Infant Allergies

There have been some studies, although inconclusive, that suggest that breastfeeding mothers shouldn’t eat peanuts and other potentially highly allergic foods while breastfeeding.  I hadn’t read any of this when I was nursing and ate peanuts along with most other foods.  My son didn’t exhibit any intolerance to the breast milk, and had no crying bouts, etc. after nursing.  I therefore assumed everything I ate was acceptable. There are other studies that state that eating allergenic foods while breastfeeding is just fine!

An infant may have a reaction to breast milk when the mother is ingesting milk products herself. One baby girl had what the doctor diagnosed as colic for months until her mother discovered her crying bouts coincided with the milk products she was eating.

If allergies run in your family, be cautious of what you eat when breastfeeding if your child appears to be suffering.  The likely foods to cause allergies:  peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, soy, wheat, fish and seafood, can cause stomach upset and long term allergy problems in infants who are nursing.  These are not the only products that can cause upset to little stomachs – the list is endless.  The foods mentioned are the most likely culprits.

To date, research has been confusing about whether a mother’s diet during pregnancy and while nursing affects her child. Proteins from foods do pass through breast milk, and more research is needed to determine if this might be a factor in the increase of food allergies.

We have found some suggestions that might help in your quest to minimize your infant/child’s skin allergy and/or eczema:

  1. Use a laundry detergent that uses no bleach or perfumes.
  2. Use a dryer softener that uses no perfumes.
  3. Use soap such as Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser that has no perfumes. There are some Cetaphil products that contain almond oil. If your child has tree nut allergies, make sure to read the label to ensure no almond oil is in the product you are purchasing.
  4. Use lotion such as Eucerin paste that has no perfumes.
  5. Have your child wear cotton clothes.  Don’t allow your child to wear wool or lamb’s wool clothing.  Some polyester bothers my son, as did flannel sheets when he was a baby.
  6. Your child’s pillow should be hypoallergenic and certainly not filled with down or feathers.
  7. Keep stuffed animals out of your child’s bed, and any other cloth toys.  You might need to keep all stuffed animals out of your child’s room completely if they are exhibiting asthma symptoms. Stuffed animals easily collect dust, an asthma trigger for some.
  8. Don’t spray chemicals in your child’s rooms, such as pledge furniture polish, carpet cleaners, or exterminating sprays.
  9. Wash your child’s hands thoroughly after playing with art supplies, or after playing outside.
  10. Bathe your child before bedtime to “wash off the day.”
  11. Change your child’s clothes before naptime and before bedtime if he/she has been outside.
  12. Don’t smoke in your house, and don’t allow your child to be exposed to smoke.
  13. Don’t allow pets in your child’s bedroom.  Depending on the severity of your child’s allergy, you might need to remove the pet from the house entirely.  In some cases, your child might not be able to even enter a house that has pets.
  14. If your child’s seasonal allergies occur at the same time the fresh pine Christmas tree is added to your house, suspect an allergy to the tree!  Try an artificial tree for one year to determine if this is the cause of the allergic reaction.

Most of the other skin ailments my son has had can be traced back to one of the items from above.  I followed directions when he was a baby and bought a special laundry detergent to launder his clothes.  I later found out there was perfume in the detergent and bleach, which he reacted to by getting dermatitis!  He sure did smell good, but felt awful.