How We Finally Discovered What Caused Our Baby’s Eczema

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Are you or a loved one suffering from eczema? Here is our story about eczema and food allergies and how I cured my baby’s eczema. Hopefully our story will be of help to you and will save you from unnecessary suffering.

sleeping baby experiencing eczema

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 easy healthy recipes, and DIY beauty, personal care and home care recipes 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.

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Signs of a Problem

To that end, 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.

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),” so you know we’ve dealt with sleep issues in our home for a long time. However, this was really out of control.

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.

The Rash Begins

Then my son developed what we and his pediatrician thought was a 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 itching goes away.)

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.

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.

A Desperate Mom Reaches Out for Help

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. Hard work that really paid off.

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

infant experiencing eczema with text overlay

More Healthy Living Topics

If this type of post is of interest to you, then you might like the following posts too.

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?

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  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

    1. 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. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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.

  6. I CANNOT believe how close your eczema journey (as told so far) is to our second son’s!!! It’s been 5 years since the less than 30 minute bouts of sleep even after months. A new pediatrician finally diagnosed the eczema, but didn’t heal it, so we skipped ourselves to Dr. Ghali who lived a short drive from us. He is a world-renowned pediatric dermatologist, and our suffering was finally over! If you are a mom who is desperately searching the internet like I was night and day because I had a MISERABLE baby, figure out a way to see a pediatric dermatologist. Even if you don’t have insurance, tell them your situation. It is SO worth your baby’s healing.

    I can’t wait to see your follow-up post.

  7. Great article. My family has struggled with psoriasis and eczema for generations. My youngest daughter suffers from it terribly. I get calls with her crying because her skin looks so unsightly and the eczema hurts so bad. I am sharing this article with her in the hopes she will find an answer. She used steroid creams with no long-term results. I’ve counseled her to clean up her diet, exercise more and reduce stress in her life. She’s 23, though, and sometimes it’s hard to make changes like that. I’m looking forward to reading Part II.

  8. Very interested in reading part two! I’m wondering how much might be the heavy metals that you mentioned in previous posts? I am starting the realize that heavy metals play a role in many skin conditions.

    1. I think they’re related as well. But really there is so much we don’t understand. It’s exhausting sometimes. Well….often.

  9. Very much looking forward to part two! We have food allergies at our house so I understand the lack of sleep, the itches and all the other fun that comes along with it! My son is itching more and more now, you can’t see a rash but he itches terrible. Ah, always something new! 🙁
    If you have any stories or recipes that you’d like to link up at our Gluten Free Fridays linky party, we’d love to have you share something! 🙂

  10. im interested in reading part 2. My little sister, Charity, been on oral and topical steroids for the last 3 years to try to control her exczema. As of right now she is covered head toe with a red rash that is very itchy. In fact one of her first sentences was: can you scratcha my eczema please!! They took her to an allergist and she is about to get tested for food allergies to see if that’s the culpret because she has no environmetal allergies that could be aggrivating it.

  11. When my youngest (now 3) was 6 weeks old he broke out in a rash that turned into the most awful raw, oozing, red, cracked infection all over his hands, legs and arms. It was eczema and it was horrible that first year. We had MRSA multiple times and regular Staph infections basically from about 4 months until he was a year. As soon as one infection cleared up another one arrived.

    People just stared at us in public. Like I was not taking care of him. “What is wrong with his skin? Are you doing anything about it?”. It was devastating and incredibly painful for him.

    We had a standing appointment with an awesome pediatric dermatologist at a local Dallas hospital. The situation was really severe.

    He still has mild eczema, but at the age of one they finally tested him for allergies and he was highly allergic to peanuts and moderately to eggs.I had nursed him the first 10 months and ate peanut butter regularly. I had asked the doctors many times if I needed to remove pb from my diet and was repeatedly only told to remove eggs and milk from my diet. Another lesson where I have learned mommy’s intuition is valid!

    After he turned one his eczema improved significantly. We still have issues especially when the weather changes. Everything for him is dye free and frag free, obviously.

    If your little one suffers from eczema, and you nurse, I highly suggest having your diet evaluated. Go with your gut. Demand allergy testing as early as possible (they would not do it for us until he was 1) and hang in there. It will get better.

    Oh, and baths with olive oil really help to moisturize the skin!

