Saturday, November 7, 2009

it's not called liquid gold for nothin'

The guy in My Big Fat Greek Wedding had his Windex. For my dad, the magic cure is SkinBracer. He calls it “good-all” (when I was a kid I always just thought of it as “green stuff”) and he puts it on anything that hurts. For me, an unexpected gift of motherhood has been the discovery of the Holy Grail of all healers—a chemical-free, perfectly natural fix for just about anything: human breast milk!

I first learned about the healing properties of breast milk during Ruby’s first week of life. She was latching on so hard and, when she finished her meal, pulling off forcefully with her mouth clamped down. This led to horrifically painful and raw skin. Even though you “train” your baby very quickly the correct way to latch and de-latch, there is still a period of time while you are healing (and the healing takes longer because you can’t give your boobs a “break”) that breastfeeding hurts. A lot. Pain makes people tense, and tension is not conducive to a pleasant feeding experience for mama or baby. I called my insurance company and talked to a nurse. I learned that this is a very widespread problem for brand-new mothers. Apparently, this period of severe pain that many women experience is a common cause for many women to give up on breastfeeding all together.

Anyway, the nurse told me various things that I could do (dip my breasts in a saline solution, use lanolin, etc.), but she said that the single most helpful thing—and she was right—was to rub your own milk over the sore areas. Mother’s milk is designed precisely for the purpose of healing the cracked skin and cuts that your poor boobs can go through during the start of breastfeeding.

When Ruby was about a month old, it was the end of the summer and we started getting mosquitoes in the apartment that drove me crazy during the night. I would wake up in between Ruby’s feedings scratching my arms and my legs, tormented by bites. I didn’t want to rub anything chemical-y (like cortisone) into my skin because I try to be as pure as possible for Ruby’s sake. So, one night, I had the idea to rub some of my milk into my mosquito bites. It was incredible how quickly it provided relief! Not only did the bites stop itching almost immediately, but—even more amazing—the itchiness didn’t return. It was as if the bites were gone all together!

I have gotten a few hormone-induced blemishes on my face since having Ruby…but they are no match for my magical, magical milk.

No matter how often I cut and file her nails, it seems like Ruby always grows new daggers overnight. She gets little scratches all over her face sometimes from her busy little hands. I dab milk on each one and they are so quick to disappear.

I will be sad when Ruby is done at the boob and my milk dries up for many reasons, not least of which is that my incredible good-all will cease to exist. I feel like I should freeze some just for future cuts and scratches!

Milk. It really does do a body good.

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