May be our daughter's eczema was caused by an allergy to food? Or an allergy to something in her environment, such as dust or even bed mites in the mattress of her cot? We felt compelled to find out more on whether our daughter had developed an allergy and this had become the root cause of her eczema problems.
After finishing breast feeding, we tried the follow on milk, which supposedly provides additional minerals and vitamins than normal cow's milk, even though it contains cow's milk itself. I think this may have worsened my daughter's eczema and caused it to flare up even more but then again, as she was older and able to move her arms and legs, she could have exasperated the situation just by being able to scratch more freely and frequently. So it's a bit tricky on reflection pointing the finger of blame definitely on cow's milk.
The follow on milk was expensive especially when compared to cow's milk but we felt we had little choice in using the milk, as we were sucked in by the hype that follow on milk add additional benefits than cow's milk alone and cow's milk itself wasn't that suitable for a baby.
May be prolonging breast feeding would have been a better option but again it was difficult to throw a stick in the mud and whole heartedly say whether that was a turning point in my daughter's eczema worsening.
We tried goats milk for a while, with the belief it would be more tolerable than cow's milk. Goats milk was readily available from our local supermarket and well priced, ok it wasn't as cheap as cow's milk but it was still affordable.
Changing the 'strength' of milk from full fat, to semi skimmed or even skimmed and giving this to a baby is something which needs a qualified medical opinion. We consulted our doctor on whether we could cut the fat from the milk and may be tried semi skimmed milk but we were strongly advised against it, as a high proportion of fat in the milk is needed so the calcium can be absorbed. This left us little choice other than to stay on a full fat milk, be it cow's milk, goats milk or some other form of bovine milk which was full fat.
In my research of using semi skimmed milk, I was alarmed to find several cases where parents had given their babies low fat milk, with some even using skimmed milk. They'd done this without seeking medical advice and based their judgement solely on 'fat is bad'.
The babies started to experience health problems, including growth problems and when medical advice was finally sought, these parents were giving a stern telling off about their stupidity in using skimmed milk for babies.
The nutritional requirements for a baby or even a child aren't comparable with those for an adult and more importantly not all 'fat is bad' some of it's essential to grow as well as survive.
I can't exactly remember why we decided later on to remove all Citrus based foods including Citrus ingredients from my daughter's diet, may be we'd read it somewhere, or been told about it. So oranges and anything with Citric acid for a while became strictly a non starter and there was a slight improvement in our daughter's condition.
However, there was no concrete proof to state the lack of citrus in her diet was making her eczema less of a problem. Today, she eats loads of oranges and other foods with Citrus in and there's little problem with her eczema, so it's difficult to find any correlation between the two.
We also went through a period where we tried wheat free products but this wasn't a prolonged exercise because we were sceptical of whether this would work and removing such a major food group from a diet could be very problematic, especially when it came to digestion and retaining regularity.
Eggs are a tricky one especially because my daughter's eczema can flare up if she has eggs now but only if it's cooked a certain way. Otherwise she's fine with eggs and my husband regularly makes her an omelette which she enjoys.
Her eczema recently flared up when we went to a Santa's Grotto at a local shopping centre, where all the children got a free breakfast. She decided to go for a omelette and after eating this, we noticed within the next half hour, her skin around her cheeks became redder and drier. It took several hours for the redness to subside and we applied plenty of moisturiser to relieve the dryness. A few days later my husband had made an omelette and my daughter took a small piece of this to eat. We did fear a reaction but nothing happened and again a few days after this my husband made an omelette for our daughter and she had no reaction when she ate it.
So, when she had the reaction earlier, the egg or the way in which it was cooked caused a reaction, may be the oils used for fry the egg were the problem? Personally I think this is what may have caused the facial rash outbreak because she's eaten eggs since then, even fresh eggs from a farm as well as those from a supermarket.
Trying to isolate the culprit that's causing the reaction leading to eczema inflammation, rashes and increased itching is difficult and the case of the eggs highlights how it can be a number of things but only after a bit of trial and error, can it be said, whether one thing actually could have caused the problem.