When it comes to taking care of your baby’s eczema, identifying trigger foods becomes an important aspect of their overall well-being.
As a parent, understanding which foods may cause eczema flare-ups in your baby can help you navigate their nutrition more effectively and alleviate their symptoms.
In this article, we will explore 4 common foods that cause eczema in breastfed babies, equipping you with valuable knowledge to support your baby’s skin health.
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Does Breastfeeding Cause Eczema?
No! Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to nourish and bond with your baby, providing them with essential nutrients and immune-boosting properties.
However, certain components in breast milk, such as proteins and allergens, have the potential to contribute to the development or exacerbation of eczema.
These proteins and allergens originate from the food the mother eats.
The quality of the foods the mother eats, directly impacts the quality of the breastmilk.
By being aware of these trigger foods, you as the mother, can find alternatives rather than eating the trigger food.
If your baby’s eczema starts to clear up after removing that trigger food from the mother’s diet, then we are on to something!
Remember, every baby is unique, and their response to certain foods may vary, so it is essential to closely observe and adapt accordingly.
In the following sections, we will dive into the specific foods that cause eczema in breastfed babies.
We will also explore the importance of keeping a food diary to track your baby’s reactions and discuss holistic strategies for managing eczema through nutrition.
Understanding Breastfeeding and Eczema
Breastfeeding plays a vital role in the health and development of your baby, including their skin health.
However, it’s important to understand how certain components in breast milk can potentially affect eczema symptoms.
Let’s see how the two are connected:
A. Benefits of breastfeeding for babies with eczema:
- Breast milk provides essential nutrients, antibodies, and enzymes that support your baby’s immune system.
- The unique composition of breast milk helps protect against allergies and promotes healthy skin.
B. How components in breast milk can affect eczema symptoms:
- Some proteins in breast milk, such as cow’s milk protein, can be allergenic and trigger eczema flare-ups in sensitive infants.
- Certain allergens from foods consumed by the mother can pass through breast milk and potentially affect the baby’s skin health.
- Breast milk contains immunoglobulins, which can modulate the immune response and potentially impact eczema symptoms.
Understanding the connection between breastfeeding and eczema allows us to approach nutrition in a targeted and informed manner.
By identifying potential trigger foods and monitoring your baby’s response, you can make adjustments and avoid these foods that cause eczema in breastfed babies.
4 Foods That Cause Eczema in Breastfed Babies
When it comes to identifying trigger foods for eczema in breastfed babies, there are several common foods that most of us know by now.
Remember, each baby is unique, it’s not a one size fits all approach.
Your baby may not react to any of these or only some but it’s important to work through them one at a time.
Here are some of the most commonly recognized trigger foods:
A. Cow’s Milk and Dairy Products:
- Cow’s milk protein is one of the leading allergens for infants
- Consuming dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, can potentially trigger an allergic reaction in susceptible babies, leading to eczema symptoms
- It’s often filled with antibiotics and growth hormones
- The proteins found in eggs, especially egg whites, can be allergenic for some infants
- Introducing eggs into the baby’s diet can sometimes result in eczema flare-ups or other allergic reactions
C. Wheat and Gluten:
- Wheat and gluten-containing grains, such as barley and rye, have been associated with eczema flare-ups in certain individuals
- Pay close attention to your baby’s response after consuming foods containing wheat or gluten, as they may be potential triggers.
D. Nuts and Peanuts:
- Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, cashews) and peanuts are common allergens
- Exposure to these allergens through breast milk can potentially contribute to eczema symptoms in sensitive infants
It’s essential to keep in mind that not all babies will react to these foods, and individual sensitivities may vary.
The best approach is to carefully observe your baby’s response to each of the foods.
Don’t remove everything all at once or you won’t know what the trigger is.
Remove one of the options above, wait for 14-21 days and see.
When reintroducing the food as well, keep everything else in the diet consistent.
This way we can for sure determine if it’s a trigger or not.
