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Foods That Trigger Eczema In Babies

How To Find A Food Trigger

Food allergies and eczema in children

Some are obvious. If your child eats lobster for the first time and breaks out in hives 15 minutes later, itâs probably not hard to figure out.

But with eczema, it’s often tougher. Symptoms may not show up for days after you eat something. If you do find a trigger food and get rid of it, that may help. Still, it may not make the eczema go away. Remember, 2 out of 3 kids with eczema don’t have a food allergy at all.

That’s why working with a doctor is so important. They can guide you toward the real cause through tests like:

Elimination diets. If your doctor thinks a food may be harmful, they may ask you not to give it to your kid for 10 to 14 days. Watch to see if it makes a difference.

Food challenges. After you’ve taken a food out of your child’s diet, your pediatrician might want you to add a small amount back in to see if it causes symptoms. They may want to do this in the office, just in case your child has a reaction.

Skin testing. A doctor can take an extract of the food and use it to scratch the skin lightly. If the area swells up, that could be an allergic reaction. However, it’s not always accurate.

Blood tests. RAST — a radioallergosorbent test — can check for special cells in the blood that signal specific food allergies. Again, it’s not always accurate. Other lab tests can check for cells that trigger swelling.

Tracking down a food trigger can take patience and detective work.

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Skin Barrier Dysfunction Cause Of Eczema In Infants

The other cause of eczema is a defective skin barrier. Some people have a genetic mutation where their body doesnt produce a key protein called filaggrin. This protein is what makes the skin soft and springy. Filaggrin also helps prevent excessive water loss through the skin.

This leads to the dry, cracked, itchy skin we know as eczema.

Other people may have a less healthy skin microbiome. Having the right microbes on your skin can help create and enhance its strength. The outermost skin wall is made of dead cells and ceramides . Humans dont make their own ceramides, the bacteria do. With the wrong bacteria, you can lose the mortar, causing cracks in the skin, which allows bad bacteria like staph A to infect the skin.

The Connection Between Eczema And Food

The connection between food allergies and eczema can be tricky and confusing. A July 2013 study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology reported that infants with eczema had a higher risk of developing food allergies. That said, while there is an increased association of food allergies in children with eczema, the overwhelming majority of children with eczema do not have food allergies.

So just because your babys eczema flares-up after a certain meal, it doesnt mean that it was due to a food allergy. To help you better understand the connection between food and eczema, lets examine the ways that food can affect your babys skin and body.

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Can A Breastfeeding Mom’s Diet Affect Their Baby’s Eczema

Certain foods in a mom’s diet could cause problems for their baby with eczema. If youâre breastfeeding, you may want to avoid common triggers like:

Signs that your baby is having a reaction to something you ate include an itchy red rash on the chest and cheeks, and hives. If you see these, stay away from whatever you think may be causing the problem for a couple of weeks.

If things get better, brings foods back one at a time, says Robert Roberts, MD, PhD, a professor of pediatrics at UCLA.

Get some help from your doctor so you’ll know when it’s safe to start eating those foods again.

How To Treat Baby Eczema Through Food And Elimination Diet

food that trigger eczema in baby

Finding the root cause is the best thing you can do for treating your babys eczema. Making environmental and dietary changes should be the first step.

Some studies show that restrictive diet without milk, eggs, nuts or fish during lactation have a protective effect on children against eczema.

The best way to identify a sensitivity is with an elimination diet. This is done by removing the suspected food for a month and then adding it back.

There is no list of foods that every nursing mom should avoid each baby is unique what bothers one may not bother another.

The symptoms of a food sensitivity in breastfed babies arent always easy to spot in fact, theyre often missed because the reaction is much slower.

They can take hours to days to show up since it takes a while for mom to digest the food and then to enter babys system.

So keeping a food journal with a record of foods eaten and babys behavior/symptoms, may be helpful when trying to find a problem food.

Sometimes very healthy foods can trigger eczema too. So I recommend experimenting.

If your baby deals with really severeeczema, gastrointestinal issues, asthma and many food allergies then I strongly recommend you read this book: Gut and Physiology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Allergies, Autoimmune Illness, you will get answers for so many questions.

Another helpful resource for me was The Eczema Diet book. It contains some recipes and explains how to eliminate triggers, detoxify and heal the body.

Recommended Reading: How To Treat Infant Eczema Naturally

When Should I Start Introducing Peanuts

There have been changes since 2015 in the recommendation for introducing peanuts via age appropriate food to children with eczema. The recommendations are based on the landmark study Learning Early About Peanut Allergy . The latest recommendation is to introduce peanuts at the age of 4-6 months for children with severe eczema and 6 months for children with mild or moderate eczema. The idea is that early exposure can help build tolerance when the immune system is still developing rather than at a later age when it is harder to the immune system to adapt.

