My first was born and was breastfed. The food that I ate and came out through my breastmilk did not have an impact on her, save for the usual suspects: broccoli, kimchi, beans... She started taking solid food at 4 months without a hitch. She was a "by the book" sort of baby for the most part, and when I got pregnant with my second daughter I thought that that she would be the same. Boy was I wrong.
When my second was about 2 months old a rash started to develop on her face. I thought nothing of it, but it progressively got worse. It was devastating when the doctor diagnosed that she had eczema. We switched her to Nutramigen and took her off of breastmilk because it seemed like she was allergic to everything that I was eating, and also so that we could keep track of exactly what she was consuming.
Her pediatrician then recommended that we take her to the allergist for a skin test, and the allergist tested her on the usual food items that people tend to be allergic to. She reacted to everything the moment that she was pricked. Even the nurse gasped in shock at how quickly she reacted to the skin prick test. She was allergic to milk, egg, wheat, soy, nuts, shellfish and everything else that she was tested for.
During this time, her eczema was out of control. Saying that I was upset about her condition would be the understatement of the year. I saw that she wasn't happy because of her condition... she was constantly uncomfortable and itchy. I'd go to her room in the morning to see her sheets, shirt, and gloves bloody from scratching herself all night.
Her pediatrician told me that she was the top 5 worst eczema patients at her office. To keep her eczema under control, she was prescribed steroids that helped temporarily, but once the prescription period was over, her eczema came back with a vengeance. (In hindsight, the steroids made her eczema worse. Topical steroids seem to help other people, but not my child.) Her eczema was extraordinarily weepy, she'd scratch, she'd get infected, she'd be prescribed antibiotic creams with a mixture of topical steroids only to be used every two hours. Gosh... this eczema situation literally aged me 10 years. I was so stressed out and upset to see my child suffering. I was so angry.... imagine how miserable my child was having to experience all of that. An adult cousin of my husband who continues to battle eczema throughout his life explained what eczema felt like. He said that he feels like something is pushing up behind his skin, and the only way to relieve the pressure is to scratch it. he said that when you scratch it, it feels SOO good even when you break skin. So that explained the itching until shedding blood part...
At about 5 months, introducing her to solids was such a struggle. She reacted to peas, she reacted to apple, she reacted to chicken and everything else that I gave her. Through trial and error, I discovered that she was okay with sweet potato, beef and rice. So for almost one year that's all that she was eating morning noon and night. Steaming everything, pureeing everything including the meat was so much work, but what can you do?
When she grew out of formula, she took rice milk because she was allergic soy. For her food shopping, I was reading the ingredients list on every package, and I was limited to the gluten free section only. If you go to health food stores, you can find oatmeal that hasn't been contaminated. (If you have a child who is allergic to dairy, make sure there is no casein or whey in the ingredient list, as they are derivatives of milk. Sometimes it's advertised as being dairy free, but they actually have casein or whey in them. ALWAYS read labels!!) Earth's Balance Spread tastes the best (dairy free butter), So Delicious Dairy Free Ice Cream tastes the best and the Popsicle are pretty darn good! There are gluten free pretzels, rice pasta, cake mix and other snacks if you poke around.
To bring her at least a little bit of relief for her eczema, I did a lot of research online and found that 100% silk is supposed to be soothing to the skin, particularly for those with skin conditions. Check out this Canadien company www.nordicwoollens.com for ideas.
When it comes to clothes, avoid fleece, wools and other such synthetic fibers as they will irritate eczema. Go with what's natural.
Written By: Anon E. Mous