Eczema and Food Allergies – Our Story from Despair to Healing – Part One

Eczema. Our son had it bad as an infant. Find out how we made it from awful, itchy, despairing days to a marvelous healing of his skin.

Autism, food allergies, Asperger’s Syndrome, eczema, and chronic fatigue are health issues that my family has dealt with over the past 12 years.

And over the years I’ve repeated a number of stories to friends to

  • connect with others about our life
  • share what might help others as they battle similar issues.

This is one of them.

It’s the story of how our son’s eczema basically terrorized our family for the first year of our life with him.

And how we beat it.  With God’s help.

This is that story.

It was a very tough road, but I hope our trials and what we learned are a blessing to someone else.

For long time readers of my blog, you know that my oldest son has Asperger’s Syndrome and life threatening food allergies.

As a result, we have gradually transitioned to a whole foods, special diet menu and to non-toxic personal and home care products to lighten the toxic load on all of us – and on the planet.

While I really love sharing recipes (like Healthy Almond Joy and Homemade Chocolate / Carob Chips), kitchen tips (The Easiest Way to Peel Garlic), and DIY recipes (like No Streak Glass Cleaner) that make it easier for all of you to clean up your life and diet, I really want to also share from my heart.

Stories about this health journey – where we’ve been and where we are now.

Because we are real people and so are my readers.  And by learning and sharing together we can help each other navigate this path towards greater health.

In that interest, today I am sharing with you our story about my son’s life threatening food allergies and eczema.

Here goes.

My oldest son was born at home in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.

His birth was rough, but amazing.  And that’s another story that I will have to share at another time.

Things started out well.

He nursed well, taking to breastfeeding like a champ.

I still remember our first nap together – mother and son. lying close. myself sleepily drinking in the newness and bliss of motherhood.

But all of that changed about 3 months later.

We knew from the beginning that our son was “intense”, but he soon became basically an insomniac.

I wrote about sleep struggles in my post on Natural Sleep Help for Children (and Adults)and so you know we’ve dealt with sleep issues in our home for a long time.  However, this was really out of control.

Basically, things got so bad that my son wouldn’t sleep for more than a half hour at a time.

And at nighttime he would only sleep for 10 of those half hour stints at a time.  (Translation – 5 hours of sleep disrupted 9 times.)

Mom was a complete mess.

We tried everything.

  • Tying his crib next to our bed in sidecar fashion
  • Having him sleep in a bouncy seat with the motor turned on
  • Putting him to sleep in his car seat so he’d be surrounded by tight cushions

I was even in the market for a gadget that you attached to the baby’s crib and it would make it feel like the baby was riding in a car.

But the reviews weren’t consistent enough to justify the price on our then $13,000 per year income.  So I passed.

I was at the end of my rope.

No sleep and a very irritable baby makes for a rough life :-(.

Then my son developed what we and his pediatrician thought was cradle cap on his head and eyebrows.

We tried several natural treatments, but it just progressed all over his eyebrows and then down to his cheeks and beyond.

So we were referred to a dermatologist who told us that he had eczema and was itching terribly.

(After hearing this, my husband and I remembered that our son would lie on his back in his crib and rotate his arms around in a strange way around his face.  Now we knew that he was itching horribly and trying to scratch himself.  Oh the pain of parenthood–to know your child has been suffering and you didn’t know it and had done nothing to help him.)

The prescription for topical steroid cream came and we filled it.

And on went socks on his hands when he slept to prevent him from scratching himself.

(Part of that was to prevent infections and part is because eczema has an itch / scratch cycle that is important to beat.  The more your itch, the more you scratch, and so on….  Stop the scratching and some of the itch goes away.  Or so they say.)

My son’s skin was gorgeous for awhile, and he slept fabulously, but once we were done with the prescription, the rash rebounded and we were back where we started.  With itching and sleepless nights.  And the warnings on the cream’s insert were pretty frightening :-(.

We did what we could, but I was basically losing my mind.

Eventually, my son had a rash all over his abdomen, back and even his legs.

His cheeks were oozing a crusty, yellow goo, and he would stick to my arms when he nursed.

Finally, one day, in desperation, I called Chicago Children’s Hospital and asked for an appointment with their head allergist.

What I got was horrible news.  They were booking out 3 months in advance.  I fell apart on the phone and told her that I honestly didn’t think I would make it ’til then.

Graciously, somehow, she got the department head on the phone and a few minutes later I had an appointment.

I got a prescription during that appointment.

Not for another cream, but for hard work that paid off.

I’ll be sharing that “prescription” in Part Two – next time.

More Healthy Living Topics that Might Interest You

- Did Vaccines Cause My Son’s Autism? – Part One
Autism, Anxiety and a Real Miracle
Why I am Thankful for Autism
Special Needs Children – A Sign from God 
True Freedom on the Fourth – an Autism Story

Has your family had to deal with eczema and/or food allergies?

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seaniz/2114708830/

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  1. My son also suffered from terrible eczema as a baby. He is now 6 and still gets it occasionally. What I discovered was that he was allergic to dairy and was getting it through my breast milk. I eliminated ALL traces of dairy from my diet and sure enough his eczema disappeared. The doctor said he would outgrow it but I’m not so sure he did as he still gets eczema and has other digestive issues which I believe comes from dairy even though he now tests negative for that allergy. I have tried to wean him from dairy but he loves it and it’s been difficult to eliminate which is why I think he still gets the eczema from time to time. I’m sure dairy won’t be the answer to everyone’s problem but you might try eliminating it and see if it helps.