Peanut specific IgE or skin prick testing should be done before introducing peanuts to determine severity of allergies/sensitivities.

I hope that this article helps you figure out what foods can cause eczema in breastfed babies. Knowing what is causing it is nearly half the battle. How is your child doing?

Baby Eczema And Food Link

One in five children are now affected by eczema, which is often associated with an allergy but often it could also mean a food sensitivity.

Many people believe that foods are not responsible and cannot make the symptoms worse, but this is not true. I witnessed my own child plus many other children getting better after eliminating the triggering foods and adopting a different food approach.

A recent study came out that identified a unique subtype of eczema linked to food allergy, where skin abnormalities were found to be extended beyond the visible lesions being more prone to water loss, and with an abundance of pathogenic bacteria, indicating a unbalanced skin microbiome.

Whats really fascinating is that many doctors do not know what causes eczema in babies but still they dont take mothers seriously when they claim that the symptoms improved with dietary changes.

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Should I Avoid Breastfeeding

Despite the difficulty mother experience with children from eczema and the potential to constantly flare eczema, the American Academy of Pediatrics still recommends breastfeeding due to the benefits to children. Two big benefits that they summarize include:

  • Any duration of breastfeeding beyond three to four months protects against wheezing in the first two years.
  • Some evidence reveals that longer duration of any breastfeeding protects against asthma even beyond age 5 years.

The atopic triad are 3 conditions that commonly occur together. This last statement above is very encouraging as it basically states that breastfeeding in children with eczema can help protect against asthma as it commonly coincides with eczema. Of course, there is no shaming if you decide to go for formula. Many children develop healthy with formula as well as breast milk.

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Foods To Avoid With Eczema In Toddlers

Baby Eczema: What Does it Look Like? AND How to Treat it NATURALLY! (PICTURES)

If you have a toddler with eczema issues and youre often wondering what food to give your child, then this article may help you. There are many theories about what causes eczema in children. One article suggests that eczema is due to the immune system not working properly. Eczema is a chronic skin condition due to inflammation. There are many foods that can either help or worsen eczema. Its important to know what foods to give your child and what foods to avoid with eczema in toddlers. I hope the following information will help guide you.

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Can Diet Make A Difference

We are sometimes asked about the possible connection between eczema and baby food are there foods that should be avoided or foods that can help? Although doctors are undecided about the link between diet and eczema, there are certain foods that should be avoided and others that MAY reduce the severity of its symptoms.

PLEASE NOTE: The information given here is meant as a guide and does not replace professional medical advice. You should always discuss your childs symptoms and dietary needs with your doctor.

What Is Eczema And How Common Is It

Eczema is a general term for a group of inflammatory skin conditions. Atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, causes red, dry, and itchy skin. In infants, this form of eczema usually affects the face, scalp, and skin creases, but can also involve other areas of the body.

Eczema affects up to 20% of children, and most cases begin in children before the age of five.

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My Child Has Eczema Should I Introduce Allergens

Research shows that babies with eczema are at a higher risk of developing food allergies. Fortunately, early and sustained exposure to allergenic foods is recommended for babies with eczema. In fact, new guidelines from the NIH are specifically focused on infants with eczema.


All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your babys health.

See the FDA Peanut Allergy Qualified Health Claim at the bottom of our homepage.

About Annie Bunje: Annie Bunje is Marketing Director for Ready, Set, Food!

All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your babys health.

FDA Acknowledges Qualified Health Claim Linking Early Peanut Introduction and Reduced Risk of Developing Peanut Allergy in 2017:

For most infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergy who are already eating solid foods, introducing foods containing ground peanuts between 4 and 10 months of age and continuing consumption may reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy by 5 years of age. FDA has determined, however, that the evidence supporting this claim is limited to one study.

Foods That May Help With Eczema


Several foods can be beneficial for eczema and may help reduce symptoms such as itching and inflammation.

For example, fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which are compounds that can protect against oxidative stress, cell damage, and inflammation .

Although studies in humans are still limited, some research suggests that reducing oxidative stress could play a role in managing eczema .

Increasing your intake of probiotics through fermented foods or supplements may also be helpful.

According to one review of 13 studies, certain strains of probiotics were effective at reducing eczema severity in children. These strains included Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus salivarius .

However, more research is needed because other studies have found that probiotics do not have a significant effect on symptom severity or quality of life for those with eczema .


Including more foods rich in antioxidants and probiotics in your childs diet could be beneficial for eczema, but more research is needed.

