Friday, October 26, 2007

"It's Good for What Ails You," or "Miraculous, Folks! Miraculous!"

Some of you may have heard me tout the "extracurricular" uses of breastmilk. (My own, in particular.) :) So for my mother, whose burns I have treated with my white gold... this read's for you. If you'd like to read the full article or take a look at the bibliography, click here. And for those interested, here are More Ways to Use Breastmilk.

Realizing that some of you will be hesitant to believe anything published in a magazine that would encourage the family bed, take a look at the major study as summed up in Science News.

Your Walking Medicine Chest

By Liz Laing

Mothering Magazine; Issue 133, November/December 2005

Mother's milk is the perfect panacea for a whole host of ailments - from pinkeye to acne. Just a squirt will do the trick! Most people know about the health benefits of breastfeeding, but few know about breastmilk's medicinal benefits. Breastmilk is sterile, antibacterial, and has many healing properties. It can be used to treat a variety of ailments and can be applied topically for eye and ear infections, minor skin injuries, sore or cracked nipples, diaper rash, sore throats, and stuffy noses. Is breastmilk an everyday cure-all? Read on and judge for yourself.
When your child gets a cold and has a stuffy nose, drizzle breastmilk into each nostril. It will thin
the mucus, and the milk's natural antibodies will help fight infection. Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP, IBCLC's nationally recognized pediatrician, author, and breastfeeding authority, encourages the use of breastmilk in this way. "I recommend breastmilk as the best nose drop for babiesand children with colds," he says. "The milk kills viruses on contact (sounds like a TV commercial!), and the best part is that it makes babies sneeze. The sneeze sends viruses, bacteria, dust, and more flying out of the nose at 100 mph."
Several clinical studies have shown that since each mother's milk is made specifically for her own baby, it is effective in ridding the infant's eyes and nose of viruses and germs.
Besides colds and eye irritations, there are several other conditions that might benefit from
the use of breastmilk. In most cases you simply express your milk into a clean saucer, cup, or bowl, then use a cotton ball or eyedropper to apply or squirt milk directly onto the area, as needed, for the desired results.
In many places - including Mexico, Russia, Africa, South America, and India - the use of breastmilk in alternative ways is quite common. One mother on a Midwifery Today online forum said, "In Nigeria, if a child has a condition of the eyes, such as mucus, we simply squirt a bit of breastmilk and it clears right up." Besides healing common minor afflictions, breastmilk has recently been in the news for helping to treat more serious illnesses. Adult cancer patients have been drinking breastmilk in an attempt to boost their immune systems and cope better
with the side effects of chemotherapy. While this is not a common practice, a milk bank in California has supplied a group of pioneering patients with breastmilk for the past few years. One lucky recipient of this donor milk, Howard Cohen of Palo Alto, California, strongly believes that
ingesting breastmilk daily has helped his prostate cancer go into remission.
Donor milk is used to treat a variety of health problems. I spoke with Pauline Sakamoto, RN, MS, executive director of the Mothers' Milk Bank in San Jose, California, about some of the other ways breastmilk benefits people. "Historically, human milk has been used for diseases and health conditions of adults and children and as a superior food for babies. These folk cures have been tested throughout time. Currently, there has been more interest in the scientific community to test the components of human milk's effect on different health problems that plague us today. Hopefully, in the near future, we will validate the incredible power that our body has to promote growth, heal itself, and preserve its integrity via human milk.
Breastmilk may even kill cancer cells. In 1995 physician and immunologist Catharina Svanborg and a team of research biologists at Sweden's Lund University discovered in breastmilk a protein compound, alpha-lactalbumin (they gave it the acronym HAMLET), that selectively induces apoptosis in tumor cells. In other words, HAMLET makes cancer cells commit suicide. In fact, it has killed every type of cancer the researchers have tested it against. HAMLET has also been used to successfully treat virally infected warts, which were reduced by 75 percent in volunteers who received daily treatments with an ointment containing the protein. The same viruses that cause warts are also linked to cervical cancer, genital warts, and some types of skin cancer. Well, we all knew that breastmilk is powerful.
You may wonder why this discovery of a possible cure for cancer has not received greater attention. Funding is part of the problem, but slowly, in the past decade, more attention has been paid to this small laboratory in a quiet corner of the world. Even the American Cancer Society has given its stamp of approval by giving a grant to Svanborg and her team to help fund further research into their discovery. While this type of scientific news is exciting, let's not forget the real miracle of breastmilk and its primary use. The healing powers of this liquid gold
are incredible enough, but breastmilk's most amazing quality is that it gives life. No
other food or substance on earth comes close to doing what breastmilk does. Human breastmilk is the ideal food for human babies. Pediatrician Jay Gordon reminds us how crucial breastfeeding is when he says, "Babies denied breastmilk during the first year of life get sick and die at a much greater rate than babies who nurse."...

*All emphasis has been added by yours truly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Jake is flying home this Friday.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Buried Treasure

Jake and I purchased our first home this year. No one has been able to give us a firm date for the actual building of this house, but we know that the neighborhood went up circa 1920, so it's entirely likely that the home is 90 years old. Sometimes when I'm cleaning the old woodwork, or listening to the creak of the floorboards, it seems like I'm looking at or listening to a dear old woman, all bright eyes and wrinkles with a thin, seasoned voice. I love that. There are few things I treasure more than relationships with older, wiser women, and I feel like my relationship to this house is turning into that. As I wash windows upstairs, I wonder if any babies were born here. When I polish the stair rail, I imagine a graceful young woman floating down the stairs to greet her beau at the door. I hear children giggling and playing in the back yard and Roaring Twenties music playing on a record player in the living room. I see a dressed-up gentleman coming home through the front door, greeted by a skirted and pearl-wearing wife's call from the kitchen... but I won't make you endure any more of my imaginings, because this post is to inform you of an actual discovery this dear old house let me find. You can ask Jake, I was so excited you would have thought... I was having Ina May Gaskin over for dinner.



Monday, October 8, 2007

Indian Summer

As we swam and splashed in a local lake on an 86 degree day two weekends ago, the only evidences this may be our very last chance to do such things were the leaves around us--firey and warm. Like the sun.

Sarah was visiting from Charlotte, and Jake had a four-day weekend for the Columbus Day holiday, so it was a fun and family filled weekend together. We are also trying to get our fill of Daddy-time, as Jake was informed three weeks ago that he would be headed to the DC Metro (Ft. Meade, MD) for 8 weeks of training. Yes. Two months. (Insert deer-in-the-headlights face here.) So, with that journey begun, I'm learning more about the big ocean of God's grace with new trenches to plumb and more beauty to see. Always. I'm also learning more about myself. And so far it's only day five. I can honestly say I'm looking forward to what I'm going to experience during the rest of this journey. (Though, it goes without saying that my Love is missed terribly.) But I'll let you in on a little secret: my husband is a great writer. That's not the secret. The secret is that between a long distance courtship, bootcamp, various naval trainings, a deployment to the mid-east, and most recently, a five month separation during my recent pregnancy, I've come to look forward to the loving, generous gift of his coorespodance. Not that hearing his precious words isn't wonderful, but something about having them in ink to look back on at my leisure, and far into the future, makes all the missing almost worthwhile.

Here are some pictures of our day at Gun Lake and our visit with Ain't Say-rah.

I don't know who likes the orca more, the parents or the child.

Sunshine on Penelope Mae.

Our little fish--who is scooping and kicking her way to actually swimming in her lessons at the YMCA. Scoop. Kick. Scoop. Kick.

Last picture with Daddy before the exodus.

The table Belle helped decorate for our last daddy-dinner.

Belle and the Ain't.