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Closed Tear Ducts in Newborns

My daughter has a week old newborn. He woke up this morning with one eye closed and crusted over with mucous. We understand that newborns have closed tear ducts. My daughter did take the baby in today to see a nurse practioner who advised her to wipe the baby's eye with a warm washcloth and then administer antiobiotic eye drops. She had a friend drop over that told her that in her culture, mothers squirt breast milk on the baby's eye to soften it and make the crusty mucuous easy to remove. Has anyone heard about this before? We were just curious.

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I was overwhelmed at the many responses I received to my request. Thank you to everyone for offering helpful advice.
We were surprised to discover how common this practice is for healing so many conditions. Thanks for all the wonderful nursing mothers for their encouragement and helpful advice from their experiences. The responses were very comforting to my daughter and she is putting it into practice with her sweet little baby boy.

I am a mother of six children. This was the first time I had heard about this practice, so it was great to hear from so many mothers who had not only heard about it but had used it. This is such a wonderful site. This was the first time I had put in a request, and I was so pleased with the overwhelming response to my question.

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Absolutely. In my breastfeeding support group a number of mothers have been told this by the opthomologist! The antibodies in the breast milk can help fight any infections. So the eye doctors even recommend this...

Yes, I used the breastmilk squirting technique (by way of a dropper though), and it worked. I think breastmilk has antibiotic or some other such properties, so as I understand it, it does more than just soften the mucous.

My 8 week old had a blocked tear duct (still slightly). when I took her to the pediatrician, I asked her about breastmilk in the eye. She told me she did not believe in that b/c you are just introducing more food for bacteria in the eye. I would have her ask her own pediatrician. You can also massage under her eye in the inner corner to help the blockage.

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Hi M.,

Not only have I heard about this, but I have done it. And not only to soften up the hardened mucus - but also to help eleviate any irritation. Breastmilk has AMAZING healing powers. It's actually a very holistic approach. I have two children and they both had blocked tear ducts that caused the problem you described. Each time I would change their diapers (just because it was easier to remember) I would take a little cotton swab with breast milk and run it over the eye (use a seperate cotton swab for each eye). I would then massage the tear duct area by placing my pinky finger on the inner corner of the eye and working it down the side of the nose. Do that 10 times on each eye about four times a day (each diaper change). This works wonders! It would usually clear up all of the goop by the second or third day of following this routine.
Breastmilk also works great on diaper rash, cuts and scrapes. Even great to use when the baby is congested instead of saline water.

1 mom found this helpful

I have 5 children and have encountered this situation several times both personally and among friends. Breastmilk in a baby's eye has cleared up the problem every time! I express the milk into a little cup or lid and use a medicine syringe to suck it up and drip into baby's eye. If you do this each time you nurse your baby, it should clear up within about a week in my experience.

Quick tip: nursing baby on one side makes it much easier to express milk on the other side because the milk will flow more easily.

Other applications for breastmilk: You may also be amazed to know that breastmilk works well to help heal ear infections and pink eye. My whole family of 7 came down with pink eye! I was running around with my little cup of fresh breastmilk putting drops in everyone's eyes several times a day. In just 3-4 days everyone was well!

This is definitely proof to me that breastmilk is liquid gold. What a strong antibacterial and antiviral medicine we have...manufactured daily by millions of mothers everywhere :) and it's free!

Many blessings,

1 mom found this helpful

YES YES YES!!! Antibodies and LOTS of them!!!! And not just antibodies, but antibodies specific to the mom's and baby's immune systems and what they've been exposed to. If your daughter is breastfeeding, anything mom is exposed to will be passed to baby through contact with the breast and any virus/bacteria that may be in the breastmilk, and the antibodies mom produces will be passed through the milk. Anything baby is exposed to will be passed to mom through contact with the breast, which will trigger mom to produce antibodies to be passed back to baby!!! It's an awesome, amazing partnership!

If you or she have any additional questions about breastfeeding, please feel free to use Nursing Mothers Counsel as a resource. We are a non-profit organization of peer counselors who provide FREE, non-judgemental support and information to moms at all stages of breastfeeding, prenatal through toddlers and weaning. Our website is http://www.nursingmothers.org, and our hotline number is (650) 327-MILK. Enjoy!

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, I used the breastmilk squirting technique (by way of a dropper though), and it worked. I think breastmilk has antibiotic or some other such properties, so as I understand it, it does more than just soften the mucous.

I'm sure the breast milk thing can't hurt and will probably help! You didn't mention a diagnosis, so, in case it wasn't made clear to the mother, the baby probably has a bacterial infections (pink eye) that is very contagious. That is why the doctor gave antibiotic drops. Make sure anyone who touches the baby's face or hands washes their hands well! It can be passed back and forth over and over. No fun.

Take care!

Hi M.,

Congrats on the birth of your grandchild..

Yes, this is in fact true. Squirting a little breast milk directly from the nipple, does in fact clear up the infection that's causing this. It is called conjunctivitis. The milk has to be direct from the breast as it contains the antibodies. Expressed milk from the bottle won't contain fresh antibodies.

Breast milk is amazing and can heal many things, including diaper rash. Mother Nature takes care of so much all on it's own, we don't need all those antibiotics in our babies

I would do this 4-6 times a day and see how it goes.

Good luck.

Hope this helps.

that is what i did and it worked. breast milk on everything- baby acne, wounds... etc
good luck

First of all, congratulations on your new little one! How exciting!!

To answer your question....absolutely yes! I've had 5 boys and have used breast milk to clear up minor eye infections when they were infants. It always worked, we never needed to use any antibiotic eye ointments and none of my boys has ever had pink eye (and my oldest is now 19)!

As many of the moms have mentioned, breastmilk has definite healing properties. It is sterile and antibacterial which will promote faster healing. It can be used to treat not only eye infections, but also ear infections, diaper rash, a stuffy nose, chapped lips, insect bites, and I think most importantly: SORE NIPPLES.

Your daughter will at some point experience sore or cracked nipples due to breastfeeding (especially if this is her first child). Simply have her rub some of her breastmilk on and around her nipples after each feeding to prevent this common problem from getting too bad. Once again, congratulations! :)

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