Eczema and Breastmilk
Sometimes breast feeding can lead to eczema for your baby. There are other reasons for eczema in a baby but one of the most common causes is breast feeding. The reason is not breast feeding per se but what is in the breast milk from the mother’s diet. Eczema is a skin condition whereby your baby’s skin becomes red and itchy for no apparent reason. In babies it will often appear as a rosy rash on the baby’s cheeks. It can disappear as suddenly as it appears, although if there is a family history of eczema it can stay until the child is much older. Eczema can begin as early as two months of age.
Research studies have shown that breastfed babies have a much lower incidence of eczema than babies who are fed on processed infant formula. This may indicate that many eczemas are caused by processed cow’s milk rather than natural breast milk.
When breast milk cannot be ruled out as a possible cause of the baby’s eczema, is it the breast milk or the mother’s diet?
Many mothers find that if they include dairy products in their diet their baby will show signs of eczema, but when they completely eliminate them the eczema will go away in time. Many experts are now agreeing that dairy products in the mother’s diet can be responsible for baby’s eczema.
General opinion is that if a breast fed baby develops eczema, the mother needs to avoid dairy products as much as possible. This will prevent the eczema from worsening and may clear it up in time.
It can be difficult to avoid dairy products dairy seems to be in almost every processed food. Mothers need to get into the habit of reading labels of the foods she is consuming to make sure that they are dairy free. If dairy products have previously been a large part of the mother’s diet it can be difficult to cut them out. Making sure the mother’s diet is still pleasant and satisfying will reduce the craving she may develop for dairy products.
If a mother eliminates dairy products from her diet she needs to make sure she is still getting the nutrients she needs. This is not at all difficult and a diet rich in fresh wholefoods including nuts, fruit, vegetables, and grains can be sufficient.
There are many natural creams that can be used to treat your baby’s eczema. Herbal applications can be very successful. If you cannot find a cream or lotion that gives relief, consult an natural health practitioner or naturopath for advice and products. There are creams that contain pharmaceutical drugs such as hydrocortisone creams that may reduce the inflammation but these should be a last resort and only if the baby is distressed by the eczema.
It is easier to try to avoid eczema than to treat it once it has appeared. Breast feed babies are less likely to develop eczema. Breastfeeding mothers can avoid dairy products.