Well, if you’re reading this, I’d bet you’ve either encountered eczema yourself or in your family, or know someone who has! For some reason this and many other awful skin conditions are on the rise. And Oliver’s showed up right at 6 weeks old, along with baby acne and cradle cap… yay! Aren’t newborns attractive enough?! (;
So, I wanted to share some photos and talk about our journey 6.5 months in because I’m I know so many of you have been praying for us all these months, empathizing with us, sending us the best advice about creams, allergy testing, laundry detergents… you name it! You guys have been a faithful village.
I’m going to try and keep this as short as possible, but I’ve pieced together some good information during our quest for health.
As some of you know, I dealt with major itchy skin after about week 35 of my pregnancy. My midwife said I could go to a doctor and get tested for PUPPPS or Cholestasis but since she did not believe it was a serious condition, I did not want to bother. It was misery, and the worst of the itchiness felt like I had a major yeast infection. The rest of my itchy skin went away a few months after Oliver was born, but the “nether regions” stayed extremely itchy. I was tested by an OB for yeast/bacteria which came up negative. Itchiness always worse at night - drove me so mad, I often itched raw. Sorry for TMI… but still currently dealing with this.
Now. Another clue that things weren’t right with me internally was severe engorgement with my milk supply from about day 4 to maybe week 3. We started seeing an IBCLC (lactation consultant) when Oliver was 2 days old, and she said engorgement is often due to inflammation in the body.
Clue #3… Oliver began to have green poops. They looked like green algae. My LC continued to have suspicions of inflammation in the body, a food allergy/sensitivity or an imbalance in foremilk/hindmilk (which we thought was highly possible due to my severe engorgement).
Since Oliver’s eczema showed up at 6 weeks and only began to get worse, we asked our pediatric chiropractor (very holistic and knowledgeable in many areas besides chiropractic care) to do the IgG allergy panel for me. When you have an allergy/sensitivity you may or may not know about, you often pass that same sensitivity to baby through the breastmilk, and the baby reacts to it. My allergy results were shocking to me - I was really not allergic to anything; everything was low to insignificant. But, one thing off the charts: Candida. Candida is a good bacteria that naturally lives in your body but too much refined sugar and processed foods can cause an overgrowth which lead to a host of super fun symptoms! Candida often goes undetected in the cultures the OB does for yeast/bacteria testing so would make sense that those results were negative. Bingo! We thought this was the cause of my itching for sure, and the cause of Oliver’s eczema.
So, around month 4, we started our Candida Diet. I went gluten-free and cut all refined sugars completely. It was… beyond overwhelming. Learning an entirely new diet in basically a day made me feel like I was instantly drowning! But, you do hard things because you have no choice. And so I did! We both had “candida die-off” (when symptoms get worse and toxins are clearing out) about a week into our cleanse and the doctor reassured us that was great news. But, as the weeks went on, I did not believe either of us were seeing any improvements. However, Oliver’s poops turned from always-green to totally normal mustard-yellow (isn’t being a mom so fun when you analyze your baby’s poops?!). But, I contributed that to the fact that my milk supply had finally regulated and any foremilk / hindmilk imbalance was likely resolved.
After 8 weeks on the Candida Diet, my doctor suggested that even though my sensitivity to dairy was low, we should try cutting it out to see what happens. Two weeks of being gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free, and Oliver still had THREE flare ups and his eczema seemed worse than ever. HOW?!!?! I was about to pull my hair out! I was so disheartened, cried out to God so many times for healing (still do) and just was so burnt out on being insanely strict with my diet and having basically 0 results. So, little by little I started adding gluten and sugar back into my diet. Within two weeks of adding gluten and sugar back in, my itching got even worse, Oliver’s poops went back to being green… and his eczema is worse than ever before! See below for photos of what it currently looks like.
His skin currently feels like sandpaper pretty much everywhere! The ONLY cream I’ve found to help is Manuka Honey, but still it only helps keep the eczema a little less red and a little less rough. My poor baby! Somehow, the fact that he’s literally always been the happiest baby ever is a miracle in itself. THANK YOU GOD.
Okay so now to piece it all together:
Clue #1 My itching
Clue #2 Severe engorgement
Clue #3 Oliver’s Green Poops
Clue #4 Oliver’s Eczema
Clue #5 Reintroduction of gluten and sugar makes itching worse, poops green again, eczema worse than ever.
Soooo… according to my incredibly brilliant wellness doctor… what’s the culprit of (hopefully) all of this?!
DYSGLYCEMIA. A fancy word to describe an imbalance in blood sugar, which results in Candida overgrowth and a billion other symptoms I probably don’t realize are connected. Had I not learned about the candida overgrowth, I’d have never cut out gluten/sugar and then never had to reintroduce them to realize they were in fact, making things worse! So… it isn’t that either of us has an intolerance to gluten or sugar (although they do cause inflammation), but rather that there’s a major imbalance in me and Oliver’s body is unable to handle it. He’s only gotten worse because I only cut gluten/sugar but not also starches and grains (potatoes, beans, even quinoa etc). All these types of carbs turn to sugar in the body. So I was a LITTLE better but still eating tons of brown rice, potatoes of all kinds, gluten-free foods (still carbs) etc.And since our bodies are INCREDIBLY inflamed, it takes basically very little to cause a flare-up for both of us. So, we’re both in one big, ugly, constant flare-up that can’t be blamed on any one specific food. Does that make sense?
So what’s our plan? Something called a Reset Diet, which I think is similar to Whole 30. You can read about it here. My Wellness doctor suggested this diet when I was already burnt out on the Candida Diet so I did not try it. But… once we are home from vacation in a week (and I eat all the things) I’m going to jump in! I believe that this is a HUGE part of the problem and I am praying so hard that once we got my blood sugars balanced and everything is working properly again, that will be it! No more itching for me, no more eczema for Oliver. It seems impossible to think he could actually ever have soft baby skin but we will continue to pursue it! And believe in our body’s ability to heal itself through food (and prayer!!). Let me know if you have any questions and thanks for reading!