4 month old - full of questions

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I had pb and jam toast for breakfast and went to lotion up my 4 month old as he has very dry skin. He broke out in hives. I phoned emergency as I was breastfeeding. Doctor said it was alright as proteins are broken down in my body. However, after the next feeding, he broke out and was all red again - especially around the mouth. Tried one more time. He was gassy and irritable. Stopped breastfeeding for the night and gave him formula. He seemed much better the next day. Since, the doctor has prescribe epipen and I have eliminated all peanut products in my house. Still very stressed about the whole situation. I have pb every day while I was pregnant. My first son 2 1/2 years old has no allergies. Wish I has known the current theories. Now I am left with all kinds of questions. What else will Aidan be allergic to and will he develop asthma. Also he started out with dry skin and what I thought was cradle cap. Now it obviously is eczema. What is the best lotion for him. I use lubriderm. He is also very itchy in and behind his ears. Seems to be the worst spot. Why? Why is he redder on some days than others. One minute his skin can be completely cleared and then the next he can be red behind his knees and diaper area. I am so stressed when I go to eat something for fear that I do not know what else he is allergic to. Is it possible to be allergic to just peanuts. How about other nuts like almonds. Is it common to be allergic to both. When he cries I am constantly picking him up because I am scared that he is having stomach problems. I get up 4-5 times a night when he cries and often just sleep with him again because I am afraid he is in pain. Or am I just spoiling him? He is definitely a lot more time/energy consuming than my first son was. I too have felt like I have cursed this poor child and don't know how it makes him feel. It must he awful to be constantly itchy and have gas etc. Anybody out there with some insight. What a great website!

On Apr 23, 2000

Regarding lotions, I found the best lotion for my son's skin was precription Westcort. Also Aquaphor is very good too. Aquaphor is an over the counter ointment.

On Apr 23, 2000

Browell, My heart goes out to you. It's tough to see a 4 month old go through all that. I urge you to be very careful as he seems highly allergic. I would meet with a good pediatric allergist before he starts on table food and avoid all the biggies-dairy, eggs, wheat, nuts, shellfish, soy, etc. until you know what he tests positive for. He may or may not be allergic to tree nuts (my peanut allergic son is not, nor is he allergic to other legumes). You just won't know until he is tested or has a reaction as a result of exposure. I don't know how young they will perform a CAP RAST test on, but have heard they don't do skin prick tests on children with excema or highly reactive skin. My son was colliky and miserable until I quit breast feeding and he started on soy formula (he threw up his first bottle of milk-based formula). He slept and was almost a cry free baby within 2 days. He ended up having allergies to dairy, strawberries, citrus, cheerios and by far the worst to peanuts. I am not saying you should give up breast feeding though. There is a lot of evidence that it is the best thing for food allergies. This is a great place for information but you really do need a good allergist along with your pediatrician. Good luck.

On Apr 23, 2000

When my son, who is peanut allergic, was 2 days old, he started with the eczema on the face and a TERRIBLE cradle cap that went on for months. We spent a good 6 months with him suffering due to his skin, just like you have described. All my pediatrician would give me was Lubriderm (which did nothing) and tell me to use an over the counter hydrocortisone cream--again no help. One day he was so sick and my ped. couldn't get him in so I went to another. He felt so bad for my son (skin) that he rubbed him down with prescription Westcort cream. That was the first time we had some peace!! Ever since then I have been using prescription cream to keep the eczema under control, which it does with very little use--we like Elocon. Aquaphor (non-prescription) is also excellent. Lubriderm is useless and was actually rated pretty poorly by Consumer Reports magazine for holding in moisture for a long time. I found the Aveeno cream to be nice, but kind of expensive. Try some of the heavier creams. For the cradle cap, which is really something more severe I suspect, try Sebulex shampoo. When my son's would not go away (he was one year old and still had "cradle cap"), the pediatrician said to use it and it cleared it right up. Once we got it cleared, we only had to use it once a week for awhile and then never again. You can buy this right in the grocery store and costs about $9.00 per bottle, but it works. If it makes you feel any better, I did not breast feed and my son still got the allergy. I also didn't eat alot of peanut butter (if any) while pregnant. My first child also has no allergies. I experimented with all kinds of formulas trying to "fix" his skin. I used soy and then Nutrimagen thinking he had "allergies". Nothing helped and I wasted lots of money. Once his peanut allergy was discovered at 8 months, I did find out he was not allergic to milk and soy so we switched back to the regular formulas. I agree that you should get an appt. with a pediatric allergist to see if you can determine any allergies at this point. If your child is allergic to MANY foods, breastfeeding may not be best and you may need a hypoallergenic formula. Good luck. Christine

On Apr 23, 2000

My 8 month old son is allergic to peanuts and several tree nuts. When he was 2 months old, he developed what I thought was cradle cap. It was probably eczema. At times he also would get fussy at eating times. Around 3 months he started to get eczema on his body in all the classic places (behind the ears, behind his knees etc.). It got progressively worse (though there were good and bad days, and sometimes the rash disappeared and then re-appeared). We used Eucerin and a 1% steroid.

