Eczema can be a sign of allergies in a baby. Proteins in foods can pass into the mother’s breast milk and cause allergic reactions in some babies. The La Leche League organization says that babies often grow out of these allergies within the first few years and the eczema disappears. If you suspect that your baby has eczema due to an allergy of a food protein crossing through your breast milk, consult with your pediatrician or lactation consultant about eliminating those foods from your diet.
Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and cream are some of the most common allergenic foods for new babies. Karen Zeretzke says in New Beginnings magazine that cow’s milk has more than 20 potential allergens present in the milk. For some babies, the proteins in the cow’s milk are not easily digested and are recognized by the baby’s digestive tract as allergic substances. Eczema is sometimes the allergic response to the cow’s milk proteins.
Babies who have an allergic reaction to dairy products that results in eczema may also be allergic to soy. Kellymom.com says that a large percentage of babies who have an allergy to cow’s milk proteins will also be allergic to the proteins found in soy. Many foods have soy included in the ingredients, so avoiding soy while breastfeeding will require careful monitoring of nutrition labels.
Wheat and Corn
Wheat and corn are two foods that some babies are allergic to. These two items are more difficult to remove from the diet because they are in nearly every packaged food in some form. Eliminating wheat, corn or any food suspected as a food allergy from your diet for a period of at least two weeks will help you discover whether the food was causing the allergy. If your child’s eczema begins to clear up during that time, you know the food was most likely to blame.
Eggs and Peanuts
Eggs and peanuts are two foods that are known to elicit highly allergic responses in some people. It is possible that proteins from these foods may pass through your breast milk and cause eczema in your baby, especially if there is a family history of allergies to eggs and peanuts in your family.
Food additives such as preservatives, artificial colors and artificial flavorings may cause an allergic reaction in some babies when passed through the breast milk. Similarly, foods that are treated highly with pesticides and other chemicals may cause such a reaction. Any food that is identified as allergy-causing in the baby will need to be eliminated from the diet until either the baby is weaned or until the baby outgrows the allergy. Consult with your pediatrician for advice and allergy testing if needed to determine the cause of your baby’s eczema.