To this day, experts have not found yet what causes eczema both to adults and children. However, researchers suspect that one of the most common causes of eczema flare-ups is allergies. With that, one of the most commonly asked questions among mothers in particular is, is baby eczema breastfeeding possible?
Since you found out that you were pregnant, you have already decided to breastfeed your child no matter what it takes. You believe that it is the best gift, rather, the food you could ever give to your baby.
And so the moment you have been waiting for finally arrived.
Your baby was born.
You were filled with joy. That kind of joy cannot be contained. And yes! That first latch! It was a success! You are filled with so much joy because everything seems smooth and going according to plan.
Everything seems fine until your baby hits his or her third month. Unfortunately, he or she was diagnosed with baby eczema, and the doctor says, the probable culprit is a food allergy. You felt horrible as a mom. You felt like you fed something that actually harms your baby.
But after reflecting and deeply thinking about it, you thought of not giving up. You are more than willing to adjust and sacrifice your own love for a certain food – all for the love of your little human. You want to prove that baby eczema breastfeeding is possible.
Do you resemble this kind of mom? If your answer is yes, we are glad to have you here today.
Before we move on to talking about the different food that causes allergic reactions, let’s us first do some eczema 101.
Eczema or dermatitis refers to the skin condition wherein you will see patches of red, itchy, and sometimes inflamed rashes on certain areas of the skin like the face, hands, feet, elbows, back, and for babies, even at the diaper area.
There are different types of eczema, but generally speaking, the most common of all is atopic dermatitis. As for infants, seborrheic eczema or infantile seborrheic, and also known as “cradle cap” is very common.
Unlike other skin conditions, experts have yet to discover what really causes eczema. Yes, unfortunately, it is still unknown to this day. That is why it is not surprising that there is still no specific cure to eczema as well.
However, through research, experts were able to at least come up with ways on how to deal or manage eczema – through its symptoms. These symptoms normally occur when the person has allergies or had contacts with irritants, etc. Later on, we will be sharing with you some of the most common allergens, particularly on some food.
By managing the symptoms, flare-ups are avoided, and eczema patients are able to live a normal life.
Before we even forget, children who had eczema early in their life (eczema symptoms may start occurring to as early as within the first six months of life) may outgrow eczema. Meaning, there is a chance for eczema to disappear permanently. As with adults, it would be a life-long challenge.
Eczema and Breastfeeding
It’s a common debate among parents whether or not to stop breastfeeding when their kid is diagnosed with eczema. While it is possible, medical practitioners do still recommend breastfeeding among babies with eczema.
However, if the mother decides to breastfeed her baby, that entails a lot of sacrifices and a change of lifestyle especially if the cause of your baby’s eczema flare-ups is allergies on certain food.
As we mentioned earlier, experts say that one of the main causes of eczema flare-ups is allergies. There are so many allergens out there but one of the most common types of allergen is on certain food. Proteins in food can pass into the mom’s breastmilk, which may cause an allergic reaction among babies, and eventually lead to eczema flare-ups.
Although according to the La Leche League, a private organization that advocates breastfeeding, normally, when a baby develops allergies at such a young age, he or she often outgrow it, which may also lead to outgrowing eczema.
If you happen to be among those moms whose babies have eczema, and you suspect it’s because of certain allergens that pass through your breastmilk, you better consult your pediatrician or lactation consultant immediately. It is better to ask help from experts so you can decide rightfully on what’s best for your child, and if baby eczema breastfeeding is possible.
However, if you maintain your ground of continuously breastfeeding your child, you have to make necessary adjustments. That means, eliminating that food that your baby is allergic to. By the way, for you to be fully aware of what specific food your baby is allergic to, your doctor may require your child to go through an allergy test.
Allergic Food Products
Baby eczema breastfeeding is possible. But as we said earlier, it takes a lot of sacrifice, adjustments, and a changed of lifestyle – particularly not eating certain types of food to avoid allergic reactions leading to eczema flare-ups.