  12. My son (our 3rd child) had eczema which was initially diagnosed as cradle cap, but as it began traveling from his scalp down to his cheeks and all of his limbs we knew it was not cradle cap. His skin especially his cheeks began ooze pussy goo and the doctor finally diagnosed him as having the worst eczema he had ever seen. He prescribed steroid cream and I filled the prescription, but couldn’t bare to put such harsh chemicals on my baby. So, after doing some research (Thanks Laura Klien @Organic Authority) I went the all natural route and literally doused his skin in organic coconut oil at every diaper change. We called him our little butter ball turkey! Coconut oil became his lotion and literally conquered his eczema. At almost 2 I still only use coconut oil on his entire body as lotion and even as diaper cream and his eczema has completely cleared up.

    1. Vanessa,

      I’m glad your little butter ball turkey is better. Lot’s of luck. I too have suffered with Eczema and Organic Coconut Oil helps me too. Please read my postings below. Lots of luck!

  13. I am going to subscribe so I don’t miss part 2! My 3 yo daughter gets terrible eczema after she gets ant bits, and only the cream clears her up. I hate to use such strong medicine on little ones, though! Can’t wait to find out what you did to help your son.

    1. Hello there. I just published this yesterday so come on back over and read. I hope to share more in the future but our struggles with other things go on still. Blessings.

  14. I can identify and know it was only God’s grace that kept me going during those years of sleep deprivation. I am so thankful we have found melatonin helps get him to sleep and 5HTP helps him stay asleep (took me 14 years before I’d give him melatonin as I’d gotten horrible headaches when I’d used it a few times years ago, but I didn’t know what strength or what else might have been in the doses I took back then). Most of Christopher’s eczema was on his face (except the 2 weeks he ate peanuts, then it was all over him!). For months at a time I’d not touch his face with a wash cloth as it was so raw. For him, it was apples. He’d have a fairly clear face each August for those years. Now, after doing without his beloved apples for more than 10 years, he can eat an occasional one or on rare occasions drink some juice that contains apple. We feel blessed! I look forward to hearing the rest of your story. We all learn from others. Thank you for sharing about this.

  15. I’m looking forward to part two. Autism, food allergies, and eczema, are health issues that my family has dealt with over the past 3 years too. We adopted GFCF diet , also green up our lifestyle and my son’s eczema is getting much much better.

  16. I’m looking forward to part two. My son has been dealing with Eczema for 9 years. He first got it when he was 5 months old. We have tried many things, creams and diets. He has some anxiety (stress is a trigger of eczema)So, I’m willing to try something new to help him. When it is really bad; we wrap his arms at night to prevent scratching or he will wake up with bloody patches. 🙁 I’ve been told to try a “bleach bath”, but we try to keep everything natural and non toxic at our house. I’m not sure what to think of that recommendation. We tried cutting out dairy, but that didn’t work either.

    1. Hi Terika. Oh my…I feel your pain (literally) because I suffered from Eczema as a child and on occasion as an adult. Please read my comments at the bottom of this blog on this subject. Instead of wrapping the area your son has a problem with, you might want to put some gloves and keep his nails short. Trim and file the nails because if you leave sharp edges, he wil bleed horribly. I don’t know if you know this or not but if you keep your son’s nails long and scratches the irritated area, he could potentially transport that bacteria from the area under his nails and scratch another area and transpose it, atleast this is what happened to me. Lots of luck, I know the suffering that goes behind this problem.

  17. I’m anxious to hear the rest of your story! My 3-year-old daughter has had eczema patches over her bottom for over a year. I’ve tried all kinds of natural remedies and cutting out dairy, to no avail.

  18. i am most anxious to read Part 2. My 10 month old has been suffering from eczema and rashes. I have modified my diet, as I am still nursing, but it is still rough. We are also battling sleepless nights–we sometimes get 45 minutes at a time–yes for 10 months. We recently realized that when he rubs his eyes, it is NOT typically a sign that he’s tired–his eyes are itching!!! Oh, how I felt horrible about that!! I, too, cried when the dr finally agreed to refer us to a pediatric dermatologist and allergist. I am anxiously awaiting that appointment in about 3 weeks. But, desperately want to hear what worked for you!

    1. I should be able to post tomorrow. Hang in there. Bless you at this hard time. I feel so bad for you. It was a horrible time in my life. Look forward to hearing the outcome of your appointment.