I was very frustrated because at that point he was 100% breastfeed, and I thought that would keep him from getting allergies. When he was 6 months old I read an article about a mother who did an elimination diet to pinpoint her sons allergies. I went down to eating 5 foods for a week (chicken, beef, spinach, apples and rice...no sauces, no oils, nothing else). My son's eczema TOTALLY cleared up. I slowly added foods back, but I stayed away from the well known allergy provoking foods (no dairy, no eggs, no wheat, no soy, no nuts, no citrus, no fish).

Around the same time, he had a RAST test done, and showed to be allergic to peanuts and several nuts. Nothing else showed up, though from my elimination I knew he spit up more when I consumed dairy. I continued on a limited, but nutritionally balanced diet (no nuts, very minimal highly allergic foods). I have learned that ANY food that you eat when you breastfeed can be passed onto your baby. Personally, I do not have any allergies. My husband has hayfever.

My son's skin in 100% better. We carry an Epi-pen for chance encounters with nuts (he has only had one hive reaction after being touched by someone who has recently touched walnuts.)

I chose to keep nursing as I was afraid he was, or would become allergic to something in the formulas. I can control many aspects of food selection my diet, but there are only a few formula choices. I am now in the process of weaning my son. He only nurses once day.

Hope that this information is helpful.

[This message has been edited by san103 (edited April 23, 2000).]

On Apr 23, 2000

Hi,

I've got the same story as the moms above but my son had a scratch test done at 3 months old. Reactions can be misleading at that young age but he tested positive for wheat, eggs, tomatoes, yeast, peanuts, strawberries. I cut them all out (and lost the baby weight plus 10 pounds!) with the elimination diet during breast feeding. My son's excema cleared up considerably. Also, you may want to switch to a protein hydrosolate formula which does not contain soy or milk - that was very helpful for my son...but not for my pocketbook. You can gradually add foods and see how your baby reacts.

Your baby is young, the steroid creams can thin the skin so use sparingly. Elocon creme, even when used in small amounts will clear up the bad excema. Hopefully, if you find the source of allergy, you won't have to use it that often. I slathered my son with Eucerin twice a day for the last two years which helped. I'm pretty proud of the fact that my son's large Elocon tube is still half full and he is now 2 1/2 years old.

The good news is that the child will, most likely, grow out of most of these allergies. That was the case with my son. The peanut allergy is different though. It can be life-long and very serious. On a good note, my uncle grew out of his peanut allergy.

Good Luck. Lori

On Apr 23, 2000

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I also cut out milk and eggs (the two most difficult for me). Even so, I successfully breast fed until my son was a year old. It was very difficult, I put up with alot of negativity from everyone but I stuck with it anyway. I lived on veggies with olive oil and garlic, meat, fruit and sugary candies. You would be surprised how healthy and how much you can eat on a limited diet.

Be Strong and you and your baby will do fine! Lori

On Apr 24, 2000

Browell, Both of my children had many gassy/upset stomach episodes that they outgrew by about 6 months. My son was by far worse, he is the one with the PA allergy. I had to cut out certain foods while breastfeeding, but because I felt giving him breastmilk was best, I kept right on nursing. I eliminated all dairy, spicy, chocolate, and anything else that I determined upset him. Once he outgrew it, I continued nursing for 16 wonderful months. My son slept in our bed for these 16 months also, because I felt he needed to be with me and he slept a whole lot better, despite the stomach upsets. Do not feel like you are spoiling your 4 month old, you can't spoil a child that young. He just has different needs than your older child. I would recommend, as the others did, to get him tested for allergies. My 5 month old daughter, whom I am currently breastfeeding, has shown reactions to dairy if I overdose on it, but she doesn't have the skin problems. You may need to really trim certain foods in your diet for a while, but in the long run, it may be worth the trouble. Just a thought.. Good luck.

On Apr 24, 2000

We use Elocon on his bad spots and Wescort on his not-so-bad spots.

I use Aveena and Cetaphil products also.

Kristene

On Apr 24, 2000

My daughter had terrible skin as an infant. One big problem turned out to be Aloe & Lanolin and wool wax. Our Dr. said never to use lotions on her they are mostly water to always use a cream. We used cortizone twice daily and a thick cream twice daily ( i forget the name but it was something with the #15 in the title. We also had to cut out all baby washes, soaps etc... esp. Johnson&Johnson products. Our Dr. also said to bathe her only twice a week. A young baby really doesn't get dirty enough for frequent bathing. Her skin was great. Now ( age 6) she just occasionally has to use tricimiolone and we still use a thick cream.