Yes mommy, it’s all on you! But knowing your mommy’s heart, we are sure you will gladly do all these for the love of your baby. After all, that is what being a mom and motherhood is all about, right?
So, with that said, here are some of the most common food products considered as highly allergenic. If your baby is diagnosed (or even not yet) with allergic reactions to any of these, you better keep yourself away from food containing these products.
Let’s start with…
- Eggs and Peanuts
These two are probably two of the most highly allergic food. In fact, pediatricians normally advice to have your kid try these types of food when your baby is older. Also, some experts would suggest breastfeeding mom to not eat eggs and peanuts especially during the early months of her baby’s life as the protein from this food may pass through the mom’s breastmilk, and lead to an allergic reaction on your baby.
The chances of getting an allergic reaction from these types of food are higher if one of the baby’s parents has a family history of allergies with eggs and/or peanuts.
- Dairy Products
Milk, cream, cheese, and yogurt – these are just a few examples of food with dairy composition. These two are among the most common allergenic foods, especially among young ones. When we say dairy, we talk about cow’s milk in particular.
According to Karen Zeretzke of the New Beginnings Magazine, there are more than 20 probably allergens in a cow’s milk. Imagine, that’s 20! It’s a huge number. Precisely why experts highly suggest mommy’s milk – especially among allergic babies.
Now, in some cases, there are babies with the digestive tract that are unable to easily digest proteins from cow’s milk. In fact, their digestive tract even sees the proteins as allergic substances, thus, resulting in allergic reactions.
Unfortunately, experts say that in some cases, eczema happens to be the result of a person’s allergic response to the protein coming from a cow’s milk.
- Wheat and Corn
Quite surprised why these two are on the list? Well, sadly, there are people, babies per se, who are allergic to either or both wheat and corn.
We know what you are thinking. How does someone deal with it when these two are commonly used in almost all packaged food items? Well, remember the word, sacrifice.
Wheat and corn are highly allergenic too. While it could be very difficult to remove these two entirely on a mom’s diet, know that there are still other kinds of food that you can dig into for the meantime while you are still breastfeeding your kid.
Remember, what you eat is what your baby eats, too. So, you better watch out on what you are eating and adjust your diet if deemed necessary.
By now you probably are already thinking, what then is the best alternative for milk if even soy products can cause allergies? Well, you can always ask your doctor’s, lactation consultant, or nutritionist’s help for that matter.
But here’s the thing. Commonly, babies who are allergic to dairy products that result in eczema flare-ups may also have an allergic reaction to soy products. In fact, research says that a lot of those babies who have an allergic reaction to cow’s milk do also have an allergic reaction to the proteins found in cow’s milk. Thus, if your baby is diagnosed with allergies on cow’s milk, you better stay away from taking soy products, too. Better be careful than being sorry in the end, right?
Now, when doing grocery shopping, always make it a habit to check the ingredients of the food you are taking first to ensure you are not getting anything with soy or other highly allergenic food products.
- Food Additives
We thought maybe by now, you already fathomed that the best diet for a breastfeeding mom with a baby diagnosed with eczema is to always eat fresh and nutritious kinds of food. Don’t get us wrong, all the food products we mentioned above are nutritious too, but are just way too much for someone with delicate skin.
Now, we think it’s pretty obvious if someone gets an allergic reaction with additives. Well, because these include artificial colors, preservatives, and artificial flavorings, too. Everything is artificial and has chemicals on it. Apparently, like the proteins in the food products we mentioned earlier, these too may pass through a mom’s milk.
Apart from the artificial stuff, any food products that have gone through or were treated with pesticides and/or other types of chemicals may cause an allergic reaction. Yes, organic food products are the best way to go for baby eczema breastfeeding to be possible.
Signs of Food Allergy
Now that we already share to you a few food items that are commonly causing food allergies among babies or even children and adults, it is important that as a mom, you know what to watch out for.
