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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Going dairy-free in the name of eczema.

This guy.

Cute right?  

He's also itchy. 

Poor Kiernan has had eczema for the majority of his short little life.  It started on his cheeks and always flared up when he came into contact with people who wore clothes washed in any detergent other than All Free & Clear.  So we followed people around and insisted that they put a receiving blanket over their clothes if they held him.  I'm sure everyone thought we were crazy, overbearing parents.  But the poor baby's cheeks were raw. 
Exhibit A:
Flamin' red cheeks.  Also?  So.Much.Chub.

Exhibit B:
Healing a bit, but still uncomfortable for him.  This picture kinda makes me want my short hair back.  Kinda.

We eventually got his cheeks to clear up with lots and lots of Cortisone cream and Aveeno Baby eczema lotion.  About a month after he weaned from formula to cow's milk, we started to notice little eczema patches flaring up all over his body.   His ankles were by far the WORST.  Red, scaly, and lots of scratch marks.  

At first we didn't attribute it to his diet.  When it was just on his cheeks, the pediatrician told us that lots of babies get eczema and most of them out grow it.  So we waited while we protected him from laundry detergent and fabric softeners and bought stock in cortisone and lotion and Burts Bees bodywash.  But as it got worse, we started to look at environmental factors.  Maybe it was dog dander?  

At their 15 month well-check, the pediatrician stepped into the room, took one look at Kiernan and said, "Whoa.  Your skin looks awful buddy."  So we discussed possible causes and landed on dairy.  Looking back, the timing was right.  So we decided to give it a try and made the switch to almond milk.  

It hasn't been easy.  So many of our normal snacks contain dairy products.  We've eliminated those.  I found dairy-free butter, cream cheese, and sour cream to use in cooking.  We've pumped up our fruits and veggies in hopes of keeping the amount of soy in his diet fairly low.  Many people that are allergic to dairy are also allergic to soy products, but soy is really in everything so we're trying not to stress about it too much.  

We also switched from Cortisone cream to the ointment, from Aveeno to Cetaphil, and from Burts Bees bodywash to Dove soap.  The ointment/Cetaphil/Dove combo works so.much.better.  

It's working. The skin care.  The diet change.  All of it.

His skin looks so much better.  We aren't perfect.  Sometimes he'll get a bite of yogurt or a chocolate chip cookie at Publix, but we're lucky that we can be that lax.  I thank God that it's just a skin sensitivity and not an anaphylactic allergy so that we don't have to worry about slip-ups or splurges.  

I've never checked so many labels or searched for so many alternative foods in my life.  But it's worth it to have a comfortable kiddo.  Cuz he's way too busy running around to worry about itchy skin.


  1. My newborns face is constantly irritated and I attributed it the I am wondering if he has a milk allergy. Did he have any other symptoms that go along with having a milk allergy?

    1. Nope, no other symptoms! Maybe try using Dove unscented bar soap on his skin, and then apply cortisone ointment (not cream) to the red parts, followed by Cetaphil lotion. I swear by the combo. In fact, we reapply the cortisone & lotion at every diaper change. If the skin care doesn't work, then you might want to try cutting dairy out of your diet if your bf-ing or talk to your ped about switching formulas. :( Hope that helps!


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