Now that you know the four foods that cause eczema in breastfed babies, here what to do next.
Keeping a Food Diary
Keeping a food diary is a tedious but valuable tool for parents of breastfed babies with eczema.
It allows you to track both your own diet as the breastfeeding mother and your baby’s eczema symptoms.
By keeping track of this information, you can identify potential trigger foods and recognize patternss.
Here’s how to effectively maintain a food diary:
A. Record the Mother’s Diet:
- Record all the foods and beverages you eat throughout the day
- Include specific ingredients and any potential allergens
- Note the portion sizes and cooking methods used
B. Observe and Record Eczema Symptoms in Your Baby:
- Monitor your baby’s skin condition everyday, tracking any changes and flare-ups
- Record the severity of symptoms, such as redness, itching, dryness, or inflammation
- Take note of any other potential triggers or factors that may impact your baby’s eczema, such as weather changes, exposure to irritant, new product changes (detergent, skincare soap, cleaning soup, perfume, etc)
- Also take note of any medications and supplements the mother and the baby are taking
C. Look for Patterns and Correlations:
- After 14 days, review your food diary and assess what you see
- Look for any consistent patterns between specific foods you consumed and eczema flare-ups in your baby
- Take note of any clear cause-and-effect relationships and potential trigger foods that need further investigation.
- Then try eliminating that food or irritant for 14 days, and see if the eczema clear itself
By maintaining a detailed food and skin diary, you can collect important information that will help your healthcare professional in creating a personalized nutrition plan for your baby and you.
Holistic Strategies for Eczema Management
When it comes to managing eczema in breastfed babies, taking a holistic approach to nutrition can provide additional benefits beyond an elimination approach. Here are some holistic strategies to consider:
A. Emphasize Anti-Inflammatory Foods:
- Include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your baby’s diet
- Opt for whole grains, such as quinoa or brown rice, instead of refined grains
- Choose organic lean proteins like poultry, fish, or plant-based sources like legumes.
B. Consider Probiotics:
- Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can support a healthy gut microbiome.
- Discuss with your pediatrician or holistic healthcare professional about introducing age-appropriate probiotics for your baby.
- Probiotics may help modulate the immune system and potentially reduce eczema symptoms.
C. Ensure Adequate Hydration:
- Proper hydration is crucial for maintaining healthy skin.
- Encourage frequent breastfeeding sessions or age-appropriate water intake if your baby has started solids
- You may also want to consider a water filter and a bath/shower filter
D. Explore Gentle Skin Care:
- Use gentle, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic products for your baby’s skin.
- Avoid harsh soaps or detergents that may further irritate sensitive skin.
- Moisturize your baby’s skin regularly with a mild, non-irritating moisturizer
- Here are my 7 Favourite Natural Eczema Creams for Babies
Taking a holistic approach to eczema management goes beyond nutrition alone.
It involves considering many factors that influence your baby’s skin health, including their overall well-being, environmental exposures, and skincare routines.
Remember to consult with your pediatrician or a holistic healthcare professional knowledgeable about infant nutrition and eczema management.
They can provide personalized guidance, assess your baby’s specific needs, and help you develop a comprehensive plan that incorporates holistic strategies to support their overall health (and not just medicated creams and lotions…I’m talking about you TSW!)
So now that you are aware that foods that the mother eats can be trigger your baby’s eczema, it might feel overwhelming.
This is when you need to take a step back and know that now the power is in your hands.
Use this knowledge and take it day by day.
Eliminate one food group with the help of a food diary.
Track your baby’s nutrition and skin symptoms.
And go from there.
Don’t take on too much so soon.
While you do that, find gentler skincare products to go along with the inside out approach of clearing eczema.
If you need support and guidance, it might be worthwhile to work with a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, like myself!
I’ve lived and breathed eczema my whole life!
First having it since the age of seven and now helping other people manage it and clear it.
If you are interested, check out the XZMA Coaching Program.