My second baby, a boy, started having dry patches of skin when he was a couple weeks old. By a month old it was many patches of dry rough skin on his tummy that I was pretty sure were eczema. Thankfully they didn’t get bad and oozy, and didn’t seem to bother him that much. But they did bother me. As is our standard operating procedure, we don’t rush to the doctor for non life threatening things, but rather do a little research on our own first.
First I googled his symptoms and became relatively sure that it was in fact eczema. Then after reading about conventional treatments (steroids! No thanks!) I started looking into what more gentle holistic methods there were.
WebMD’s Eczma page (has a picture)
I’ve become a fan of holistic medicine since I’ve learned that it’s focus is on finding the root of the problem rather than just covering up or treating symptoms. Even many holistic methods, though, are too ‘symptom oriented’ for me, meaning that they are treating symptoms rather than the actual problem. I didn’t want to just treat the patches of dry skin with moisturizers, or colloidal silver. I wanted to get to the root of the problem, so I looked around a little more.
I already knew that my kids got diaper rashes from synthetic (microfiber) cloth diapers, and it looked like eczema could be exacerbated by synthetics as well. Many websites will tell you to avoid wool as well, but we were fine with nice soft wool and hand knits. Commercially available sweaters, though, are often treated with harsh chemicals that may irritate baby’s sensitive skin.
Luke warm baths were supposed to help for comfort, so I did that in our bucket tub.
Eczema, I learned, is an autoimmune response, like allergies. I already knew that my side of the family has a milk allergy, so I eliminated that first. I was really strict for a week, until all the eczema went away, and then I gradually started adding a little back in here and there (butter on my toast, etc). During that time, I added a bunch of coconut milk to my diet, which may have helped as well.
Some more links. Can you tell I enjoy research?
Elimination diet for breastfeeding mothers to try to clear up baby’s eczema. If the dairy didn’t work, I was going to try coffee next. Glad I didn’t have to ~grin~
Coconut milk may help, this article is about topical coconut oil application, but it also mentions that an abundance of omega 6s may flare up eczema. Coconut milk is rich in omega 3s, which is thought to not cause inflammation.
That worked for us, so I wanted to share. I’m always happy to be able to clear things up for my family on my own without using harsh pharmaceuticals. Of course, you have to make your own decisions for your family and this is just what worked for us, isn’t at all medical advice.