My son will be two next week. He has had severe eczema to the point of being hospitalized, has anaphylaxis to cashew nuts and allergies to dairy and egg, plus severe rhinitis (hayfever) and also asthma. He has been to hospital numerous times, for two ambulance rides, to A&E more times than I can remember, has grown out of all the eczema clothing we couldn’t afford to buy in the first place, carries an epipen, has screamed in my arms covered in hives with his face swelling more times than I can count and we’ve had strangers stop us in the street to ask what is wrong with him.
Now my second child has eczema and likely food allergies.
I know what she’ll have to go through and my heart breaks for her.
I don’t know where the I’ll find the energy to deal with this. Only allergy parents can understand! But this ain’t our first rodeo, we’ve been here before, so this time around we are smarter going on and can hopefully sort it all out
So, my three month old baby Daisy has eczema and food allergies – now what??
1) Keep a food diary with dates and photos
This gives you a visual to help identify possible allergies/intolerances. It is also handy when you are referred to the specialist and the dietician so they can see what you and baby are eating.
Remember that allergies appear within 2 hours but intolerances can appear days later! So having that food diary handy helps to identify what you ate three or four days ago and see if there’s a pattern with the last reaction.
Also, by the time you actually see the specialist little details such from months ago might escape your memory. Writing it all down and you won’t have to remember details such as what this rash looked like, where it was, how long it lasted etc.
2) If breastfeeding, keep breastfeeding, but do it on an elimination diet
If formula feeding, remember dairy is a very common allergen/intolerance. Swap dairy out for allergy formula or goats formula.
If baby is on solids, baby needs to follow the diet too. *Please don’t get me wrong and confuse the word “diet” for weight loss. In this context it simply means the foods eaten everyday. Then go on with your life and stop being so damn ridiculous.*
Elimination diet in a nutshell… or actually not a nut shell haha… no nuts allowed! Is not eating dairy, soy, egg, nut, wheat and gluten. Some people also eliminate nightshades, fish and corn.
To kill candida, refrain from sugars and fructose as well for 6 months minimum before reintroducing fermented foods.
Avoid antibiotics during this time.
3) Educate yourself on the killing candida diet and good gut health. See a naturopath who specializes in this area, devour books and articles – really get into it and get your geek on!
When you understand WHY you’re doing something, you’ll be able to do it easily. Much easier to understand why you’re doing something rather than mindlessly try to stick to a seemingly random list of food.
4) Stock up on Probiotics, fatty omega 3 supplement, vitamin D supplement, Trace minerals supplement. The iHerb website has all of these as should your health shop.
5) So what can you eat?
Loads!! Truly, loads of options left. I have a whole instagram dedicated to this as do many others. Mine is @friendswithallergies
A typical diet (foods you eat everyday) might include:
Vegetables (not nightshades such as potatoes and tomatoes, the paleo mom also avoids nightshades to control her eczema, look her amazing recipes and nightshades guide up)
Kale chips or seaweed
Brown rice sushi bowl
Wedges made from sweet potato chips, bacon and avocado
Shepards pie made with sweet potato mash
Baking with rice or coconut flour
Coconut cream (NOT coconut water) based desserts with stevia as the sweetener
…and many more! You need to MAKE time to cook rather than find time to work. But you will do it because your health is too important not to. Just start out by buying what you can eat and see what combo’s you can come up with.
6) Get rid of chemicals around the house where possible.
Start with the bathtub! No bubbles, no wash, no shampoo – the bath tub is a chemical shit storm of product which companies sell to you with clever marketing tricks. How do I know? I previously worked for a chemical supply company in the FMCG of NZ. Some context – those blue speckles in your washing powder appear to make your laundry cleaner, right? Wrong! They are literally blue (or pink or green) speckles that have no function. They only exist because the consumer believes they do something to the laundry. They are a useless chemical.
Bubbles are chemicals which do not actually clean – they just bubble. So, rethink what goes in the bathtub. Rethink what you clean with. Rethink what you wash clothes in. Simplify and save money 🙂
Here is what we use in the bathtub:
7) Eczema clothes
If in NZ, buy from bam |+| boo or the sleepstore. Our fave has been the zippidy zip suit from bam |+| boo, the scratch me not gloves are good until they fall apart (we had six pairs fall apart on us), the jack and abby gloves are not flip mitten but are great for sleeping… look for cotton or bamboo clothing, anything from natural fabrics.
8) Wet Wraps
Use a wet bandage and wrap it around the itchy limb to help give relief from itching. Helps when going to sleep. I used to wake at 2am to re wet wrap my son so we could all sleep.
9) Food Allergy Testing
Before the age of one, babies can give false negatives. So just continue on eliminating potential culprits until over the age of one. Do go to the Dr to log in any reactions etc so that you can jump ahead to the cue when the time comes.
Skin Prick Test – painless pricks to the skin to determine allergies.
RAST Test – Blood Test where they mix the blood with potential allergens to see if there is a sensitivity.
Hair Testing – Haven’t done this as I’ve heard mixed reviews about how legit it is. Get a good recommendation if considering doing this.
My son showed as negative to everything on the Skin Prick Tests. The GP said that reaction trumps any test result so keep up the elimination diet and reintroductions.
My son then showed up as allergic to dairy, egg and all nuts on the RAST blood tests.
I remember when my son first got eczema, about 22 months ago, my mother in law told me it was the washing powder and the swimming lessons. I wish it was that simple.
I remember when the eczema got worse, about 20 months ago, that the Dr gave me micreme (antifungal), hydrocortisone (steroid based) and fatty cream moisturizer and we just put the creams on his skin. It looked like it was working a treat. I wish it was that simple.
The creams seemed to mask up the eczema, rather than cure it, so whenever we came off it the eczema would come back.
I remember when my mother in law suggested I just stick him on allergy formula. I wish it was that simple.
I remember when I was told eczema is not a big deal, just a rash. I really wish it was.
My daughter has it head to toe, just like my son did. I wish she didn’t.