Treating eczema with formula?

Tamitha - posted on 09/24/2011 ( 16 moms have responded )

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My question is multi-layered. My son (3 month 3 weeks) was just diagnosed with eczema - most likely a food/milk allergy. I really don't know if cutting out dairy or certain foods for 2+ weeks at a time to figure out what the problem is will be too stressful since my husband just deployed and I have a 5 year old too. My doctor suggested either Nutramigen (Enfamil) or Alimentum (Similac) since he is already taking a bottle twice a day (8oz total) and nursing 4-5 times a day. But I think to see if this is helping his eczema I would have to give up nursing for 2+ weeks. I have enjoyed nursing this time, especially since his reflux was diagnosed he is eating better and not pulling off and arching his back.

So the question is, has anyone every used either of these formulas, or dealt with eczema? And what did you do?

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Caitlin - posted on 09/26/2011

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K - *fumes at moms who have no idea what they are talking about*. a Milk allergy CAN cause eczema and breast is NOT always best..

K - my advice (my first daughter is allergic to dairy, egg, beef, peanuts and sesame) is to just TRY to eliminate dairy from your diet. It's very hard, but doesn't have to impact your family that much, and if you see improvement, you'd be VERY likely to find that change worthwhile. With my first daughter (the allergic one) she had horrible eczema that oozed and bled and was always red and inflamed no matter what I did, and she was exclusively breastfed from the get go. IN her case, eliminating milk from my diet wasn't sufficient because she was allergic to all 3 of the main proteins in milk (casein, whey and lactose). Her best option was to switch to a soy formula, which we did at 7 months old. It produced almost instant results.. We used Enfamil soy formula (i believe it is labeled as being cows milk free. Nutramigen is a forumula that was also reccomended to us, because it contains no milk protein or soy protein, and is highly hydrolysed and not likely to cause a reaction, but I was told that it tastes kind of like battery acid and it's hard to ge tthe kid used to it (but if there is a milk allergy and a soy allergy, there aren't really other better options).

While her eczema was clearing up, we used hydrocortizone cream, elidel (a prescription cream that is MUCH stronger that the cortizone) and aquaphor. IT took about a month to clear up completely, (but it was BAD) but she was much more comfortable after about a week or so and not scratching as much.

My second daughter has no dairy allergy, but had the same type of eczema reaction (and reflux) as my first. I went dairy free with her and it helped a ton, the eczema went away, the fussiness was gone and she started sleeping better. I re-introduced dairy into my diet about 3 months later and the issue was gone, so her body was just more able to pass and process the proteins that were going through my milk.

One thing I wanted to add, that it might be a good idea to get the blood test to test for the presence of antibodies that cause the milk allergy. It's not 100% accurate, but it gives the doctor a much better idea if your baby is ACTUALLY allergic or has a severe intolerance (like the difference between my 2 daughters). It's much more reliable than the skin prick (or scratch test) because those frequently prodcue false positives. I wish we had thought of this with my first daughter, because besides the eczema and other issues, we only found out when I introduced her to cereal, which has milk powder in it and she went into anaphylactic shock. If you can get the test done, you'll at least know how to deal with it, and of course, there are lots of moms out there that go through this, so you are not alone. I'm surprised how easily we adapted to the "allergy" life (my first is almost 3 now), because it's amazing what moms can overcome when it's for their kids!

[deleted account]

I would exclusively nurse and eliminate milk from YOUR diet. Cows milk is a known reactant for some cases of eczema so taking your child off of breast milk and putting him on a cows milk based food is not going to help it, but possibly make it A LOT worse.

A corn starch bath will clear it up, also soaps with no SLS(Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) is best for keeping eczema symptoms at a minimum. Live clean baby soap is SLS free.

I have eczema, and a great deal of my family members have it as well, including my daughter. My daughter and I don't drink milk, and treat it the way I said. We have virtually no symptoms unless its changing seasons.

Minnie - posted on 09/24/2011

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Say what?



Your doctor wants to treat eczema by denying him an easy to digest, biologically appropriate substance in favor of moving him entirely to a frequently allergenic substance?



Why couldn't it possibly be the formula he's already getting that's causing the issues?

[deleted account]

a Milk allergy CAN cause eczema



NO it does not. A milk allergy CAN cause eczema FLAREUPS. Eczema is an oversensitivity of the immune system. Its usually coupled with other immune issues LIKE ALLERGIES which are an exaggerated immune response or reaction to substances that are generally not harmful.

They are both immune disorders so they go hand in hand. They DO NOT cause one another.

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16 Comments

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Amber - posted on 09/30/2011

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Stop the formula, cut out dairy from your diet and keep breastfeeding! That is the best advise I can give! Formula is only going to make it worse. If you want to make it easy on yourself, breastfeeding is the easiest way to do that. No bottle mixing! Also, do not put a lot on the eczema to try and get rid of it. Light natural creams and oils but with just nursing, it should dry up pretty quick. Good luck and hope it works!

Julie - posted on 09/28/2011

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Eczema is painful - try anything and do it right away.
Change YOUR diet - and nursing will be fine. What you eat goes to baby so do without anything you suspect is giving him grief -

Christina - posted on 09/26/2011

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I found that when my dd's eczema flares up, it is because she has had a lot of milk, or someone has given her a product with tomatoes. Since my daughter was born she has been nursing; it has been my sanity through reflux and throughout her eczema.

Cortney - posted on 09/26/2011

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My son had the same thing happen to him. We put him on the Similac brand and just used lotion on his little face and it cleared up before the week was over. He also wasn't nearly as fussy as he was, hope you figure out something

Amy - posted on 09/26/2011

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Eczema is a very common reaction to food allergies. And, no goat's milk won't help, either. The allergy is to the animal protein in the milk. Also, children with milk allergies are also more likely to have an allergy to soy, so even a soy based formula may not help. It is difficult to strictly nurse, but it IS possible... if you have an issue with supply, try eating oatmeal regularly and taking fenugreek (a supplement you can find at The Vitamin Shoppe) and pumping more frequently. Aquafor never worked for my daughter, but Aveeno Baby eczema cream worked wonders... I think it's all trial and error. Things with mineral oil also cause break outs on her... so make sure to read ingredients on lotions if one seems to worsen the problem. You'll get through this, it's a learning process but it's worth it!

Anna - posted on 09/26/2011

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I have never ever heard that nursing causes eczema - that's complete nonsense. If anything, nursing is the one thing that helps children from developing food allergies. Yes, it's possible that something in your diet is causing the eczema but more likely that it's a combination of things including environmental factors that you'll very likely never figure out. What really helped my son was a humidifier and constant application of Aquafor, especially after any contact with water (bathing and swimming). If the eczema gets really bad, you can ask your doctor to prescribe steroid based creams and sparingly use that for a short while until the eczema gets better (usually a few days).

Stifler's - posted on 09/25/2011

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I don't think that unless the formula you're putting your kid on is goat's milk that it's going to help with eczema.

Amy - posted on 09/25/2011

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My daughter was diagnosed with a milk allergy and severe eczema at 6 weeks. I COULD have put her on a hypoallergenic formula, but decided I would rather go without than her. It was the best decision of my life. DO NOT give up nursing- it's the perfect food for your baby. It will be tough on you- there is a LOT of hidden dairy in foods that you need to take into account, but it gets you ready for when they begin eating solids. Cut out dairy from your diet- I can guarantee you will see dramatic results within a week, and in 2 weeks his skin will start to clear. My daughter is now a very active, healthy 1 year old without a speck of eczema on her body and has been that way since 3 months. Good luck!

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