Breast milk baths are great for babies (and adults) who have dry skin issues and is particularly soothing for itchy dry eczema prone skin. This bath is excellent not just for eczema, but will also help cure diaper rashes, baby acne, and other skin issues.
Here’s a soothing oatmeal and breast milk bath recipe to try!
My kids recently came down with the Hand Mouth Foot virus which left some nasty scars on their legs. My son also suffers from mild eczema, and all the itching and scratching only made things worse.
I needed to something gentle yet powerful to put an end to these lingering skin problems. And, my freezer breast milk stash came to my rescue.
In this recipe, I use breast milk and oatmeal because my son needed that extra nourishment. Adding oatmeal makes this bath incredibly moisturizing and helps reduce inflammation caused by eczema.
You can skip adding oatmeal or substitute oatmeal with some of your favorite herbs. If you want to keep things simple, you can add breast milk to the tub and let your baby soak in the healing powers of the ‘liquid gold.’
But, if your kids have recurrent skin issues, I highly recommend adding oatmeal because of the skin benefits you can reap. Trust me; it doesn’t take a lot of time. Once you have the oatmeal powder ready, all it takes is less than 5 minutes to set up the bath.
Skin Benefits of Breast milk :
Breast milk is seriously amazing! There are so many other uses to breast milk. If you haven’t checked out my breastmilk popsicle recipe, you totally should.
Breast milk is nourishing not only inside but has excellent benefits when applied topically. Breast milk is proven effective to soften itchy eczema skin.
- Fatty Acids: Breast milk fat contains about 5.8% of Lauric acid, which is the same component present in coconut oil that is praised for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.(Source)
- Breast milk is rich in both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids; both play an essential role in skin appearance. Applying these fats topically help seal the moisture in and act as a barrier for external irritants that sometimes trigger eczema. In fact, there are various beauty products on the market that today that is formulated with these long chain acids due to their amazing benefits to the healthier skin. (Source)
Skin Benefits of Oatmeal:
Oatmeal is well known for enhancing skin conditions throughout history. It has been used for many many years in the form of a lotion, soaps, baths to treat various skin problems.
- Oatmeal is a natural cleanser, it contains saponins, which is a gentle natural soap that removes dirt and cleanses the skin.
- Just like breast milk, Oatmeal also acts as a skin barrier locking the moisture in the skin. Oatmeal makes the skin look and feels smoother and softer.
How to make a breast milk bath for your baby:
Now that we know how amazing this bath is let’s dive straight in and learn how to make this.
Step 1: Get the breast milk ready:
You can either use freshly pumped milk or refrigerated or frozen breast milk. If you are using frozen milk, take it out and let it thaw. You can thaw breast milk by running warm water over the bag/bottle. Do not microwave breast milk as you will end up losing important minerals and other nutrients in the breast milk. Keep in mind that you can't refreeze thawed milk, so only take out how much you need.
You can also use old or expired breast milk, but I used my frozen breast milk because I wanted my son to get all the benefits of a breast milk bath.
Step 2: Make Oatmeal Powder:
You can totally skip this step if you only want to give your baby a breast milk bath. But, if you child has any skin issues like baby acne, cradle cap , diaper rashes or eczema, adding oatmeal powder can be very soothing to their skin.
I made oatmeal powder by grinding rolled oats in a blender. You can use any kind of oats - quick or rolled. You can even use quaker oats as long as they are regular and don't contain any added flavors. You can also buy ready made oatmeal powder called colloidal oats.
Step 3: Make Oat milk:
Once you have the powder in hand, the next step is to steep make oatmeal milk. Many have asked me if they can add oatmeal powder directly to the bath tub. I wouldn't do that , if I were you. Oatmeal powder sticks to the bath tub and it is pain to get it cleaned after a bath.
To make oatmeal milk, mix 1/4 cup of oatmeal to 1/2 cup warm water. Stir the mixture to prevent any lumps. Let is sit for 20-30 mins. Strain and keep it aside.
Step 4: Prepare the bath:
Fill the bath with warm water. If you bathing an infant, then fill the baby bath tub. Depending on the amount of water, add breast milk slowly to the bath tub. Keep adding breast milk until the water turns cloudy. I usually use about 4 0z - 60z of breast milk. There is no right or wrong measurement, you can add how much ever you want, its not going to hurt your baby (he might smell 'milky' though!)
Next, add the strained oatmeal milk to the bath.
Tip!: If you don't want to strain oatmeal milk. You can add oatmeal powder to a cotton muslin cloth and drop it into the bath tub of water.
Step 5 : Let your baby have fun!
Bring in some bath toys and watch your baby have fun. Make sure to gently rub the breast milk water all over the body.
You can use a cup to pour the water over the skin or use a wash cloth, dip it in the bath water and gently massage over the body.
Skip using your regular bath lotion or shampoo. We want to skin to absorb and retain the moisture from the breast milk.
Step 6: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!
Get your baby out of the bath and wrap them in the towel. Gently pat dry. You will notice your baby's skin is shiny and a tad oily. That's a good sign, it means that all the rich nutrients from the oatmeal and breast milk are absorbed into your baby's skin.
To further retain the goodness of the bath, apply coconut oil or any non toxic baby lotion to lock the moisture. Don't skip this step!
Few Notes before making the breast milk bath:
Which Type Of Oats Should I Use?
Anything! You can buy colloidal oats or make your own oatmeal powder. I used the unflavored regular Quakers oats.
Can I Use Expired Breast milk For A Bath?
I wouldn’t. Because I don’t want my kids smelling sour. Also, since my son had real skin issues, I wanted to make the most out of the breast milk bath.
Should I Strain The Oatmeal Water?
Yes! If you don’t want to end up cleaning the bathtub after the bath. If you don’t have time to strain, then use cotton muslin bags, fill the oatmeal powder in it and toss it inside the tub.
Oatmeal also makes the water slippery, so please stay close to your kids while they are in the tub.
Let's Wrap Up:
I saw a huge difference with my son’s skin after using this bath regularly for a week. The scars due to HFM started to disappear, he felt less itchy, and his skin looked healthier.
This is a simple but very effective solution for eczema. I feel so much comfortable treating my kid’s eczema with this breastmilk and oatmeal bath rather than by slathering store brought creams.
Here is a recap on how to make a breast milk bath:
- Fill warm water in the bathtub, or in the infant tub if you are using one for your newborn baby.
- Mix enough amount of breast milk to make the water cloudy (4oz - 6oz).
- Meanwhile, mix 1/4 cup of oatmeal powder or colloidal oats in a bowl of warm water and let it soak for 20 minutes.
- Strain the oatmeal water and add the strained mix to the bath.
- Make sure the bath water touches all your baby’s skin surface.
- After 15 minutes, pat dry and apply coconut oil to lock in the moisture.