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Will My Child Grow Out Of Eczema

There is a very good chance your child will outgrow their eczema. For some children, they will outgrow the symptoms of eczema by age 4. For others, they will continue to have dry, sensitive skin as they grow up.

Though it is a small percentage of children who will continue to have persistent eczema past their teenage years, they may have a tendency for sensitive, dry skin.

How Do You Know What Foods Will Trigger Eczema

There are blood tests that can be done and interpreted by an allergy doctor to see what food groups your baby might be sensitive/allergic to. The tests are not 100% accurate. One of the best ways to tell if your childs eczema is affected by food sensitivity is through trial and error or an elimination diet. An elimination diet for breastfeeding moms with baby eczema can identify what food group your child is sensitive to. To do this, a mom can remove one food group at a time and see how the baby responds to this. Sometimes it may take a week to know if there really is a reaction.

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What Food Do Breastfeeding Moms Have To Avoid

In general, breastfeeding mothers do not have to monitor or avoid certain types of food if the baby does not have signs of food sensitivity/allergies or eczema. On the other hand, if your baby starts to develop a rash on their face or body, then its time to consider a food allergy or sensitivity.

The common food groups that can cause eczema flare include:

  • cows milk products

If you can avoid these foods, you can give breast milk for eczema without causing it to flare up.

Can Food Allergies Cause Eczema

AVOID These 4 Foods to Prevent ECZEMA Flare Up

Many children with eczema will also have food allergies, but the foods themselves will not cause eczema. In fact, its often the other way around. Children with eczema are 600% more likely to develop a food allergy.

This is known as the atopic march, which describes a pattern where eczema generally appears first, followed by a food allergy, then seasonal allergies and asthma. When your child has eczema, allergens and irritants entering through the skin triggers an immune response in the form of inflammation. This hypersensitivity of the immune system can cause an exaggerated response later on when food allergens are eaten or inhaled.

Though food allergies don’t cause eczema, they can trigger a worsening of existing eczema symptoms. These eczema flares can differ by the type of food eaten as well as the childs immune system response.

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What About Babies With Eczema

It is easy for adults to change their diets. But it is a different story for breastfed babies with eczema.

You may be wondering what foods cause eczema in breastfed babies the truth is the mothers diet could affect the baby.

Therefore, examine your diet if you notice an increase in your babys severity of eczema symptoms.

To be specific, tree nuts, cows milk, and peanuts are among foods that cause eczema in susceptible babies.

Also, baby formula products might contain eczema triggers. Therefore, you might want to switch from a milk-based formula to a hydrolyzed one. This type is less likely to cause eczema flare-ups.

What Foods Can Help Eczema

Eczema and food have a sometimes confusing and complicated relationship. Foods do not cause eczema, but sometimes might trigger an eczema flare up and once confirmed by your doctor should be avoided. Other foods however might improve your childs eczema symptoms. A daily skincare plan with oatmeal bath soaks and eczema moisturiser, as well as encouraging an eczema friendly diet for your child might help with your overall eczema management. Remember that foods which are thought to be eczema friendly should not be eaten by people who are allergic to them and always speak to your doctor before deciding on any significant changes to your childs diet.

What is an eczema friendly diet?

Inflammation is a big part of eczema. With children who have eczema the skin becomes inflamed as a response to something which the body thinks is a threat. Inflamed skin is red, itchy, irritated and often warm to touch. In eczema these threats are called allergens. Allergens can trigger an eczema flare up by alerting the bodys immune response. A diet which has natural anti-inflammatory properties can reduce eczema flare ups and should be included in a diet to help manage eczema. This is because the bodys anti-inflammatory response can be lessened by these foods.

What foods can help eczema?

  • Probiotic foods
  • Prebiotics foods
  • Foods high in quercetin
  • Anti-oxidant rich foods
  • High Vitamin C foods

A reminder of what foods can trigger eczema

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How Can Good Eczema Control Help Prevent Food Allergy

Since healthy skin acts as a barrier, it also helps prevent substances like food allergens from getting into the body through the skin. Healthy skin helps protect the immune system from being exposed to food allergens. When your child’s eczema is under good control, your child’s skin is better at preventing food allergens from getting in.

New research suggests that when your child’s skin is scratched open, food allergens can get into the body more easily to make contact with the immune system. Direct contact between open skin and food, such as peanuts, may increase the chance that an allergy will develop to that food. The immune system may be more prone to developing a food allergy if the first exposures to the food are through scratched open skin.

The opposite may be true if the immune system is first introduced to the food by eating it. If the first exposure to a food is through the digestive tract, the immune system may more likely tolerate the food.

For more information about controlling eczema, please refer to the section on the next page called: How can I help control my child’s eczema?


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