Skin conditions can be stubborn. However, as the saying goes, better out than in! When my six month old baby boy developed eczema, being fully breastfed, I was mortified. Having freshly graduated from naturopathic college I was sure I had all the answers and this wasn’t meant to be happening to a fully breastfed baby that wasn’t vaccinated. So I set to work to find out the answers and referring to my study notes and with the help of a past homeopathic lecturer, I managed to cure his eczema completely. He is now 31 years old and has had no return of any skin problems, nor asthma which can be related.
Armed with this knowledge I launched into clinical practice and seemed to attract every baby and child with skin problems in my area.
So I would like to share with you some of my insights on treating eczema and other skin conditions over my years as a naturopath, treating hundreds of babies and children.
- From a naturopathic viewpoint, it is all about digestion and the immune system. When we ingest foods that our body cannot break down, often because of low enzyme activity which can be genetic, this undigested food molecule (usually a protein) crosses through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. Once there, the immune system will identify the unknown molecule as a foreign invader. This of course is the immune system’s job, to identify self from non-self. Once the immune system is alerted to the fact that there is an invader in the midst, it starts to attack by making anti-bodies and histamine against the invader. This of course then leads to all sorts of allergy reactions from hay fever and sinus to eczema, asthma and migraines.
- Lactose intolerance, where the baby has low levels of lactase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose in cow’s milk, is fairly common in babies and tends to run in families. Breastfeeding helps immensely as this is the food designed for babies, rather than cows milk formula. Breastfeeding mums need to avoid dairy products also and wheat which can also trigger allergies in the baby.
- Pregnant women, who have a family history of allergies, are wise to take a probiotic every day during the pregnancy, and especially the last three months. This will lessen the allergic tendency in the baby.
- Flaxseed Oil is a great anti-inflammatory for all skin conditions and as eczema is often an imbalance of Omega 3’s and 6’s, it is wise for pregnant mums to take 2 tbs a day during the pregnancy and while breastfeeding. It also helps with baby’s brain development. Older children can have a teaspoon of flaxseed oil with their food.
- Homeopathic remedies are extremely beneficial for babies and children and can alleviate and cure eczema and other skin conditions. If baby is under six months, the mum can take the homeopathic remedy and baby will get the benefit through the breast milk. Sulphur 30C is a great remedy for all skin conditions in newborns. It detoxifies the system and brings out impurities through the skin. Homeopathy teaches us to encourage impurities to be eliminated, rather than pushed back into the body where they will cause more harm in the long term. This is the reason why it is necessary to avoid cortisone cream as this will suppress the symptoms only and push the disease process further into the body. Suppressed eczema often leads to asthma later on. Rhus Tox 30C can be beneficial for the itch, Pulsatilla 30C and Chamomilla 30C to help soothe and calm the skin and Psorinum 200C as a clearing remedy. It is always best to consult with a homeopath for your specific symptoms. A constitutional remedy may also be necessary.
- Herbs are wonderful to help strengthen the digestion and the immune system. The mum can take Chamomile, Peppermint, Nettle, Calendula and Fennel as a tea and older babies and children can have a diluted tea of Chamomile, Nettle and Fennel. This will help with colic as well as skin conditions.
- For the mum, an organic diet of lots of fresh veggies, avocados, tofu, fish, rice, nuts and seeds, tahini, almonds, eggs, oats, barley, miso and linseeds will be extremely helpful. Almond milk smoothies with banana, LSA, chia seeds and flaxseed oil are extremely beneficial. Organic yoghurt maybe tolerated because of the probiotics. Avoiding dairy and wheat, processed foods, sugar, trans fats and artificial colouring and flavouring will help the growing baby while breastfeeding and for starting good dietary habits for the child.
- As well as flaxseed oil, probiotics, a good diet, herbs and homeopathics, the mum can take zinc and evening primrose oil while still breastfeeding if necessary. Probiotics can be given directly to the baby or child.
- Topically I would suggest only one cream which is Healing Herbs Skin Cream. Because there are no essential oils, it can be used safely with homeopathics. It contains Calendula and Golden Seal for healing, Chickweed for the itch as well as Aloe Vera and Vitamin E. The base is a combination of Macadamia and Jojoba oils, which are very beneficial for the skin. Always patch test first, especially on young babies.
- Creating a calm and stress free environment will help baby as well as the whole family. If eczema is treated correctly when it first shows up, then there should be no reason for it to return later on. The baby’s health will only improve as it’s immune and digestive systems have been strengthened. This is a true cure.
Suzanne Staples ND DBM
Naturopath Herbalist Homoeopath
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