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Can Baby Formula Cause Eczema?

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Eczema, that weepy, oozy, itchy rash, is a very common condition for babies, with as many as one in five being troubled with it. Many parents wonder if their baby's eczema could be caused by the baby formula they are using. It is true that finding just the right infant formula can be an exhausting process. If all the treatments for eczema fail, it is certainly possible that an allergy to something in the formula could be aggravating the condition.

If your baby is still on the way and you are trying to decide whether or not to breastfeed, studies show that breastfeeding for even just the first four or six months can prevent a child from developing eczema in the first place. There are many reasons mothers choose not to breastfeed, but usually convenience is at the top of the list. Actually, breastfeeding is very convenient, requiring no making of bottles or sterilizing of anything. If a mother has to work outside the home, she can express milk into a bottle on her lunch break and still feed her baby only human milk.

On the other hand, you may be reading this because your baby is on formula already and has eczema. It is too late to make the decision to breastfeed, no matter what. If this is the case, then by all means do what you need to do to find a formula that is hypoallergenic for your child.

Most pediatricians blame cow's milk formulas for allergies like eczema, and recommend using soy. Often the soy formulas cause problems too. One possible allergen that is not often mentioned is corn. Many commercial formulas are sweetened with corn syrup. Doctors usually frown on homemade formulas, but many parents have had good results with a carefully designed, usually goat milk based formula for their baby. (Remember to avoid any recipe that uses honey as a sweetener. Honey should not be fed to a baby.) One other possibility for some people is that of hiring a wet nurse to provide breast milk for your baby, or perhaps you can work out an arrangement with a nursing mother to purchase some of her expressed milk.

While you seek that perfect baby formula, treat the eczema with gentle moisturizers. Eliminate other possible allergens from your baby's world. For instance, consider getting rid of your dogs and cats, at least while the baby is small. Pet dander is a notorious allergen. Dust can cause allergies, too. Vacuum frequently, and use a cotton sheet when laying your baby down on a carpeted floor.

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