    • I think dairy is one of the most prevalent issues regarding eczema and dietary issues. From what I’ve seen and from what I’ve read. Thanks

      • I completely agree dairy is horrible for Eczema sufferers, I have Eczema and I try to stay away from dairy products, it’s hard not to eat dairy but I think about the consequences.

  2. Thank you for sharing this story. I can not imagine what it was like going through that. My daughter has a few intolerances and it was a exhausting journey with just that (lack of sleep, scratching, cradle cap, ect.)

    Thanks for linking up to Healthy 2Day Wednesday, hope to see you there Wednesday.

  3. Message subject : eczema

    i just read the article you have on line regarding a baby with eczema and food allergies.. i just wanted to put my personal experience in there – maybe it will help someone.
    everything skin related is blood related (that’s what ayurveda preaches and also chinese medicine)- with me it’s definitely related to the gut poisoning the rest of my body as i ‘m a healthy eater. specifically- eczema sufferers need to try gluten free diet/dairy free diet and not so much raw veggies as they are hard to digest- ALSO probiotics !! and an evaluation of b vitamins.. (some people like myself have a common genetic blood disorder called MTHFR which makes absorption impossible- can occur with dysbosis and i think that messed up my skin.. now i’m on special vitamins) also vitamin D and fish oil! if a breast feeding mother wanted to help her baby i would up those plus alkaline green drinks.. i’m not a doctor just did a TON of research.. everything is connected to our gut. and the flora in our intestines get passed to the baby too. it’s crazy. especially since pregnancy increases candida problems. (acidity/toxins). also moms: remember your intestinal health is important in breast feeding- not only what you eat is important but what gets leaked out of your intestinal track into your blood stream (toxins) and your personal ability to absorb vitamins! all this effects your baby while you are pregnant and in treating your baby (breast feeding especially). your blood health is crucial! gene testing is now easy and no big deal but important for your baby’s health.. you need to know this as soon as you get pregnant!

    best ! thanks for reading! and hope it helps
    Sincerely,
    sophia

    • Sophia, I have to agree with you 100% about taking Probiotics for Eczema because I’ve suffered Eczema since I was a child. Please read my comments below. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I’ve had Eczema, pretty much my entire life. Now at 44 y/o, I started taking Probiotics about 2 years ago in the form of supplements and my Eczema is pretty much gone. I get flare-ups mostly in the summer, since the heat tends to irritate it. I don’t know how old you have to be to take Probiotics but that might be something you might look into. I know there’s also Probiotics you can eat naturally like Kimchi, Saurkraut, pickles, etc, but this might be somthing you can look into. I would try to go see a Naturpathic or someone who specializes in natural medicine, maybe in even particularly with children. I REGRET taking so many big pharma meds in my years growing up, that were temporary fixes from Steriods to everything under the sun for the itching. It’s such an uncomfortable itch. I would never wish it on anyone, much less a child. I see you taking serious steps to cure your baby (as I would) but try to go natural. Like I said, Probiotics have worked for me. However, I do use (on occasion) Aveeno anti-itch cream that helps but does not resolve the problem. I also know that food allergies have a lot to do with my Eczema flare-ups. MILK, gluten are my enemies and although it’s very hard to not eat or drink it, I do try to stay away from especially these two. Lot’s of luck to your beautiful baby boy and please keep us posted.

  5. Oh another thing I just remembered, as I child I remember my mom making a pasty natural remedy. Mix equal parts of Oatmeal or preferrably pure Maizena (which is a Mexican form of Oatmeal but make sure there are no additives like Vanilla etc) and add water, blend it for a minute or so. Although it was a temporary solution, I remember this helped the itch. You can put the paste form in the irritated area, in bath water, you can also strain the paste and pour the liquid in a spray bottle and spray in the irritated/itchy area. Do not cover the irritated area once you have sprayed or added the paste to the area, you want to expose the area to air so it can breathe.

  6. I’m so glad you’re sharing this. Our youngest has a similar story. After her first couple weeks it seemed she only slept for 20 minutes at a time. She would be up all night itching and fussing. We resorted to late night cartoons with distracting music and my husband would basically hold her arms still at night because she was giving herself skin infections from scratching. Serious food allergies too. It’s been a long road with a couple serious set backs, but we’ve got her on a diet and herbal/vitamin supplements that have finally given her a good summer at 6 years old. Looking forward to hearing the rest of your story!

    • The rest is at a link at the bottom of the post- check it out :).

      • I’m Eczema suffer and nearly 40 they only thing that stops it is certain foods weetbix porridge Marmite being the main trigger trail and era also omega 3 found in white meat chicken pork fish… I was given and old wives tale book medical one found it to correct in many things i reacted too. Also grass and enzymes in clothes wash powder etc.. i found things with Zinc base either drops add to drink once a day got rid of it you can get it in a cream as well nappy rash cream pintsole in soap and liquid works at bath time. It not easy but it can be worked around also and sheets blankets that sweats and under wear stick to cotton stay away from lainelen oil found in sheep wool oil found in many creams and wool as this will make things worse.

  7. Such a touching story. It is definitely Gods work that helped you in this situation. Also, it is wonderful that you did not back down til you got something done about this horrible situation for your baby.

  8. Awaiting part two! Our 3 year old has suffered from horrible eczema since birth all over his body. I’ve done so many different treatments and limited diets for him but we still can not get it under control. Kills me to see him suffer so. Our other son has autism, so your title hits so close to home. Thank you fir sharing any insight you may have to help us :-)

  9. Looking forward to reading part 2. Both kids have it & have been on meds for yrs, I would love to get them off meds and on natural remedies.