti-viral properties. An alternative to mother’s milk is cold pressed virgin coconut oil, which also contains monolaurin. I haven’t tried coconut oil on my child or myself yet but it did alleviate my hubby’s bad sunburn. For something balmier in texture, VMV Hypoallergenics The Big, Brave Boo Boo Balm contains monolaurin too and is much loved by my toddler and me because it calms the skin effectively and speeds up healing.
To my dismay, I also developed a stye (more accurately, the beginnings of one) on my left eye during that uncomfortable time. Now, mummy’s milk for eye infections I know to be tested and true so I naturally placed a few drops of expressed milk into my eye whenever I could. The stye never grew and it cleared in less than 24 hours. :)
I know this isn’t the most glamorous post to start the week with but I thought it’d be useful to some measure. Do share if you have methods to combat cold sores or if your wondermilk has proven its weight in liquid gold!
Image source: Baby Blues, a breastfeeding-friendly comic strip. ;)