Sad to say, research shows that there is only a very small percentage of breastfeeding moms who are able to notice when their baby is reacting to certain food products that they eat.
With that said, to help you figure out whether or not your baby is allergic to a certain food product that you eat, watch out for the following signs of food allergy among babies:
Normally, babies who are not okay with certain kinds of food get fussy after feedings. You better observe though as not all fussiness means the baby is allergic.
- Cries for long periods of time.
Normally, when a baby is not happy with what he took, in this case, the breast milk, he or she would cry inconsolably for a long period of time. When this happens, it is safe to suspect that something is wrong and that you need to find out what’s causing your baby to act this way – because most likely it has something with the milk.
- Sleeping so little, and wakes up with obvious discomfort.
Babies normally sleep a lot and for long periods. However, if that is not the case with your baby and you notice that he or she is feeling uncomfortable, then, you better have your baby checked as it may be a sign of a baby’s sensitivity to certain types of food.
Now, for more obvious signs and symptoms of allergic reaction on food, you may find the following on your child:
- Sore Bottom
- Asthma or Wheezing
- Cold-like Symptoms
- Red, Itchy Eyes
- Ear Infection
- Intestinal Upsets
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Green Stools with Mucus or Blood
- Dry Skin
Please know that how your baby’s body reacts to certain types of food dictates the severity of his or her allergic condition. Also, keep in mind that the more you take in certain food types, the more severe the reaction will be.
Normally, babies react on certain types of food within 4 to 24 hours after he or she has been exposed to it. This is in particular among breastfed babies.
Now, once you notice one or more of the signs and symptoms we mentioned, you better bring your baby to the doctor immediately.
Babies are delicate. That is a fact. That is why some physicians would suggest undergoing allergy test especially if the baby is diagnosed with eczema. By doing so, parents are informed about what particular food or things to stay away from to keep the baby free from flare-ups.
As with breastfeeding moms, an allergy test on their babies helps them change their diet, staying away from food products that may cause or worsen their babies’ condition.
However, not all children with eczema must undergo an allergy test. You may only ask your child’s dermatologist if you notice the following on your kid:
– Even if you are following an eczema management plan, your child’s condition remains the same or improves very slightly.
– Your baby experiences eczema flares whenever he or she drinks milk after you have eaten certain foods.
– Your baby is not growing accordingly.
Once you find these signs on your child. You may immediately request your doctor to have your child go through an allergy test.
Now, there are different types of allergy tests, these are:
– Patch Test – In this procedure, the experts apply to discs the different substances that your child is suspected to be allergic to. Then, these discs shall be taped into your child’s skin without eczema. Normally, it is taped on the back. After this, your child’s skin will be checked at specific times to see if there are any reactions.
– Skin Prick Test – As the name suggests, in order for experts to know whether or not your child is allergic to specific substances, his or her skin will be scratched or pricked after small amounts of allergens are placed into your child’s skin (either on the forearm or the back). It will also be checked at specific times to see if there are any reactions to the substances.
– Food Allergy Test – During this procedure, your child may either go through a skin prick test or blood test. Now, when your child has a positive reaction to a certain food, another test will be done to confirm it. It is called the Food Challenge. There are various types of food challenges. However, the doctors will be the ones to tell if this test is right for your child.
Again, all these procedures may only be done with upon your doctor’s advice especially if we are talking about babies. Always, consult your doctor first.
For sure you already know this by now that the World Health Organization highly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life. As they say, breastmilk is the best milk ever for your baby. That is why it is not surprising that some moms would do anything just to be able to exclusively breastfeed their child – all the more when their child is suffering certain types of health conditions like eczema.
While it is tempting to go otherwise, it is also heartwarming for moms knowing that baby eczema breastfeeding is still possible even when the main cause of flare-ups has something to do with what the moms eat. After all, moms who love their children unconditionally are more than willing to adjust to being able to give nothing but the best for their child.
If you are one of these moms, we salute you for your love and sacrifice and efforts to give the best for your babies.