Norfolk and Norwich Nutritional Therapist Catherine Jeans, the Family Nutrition Expert, works with many children and families. Here, in her latest blog, she has some advice for dealing with eczema in young children…
It’s very common for babies to develop mild eczema from a young age, but usually it only lasts for a brief period and doesn’t seem to reappear. However for some babies and toddlers, they can develop more severe eczema, but once again many children grow out of this. There are many reasons why babies may develop eczema – it could be an allergy to your washing powder, bath products and soaps you are using or, if you’re breastfeeding, something you’re eating in your diet. It could also be the type of formula milk you’re using.
Solutions and treatments
The first thing to do is use only natural products on your baby’s skin – good brands are Weleda, Lavera, Green Baby by Green People, and avoid the use of too much soap. It may be that your little one doesn’t need a bath every day, as this could dry their skin. Also switch to brands such as Ecover for your laundry. Choose a good skin moisturiser that contains only natural ingredients – I used Hope’s Relief cream on my daughter’s eczema which was really brilliant, and we stock this at The Orange Grove Clinic. Also a bit of olive oil in the bath really helps to get some moisture and lubrication into their skin (and much more natural than baby oil).
Milk protein or lactose intolerance?
Also think about when the eczema started – was it around the time you introduced formula milk? Could they have a milk protein or lactose intolerance? Some children with a history of allergies in their family tend to do better on Nanny Goat Formula, which is a goats milk formula available in health food stores, Waitrose or direct from Vitacare. Goats milk breaks down differently in the tummy and is closer to breast milk than cows milk. If you suspect your child has a milk allergy and they are not yet weaned, do speak to your health visitor about different milks to try, although they may not be aware about Nanny Goat formula (it comes from Australia and New Zealand, where many children are brought up on goats milk formula).
Look at your, and your babies’, diet
If you’re breast feeding, do consider what you’re eating – you could try cutting out dairy and gluten for 2 weeks and see if this makes a difference. If you’re weaning, again try non-dairy alternatives or goats milk and keep the diet low in gluten. Good alternative foods might be goats or sheeps milk products, Koko milk (from coconuts), coconut milk and cream in tins, lactose free products (although these do still contain casein, milk protein, which your child could be reacting to). Also look for naturally gluten free grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and rice.
Omega 3 & professional guidance
Also increase your child’s intake of omega 3 fatty acids, if they are weaning – from oily fish, and some ground up seeds or seed oils (just a little, go very slowly). If you’re breastfeeding, make sure your diet is rich in omega 3 fats from oily fish, greens and nuts and seeds too.
If you suspect your child may have an allergy or intolerance, do consult professional guidance before doing a food exclusion diet, to ensure they do not become nutrient deficient. I work with families with young children and help them create a nutrient dense diet that suits all stages of development.