Eczema and milk protein allergies...sigh...
I did not realize that these two issues went hand in hand until my poor baby's entire head seemed to flare up with those bumpy, oozing, fiery, itchy rashes practically overnight.
The discouraging part was that it seemed that we had finally gotten my diet under control; he was nursing happily and gaining weight beautifully until this awful eczema showed up. He was about 4 months old. The poor little guy had no idea what hit him, and he was miserably itchy. We were willing to try anything, because seeing our helpless little boy so unhappy and clawing at his face until it bled was just too much to bear.
We have tried and tested more than our share of treatment methods, and I would love to share with you some helpful tips that I learned:
1) SEE AN ALLERGIST. Seriously. Most family physicians are not aware of some very effective treatment methods. In fact, they may not even be aware of how to use certain prescription creams or ointments. I returned to my doctor several times, and I'm sure she got sick and tired of seeing my face. But it was worth it, because she referred me to an allergist, and it was the best thing that happened for my son's eczema.
2) Use dye-free, fragrance-free detergents for your baby's laundry. Perfumes and dyes are an eczema victim's worst enemy.
3) If you are baby-wearing, limit your perfume, makeup, and hairspray.
4) Use scent-free, dye-free, castile baby soaps. They are expensive ($7-$15 a bottle) but generally they last a long time. We are still using ours that we bought 10 months ago.
5) Use cream, not lotion, on your baby. Vaseline is good too, especially after a bath so that it locks in the moisture (I prefer the non-petroleum kind). Make sure it is scent-free and dye-free.
6) Always cover your baby's hands when he or she is sleeping. They cannot control themselves, and we can't watch them all night to make sure they don't scratch. I preferred nice thick socks on my son's hands, because he could still make himself bleed through those thin little scratch mittens.
7) Drizzle a bit of coconut oil or olive oil in your baby's bath. They are both healthy, gentle, and natural...and a great way to keep that baby skin nice and soft.
8) When your baby is prescribed a steroid cream or ointment, doctors usually warn about the risk of it thinning our baby's skin, and how we need to use it sparingly.
If you use it "sparingly", it will NOT WORK, and you will end up using much more of it in the long run because the eczema will not go away. Eczema should be treated aggressively. When we met with our allergist, he demonstrated how to use it, and he took about a dime-sized amount and rubbed that cream into the eczema until it was all absorbed. This way was much more effective, and my baby's eczema had improved within days (after 2 months of it continually worsening). Also, use the cream until the eczema has disappeared. Don't stop just because the symptoms have improved, because it will flare back up again. Get rid of it for good!
I hope this was helpful...stay tuned to hear about some of our favourite "eczema friendly" products!
**Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am a mother sharing my experience. Everyone's baby is unique, as is their skin, so please consult with your doctor or allergist for medical advice**