4 Month Old with Possible Dairy Allergy

Updated on May 17, 2008
S.H. asks from Elmhurst, IL
6 answers

OK, so I've been reading a lot of past posts about eczema and dairy allergies. I took my son to his 4 month appointment and I showed the doctor his eczema and he didn't think anything of it. I asked him if it was possibly a dairy allery and he wondered how he could be allergic if he wasn't eating dairy. I am exclusively breastfeeding him and asked if it could get into his system if I ate it and he seemed surprised, like no one had ever brought that point up to him before. I just don't know what to do. The excema seems to get better with Hydrocortisone, but always comes back if I don't reapply. I don't want to treat the symptom, like so many people said on the other posts. Should I stop all dairy from my diet and see what happens? Could anyone give me some names of products that don't have dairy? What bread, butter, lunchmeat can I eat? There isn't a Whole Foods near me, so I will be shopping at Dominick's or Jewel. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

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answers from Chicago on

My son has had ezcema since he was two months old (now he is 13 months). My son is exclusively BF. I went off all dairy for two months, I was very careful and did not cheat. I even was taking pro-biotics. My sons ezcema did not get better at all, at times it was worse! I was also using Eucerin and Aquafor lotion (which doesn't help) about six times a day and only bathing him once a week. At his four month check up I talked with the doctor again, she didn't really feel it was a dairy allergy. By chance we had purchased front loading washer/dryer and I had to switch detergents to the high efficiency stuff. I saw All Free and Clear (I had been using Dreft or Organic laundry detergent) and gave it a try. With in a couple of days his ezcema was completely gone. He will get a patch every once and a while, but it will be gone in a day with Cetaphil lotion, which I don't even apply daily anymore. So very long story short, try changing his detergents first. Be careful that you rinse the tub very well after you clean it. Your son may just have very sensitive skin. If that doesn't help then start eliminating foods from your diet.

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answers from Chicago on

My 16 month old daughter is allergic to milk, egg, and sesame. She never had eczema as a baby, but instead had severe reactions when each food was introduced into her diet after 6 months. A milk allergy is common, and if you think you son has one, it doesn't hurt to take dairy out of your diet and see. I am still nursing and she also has soy formula. I have noticed my daughter is much less congested now that I have taken most dairy out of my diet. I only took out things like milk, yogurt, cheese... I still ingest dairy through baked products, etc. If you have any allergies (seasonal too) your child has a 40% chance of having something. 60% chance if you and his father both have allergies. Try soy alternatives and vegan products if you want to completely eliminate dairy. In hindsight, my daughter had more severe reactions when receiving sesame through my breastmilk (after middle eastern food with tahini, etc.) than dairy--- fussy, spitting up, colicky. You may want to explore other allergens like peanuts or sesame in your diet too.



answers from Chicago on

I have a 5 yr old daughter who is highly allergic to dairy. We never had any eczema problems with her or any symptoms of a dairy allergy when I was breastfeeding her. But, I suppose anything is possible.

If you're going to try to do a dairy free diet, here are some things to look for on labels.

First, anything with any obvious dairy (milk of any type, cream, butter, cheese, etc.), stay away from. You'll also need to look for dairy proteins such as whey and casine (sp?) in any form (including casinate). These are in everything!

Just recently, Jewel brand bread is now dairy free. But, since recipes and ingredients change often, you'll need to check the labels everytime. For a butter alternative, we use Soy Garden. It's completely dairy free and you can cook and bake with it (some soy butters you can't). Soy milk is actually quite tasty but we get the vanilla type. If you shop at Costco, you can get a 3-pack of 1/2 gallon size for pretty cheap. They also have a large tub of soy butter -- not Soy Garden but something very similiar (which is actually what we use now).

For our daughter, we also have to stay away from anything that was manufactured on equipment that also processes dairy. You probably don't have to worry about this so much right now. Lunch meat from the deli we never give our daughter because of the possibiliy of someone using the meat slider for cheese. Cross contamination is a big concern of ours. Packaged lunch meats are almost always okay but check the labels first.

I don't shop at Whoel Foods -- usually Jewel, Dominicks, and Costco. We get soy cheese at Fruitful Yield up by Fox Valley mall. I won't touch the stuff (smells horrible) but my daughter seems to like it. Then again, she's never had anythign but that. The downside (aside from the smell) is that it doesn't melt very nicely so cooking with it is a bit of a challenge. As far as rice cheese, veggie cheese, and soy cheese -- almost all of them have casinate in it -- a milk protein. So you have to be really careful. We've found the Tofutti brand to be fine. Their ice cream is actually really good too. I can't tell the difference.

I doubt at this point you have to go 110% dairy free but I hope I've given you some options.

Good luck. I hope you don't have a dairy allergy, or any other food allergy on your hands. :(




answers from Chicago on

My daughter has (had?) a milk protein allergy. We never once had issues with excema; her issues were almost exclusively digestive. Excema can also be caused by a reaction to your laundry supplies, lotions, baby soaps... I don't know that I would immediately rush to the assumption that it is dairy in your diet causing the problem (although it certainly could). If your doctor doesn't seem to care to find the source of the excema, ask for a referral to an allergist.



answers from Chicago on

My 15 month old is allergic to dairy and eggs. At 4 months, he also had eczema (on his face primarily). The doc said to put hydrocortizon on it, which we did and it would clear up and come back. I also breastfed him and they never suggested that I cut out dairy from my diet. At 6 months, he ended up breaking out into hives when we gave him some milk based formula with his cereal, which is how we discovered the allergy.

So, yes, you should cut out all dairy from your diet to see if that helps your son's eczema. Do it for at least 2 weeks. After we discovered my son's allergy I continued to breastfeed him (and just finished completely last week) so I had to cut all dairy out of my diet for the last 10 months. Once you get the hang of it, it is not that hard. You'll have to read the labels carefully for milk based derivatives like whey and casein. It is now the law for foods labels to list everything that is in the product, so you will know if a product contains milk. We do shop at Whole Foods, but I think Dominick's and Jewel carry a lot of dairy-free products now. Some examples, Silk Soy milk, Rice Dream Rice milk, Silk soy yogurt. Earth's Balance is what we use in place of butter -- it is a dairy free magarine (you'll notice that most magerine's actually have some dairy). Not sure if they sell it at Dominick's, but maybe there is a Trader Joe's by you, or you can make a special trip. We also buy Arrowhead Farms lunchmeat -- dairy-free and organic. As far as snacks, graham crackers, teddy grahams, saltine crakers, some cookies (we've found that vanilla creme filled cookies are generally dairy-free -- they contain soy instead -- but read the labels). Heart to Heart cereal is also a favorite of mine.

By the way, the earlier you cut the potential allergen out of your son's diet, I think the better chance his gut will heal and he will outgrow it. Good luck.



answers from Chicago on

Of course what you eat is going to be in your breastmilk....silly Dr. How can some of these Doctors never hear of some of these things?!? If it were me, I would eliminate dairy and see what happens. If the baby's eczema isn't TOO bad, I would just concentrate on the MAIN sources of dairy and cut those out. With my son, who gets a quarter size patch on his cheek, I focus on milk, cheese, yogurt, (which he gets none of) chocolate, etc. I read labels and if something doesn't have milk but is produced in a factory where milk products are, I don't worry about that. Since there isn't a whole foods by you, what about a Trader Joes? They are pretty awesome about having great tasting food that you can tailer around allergies. Good luck!

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