Breastfeeding and Eczema Gone Wild!

Breastfeeding. Everyone loves to tell you what to expect about breastfeeding. They love to tell you how hard it will be, or how easy it will be, or how it’s better than formula. You may hear things like, “You’ll have such a great bond,” or “Your baby will be so healthy.”

Breastfeeding a baby with a dairy allergy

Something you may never hear or at least I never heard was, “Oh and by the way you won’t be able to have a single ounce of dairy while breastfeeding because your newborn will have eczema.” Well, now you can say you have officially been warned. You heard it here first. We all know what we put into our body while breastfeeding goes right to the baby. All the warning signs say, “Don’t smoke!” or “Don’t consume alcohol!” They don’t say, “Hey, put down that Greek yogurt, you bad Mama!” Well, my sweet little baby angel, Ryan, learned the hard way what eczema was.

Young motherhood

Yes, you read that correctly “My sweet little baby angel”. Ryan will be 10 in a few months and I still call him that. And if you’re wondering: No, he doesn’t like it. Not a day goes by that I don’t tell him that God sent him from Heaven to be my angel. Ryan saved my life. No, I wasn’t dying before I got pregnant, but I sure wasn’t living. I was 23 when I got pregnant. As I say that age out loud I think “Wow!”

Choosing to breastfeed

My initial reaction was of course fear but joy quickly overcame that. I wanted to be the BEST mom in the world. Not the kind you just read about on coffee mugs. A real-life human best mom ever. As I read all my books about how to do that…breastfeeding became a decision I was determined to commit to.

Skin rash after breastfeeding

All “those people” were right: it was hard, the bond was amazing, and I was doing it! After a week I noticed a terrible rash on Ryan’s face. He had small little red bumps on his cheeks. My brain thought “Chickenpox??” “Mumps??” “Birthmark??” At his 2 week checkup, his pediatrician recommended Aquaphor. She said it was eczema. I was no stranger to this word. I had it my whole life. The new mom guilt thought, “I can’t believe he got my skin.”

Dairy elimination diet

During pregnancy, I worried about every possible scenario that could go wrong. I realized I was lucky for this to be the only concern for my “sweet little baby angel”. After a few weeks, the amount of Aquaphor I was using on Ryan was insane. It wasn’t getting better. I started doing some reading and realized that dairy largely impacts eczema. I cut out all dairy: ice cream (best mom in the world goal achieved right there), milk, cheese, pizza, you name it!!

The end of my breastfeeding days

Well, sure enough, Ryan’s face was newborn baby soft with-in 2 weeks. And this new diet of mine did wonders for bikini season! (thank you, eczema!) I recall “cheating” one day and I put milk in my tea. Sure enough… he got a flare up! I was determined to keep it up as long as I could. I got pregnant with my daughter when Ryan was 8 months. I stopped breastfeeding at this time. My body needed ice cream again. My memories of breastfeeding Ryan are some of my happiest days and I am fortunate I had the opportunity.

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