On Apr 24, 2000

Browell, what a good mom you are! You are not only doing everything you can to help your baby but you are reaching out to learn more ways, as well. I, too, consumed "loads" of peanut products while pregnant & nursing my first child, who is severely p.a./tree-nut allerg (also allerg. to envirn. allerg.). Reminder: everything listed here is just our experience from five years ago and is "not" medical advice... Seek the advice of a dermatologist (not pediatr.) for your child's eczema. An allerg. doc. to pinpoint any suspected allergens that might be triggering it. (i.e.,would you see a foot doctor if you had eye problems?) Keep your ped. informed of results so he/she can know what is going on as the primary medical provider. We have been amazed how differently doctors can treat eczema. We went to ped., then allerg. doc., then two different dermatol. before she found relief. Once allergies were pinpointed, we could manage her skin problem. She came out red and stayed red until 2 1/2 yrs. old. She looked like she had been scalded with hot water. She itched so bad she cried herself to sleep at night and would rub her body against furniture trying to find relief. I actually had one derm. tell me it was my fault! I must not be following her directions because she wasn't getting better! I did exactly what she told me! The treatment that worked was from a dermat. that had eczema as a child and was the exact opposite what the previous doc. recommended. She was 90% better after her first treatment. He said to bathe her in clear water only (no soap or shampoo) for exactly 15 minutes (entire body covered in water). After 15 mins. "exactly" quickly soap her up with Cetaphil soap, even shampoo with it and rinse with clean water. The liquid Cetaphil seemed to work best but it left oily residue on hair so we used Cet. bar soap on hair. While skin was still dripping wet, we applied Cetaphil lotion all over body and let soak in. Then ointments as prescribed. We were told not to use a towel or washcloth if possible on the skin as this can irritate it (pat dry only, no rubbing!). He told us to dress her only in white (100% cotton) clothing, including sheets & pillowcases (Carter's has such clothing). Use Ivory Snow to wash her clothes separate from ours, double rinse. He said ointments work better than creams (We used Westcort & a prescription hydrocor. ointment (can't remember name) to treat flare-ups). He told us not to use generic ointments, they don't work as well. We were to attack flare-ups aggressively as to prevent further inflammation. She was on a liquid steriod at one point (Atarax) but I think that was from the ped. She was 2 1/2 yrs. old, not four months old, however, that's a big difference! Only a dermatologist could confirm if this might work for you and how often to bathe. Ask about hydrocort. creams/ointments as they can permanently thin the skin if not used properly (espec. on the face). We had to use one ointment for the face only & the other on the body. I believe he mentioned sometimes you might have to try different moisturers to find the right one. Ask for samples from the derm. til you find the one that works. We must have been lucky because Cetaphil did the job. Lubriderm & Eucerin never worked well for us. Re. cradle cap, she never had this problem but my last one did and we used "Head & Shoulders" only twice and it cleared up (ask dermatol.) Re. other concerns re. asthma. I believe if eczema is present in child you are most likely going to have either asthma or chronic hayfever (50% for each). She has the hayfever. This spring she has developed a cough that may be low grade asthma. Most people with food allergies have more than one allergy. With peanuts you have a 50% cross reactivity to other legumes. It is hard if not impossible to do skin tests with chronic eczema because the skin is so inflammed and can get false positives. At 18 mos. she had the blood test (RAST) to screen for allerg. as her back was too red for testing (skin testing is considered more accurate). I am guessing that since babies can outgrow most allergies (except peanuts & shellfish) easily the eczema may also get better as allergies diminish. A recent study indicated that if diagnosed mildly to moderately p.a. as a toddler and no exposure occured over at least a five year period there may be a chance that peanut allergy can be outgrown. Contact FAN for more info. At 18 mos. she was allerg. to milk, egg whites, peanuts. She outgrew milk & egg whites but peanuts/tree-nuts worsen and also has environ. allerg. (dust, mold, cats, etc.)Re. breastfeeding, I wouldn't give up without exhausting every resource! It is rare that a baby can not tolerate breast milk. I am biased because I believe in breast feeding 1000%. I would be leary of the ingredients in formula as it is more likely to cause stomach upsets & other problems. I still remember the FAN recall notice on infant formula a year or two ago where an adult supplemental formula was accidently put in infant formula can. Not to mention the benefits baby gets from your immune system. Our problems got worse when I stopped nursing. Have you talked to the lactation nurse at the hospital where your baby was born? Contacted La Leche? They can also be a valuable source of info. & support. Ask the ped. about over the counter or prescription gas drops. Keep us informed! My heart goes out to you because I have been there!

[This message has been edited by FromTheSouth (edited April 25, 2000).]

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