Baby Formula & Eczema

Little boy drinking his beverage
A baby drinking from a bottle he is holding himself. (Image: CatherinePro/iStock/Getty Images)

Small red bumps that start on the neck and upper back and extend down to the torso and into the arms and legs may be a sign that your baby has eczema. These spots usually are accompanied by dry skin. The bumps may even fill with fluid and burst open when irritated. A family history of allergies may set up your infant for eczema, though certain foods or substances may trigger this reaction.

Types of Formula

There are two main types of infant formula: milk-based and soy-based. Milk-based formulas contain cow's milk that has been processed to make it more like breast milk. During processing, the formula is made more digestible and nutrients are added. Soy-based formulas contain soy as their protein and the essential nutrients your child needs. Soy can be a good alternative if your child is allergic to milk or you want your child to abstain from consuming animal products.

Formula and Eczema

A sensitivity to certain foods, including formula, may be triggering your child's eczema. Two of the most common triggers for children's eczema are also the most common types of formula: milk and soy. If your child's eczema is being set off by the formula he is consuming, symptoms should begin to appear within two hours after consumption of the formula.

Treatment

Treatment should include a visit to your doctor, especially if you believe the formula you are feeding your baby is worsening her eczema. This can indicate an allergic reaction to the formula, which can become serious. To determine if formula is the cause of eczema, switch to an alternative formula for two to six weeks to see if the eczema improves. To treat the symptoms of eczema, keep your baby's skin moisturized, stop washing it with soap and avoid using detergent with dyes or perfumes on the baby's clothes.

Alternative Formulas

If you find your child is having a reaction to both soy- and milk-based formulas, there are alternative options. A protein hydrolysate formula is a type of formula made for infants that are allergic to both soy and milk. This type of formula, also known as hypoallergenic formula, contains all of the essential nutrients that your baby needs and is easy for her to digest. Your child's pediatrician can help you decide the best route to take.

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