seeking a baseline

with a partner that has been blessed with a severe case of eczema and a number of food allergies, including gluten, eggs and dairy i knew we were gambling when it comes to my daughter's immune system.  after a few months of age, i noticed a tiny patch of eczema behind her left ear and on her back.  of course, i knew i needed to do something about this, and this something was going to involve my diet, since i exclusively breastfeed. 

maybe i am just stating the obvious, but let me say that eliminating foods from your diet can bring up some serious stuff.  food for many of us goes way beyond physical nourishment.  it is comforting on many levels.  and certain foods like breads and dairy can become quite addictive.  i know you were probably thinking i was going to say sugar, and yes sugar is super addictive, but to me that is a given.  it's one of the most sought out drugs on the planet!  but what i am discovering in my holistic search for health is that we as a society are VERY addicted to dairy and wheat.  dairy and wheat are everywhere.  unless you hang with raw vegan folk, if you go to a potluck, i guarantee you that almost every dish will have either wheat or cheese in it. 

a friend of mine mentioned that she took gluten out of her diet and gave her baby infant probiotics daily and his eczema went away.  so i decided that would be my route of choice.  mind you, it took a couple of months until i was totally willing and able to give up the gluten.  i am not a huge bread eater, but i do enjoy an occasional finely brewed beer.  i should also state that i am super health conscious and extremely dedicated to my child, (and yes, an occasional beer is healthy to me!)  even under those terms it took some deep internal work to be ready to give up gluten again.  gluten is in everything these days.  you really have to read the labels.  and it goes beyond that, as i am learning through a yahoo group that i read on a daily basis called foodlab.  one must consider cross contamination as well!  a gluten intolerance can affect more than the physical body.  it can affect the psyche and emotional behavior of a being.  it can make children hyper and ADD and certainly does not serve a child with autism. 

so i've been gluten free for almost a couple of months now.  and the eczema on my daughter's back and ear did go away.  and then a couple of weeks ago that patch behind her ear came back to life.  i knew in my heart it was time to take the steps that my gut told me way back when the first sight of eczema appeared. . .eliminate all dairy, eggs and be totally committed to a gluten free diet (which means no more oatmeal for mama).

what i've learned in my search to build a strong immune system for my baby is that if one or both parents has a history of food allergies it is best to exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first year of life.  yes.  just breast milk!  baby can survive and thrive on breast milk alone for the first year.  in fact, some sources will tell you that food for babies from 6 months to about a year is mostly for play and experience.  especially if mama is healthy and eats well for two!

when people find out my daughter isn't on solids yet, i get a range of reactions and judgements.  mostly i get, "OH!" or "we can't wait to feed her some yummy food".  my husband is a rabbi and so on saturday afternooons we are surrounded by tons of jewish grandmas who can't wait to feed my little pumpkin.  i had one sweet lady ask if she could give her ice cream.  ice cream. . .really?  she was only 6 months old.  what the hell are people feeding their babies?  so i've learned i have to watch these ladies like a hawk, and smile alot, because they all think my parenting is nuts.

so as of this sunday, i am officially gluten, dairy, and egg free.  i sure do hope we get to a baseline soon, and the eczema fades.  then i will introduce one of the suspected culprits at a time to see if a reaction slows.  yes, this is a process, but to me it's worth it.  we are talking about my daughter's health here.  and if i can assist her in figuring out what she is sensitive to before she is aging and showing signs of a chronic situation, why not!  if the patches don't go away, next we will be looking at soy and fish. . .

once we do reach baseline, and it's time to introduce solids we will do so one by one to observe any reaction.  we have consciously decided to delay all grains until the age of two, which by the way, more and more people are realizing is healthier for a young baby's digestive tract.   

i've decided to share with you some delicious ideas of what i am eating these days:
-creamy buckwheat cereal with coconut milk, pumpkin seeds, maple syrup and ground golden flax
-coconut water kefir
-seaweed miso soup with veggies
-homemade chicken soup
-vegetable ragu with rice pasta
-sardines with lemon and olive oil
-mary's gone crackers and hummus
-grilled fish and veggies with rice


  1. Thanks for sharing this Danielle. As someone with eczema since infancy and asthma since childhood along with food allergies sprinkled throughout, I am familiar with elimination diets and wish you luck in your exploration. It wasn't until I started exploring the Presence in Healing work that I now do as a practicioner, that I was able to truly heal from most of my sensitivities and understand my eczema and asthma and their emotional (which can also be genetic) roots. Before this, I would make a change, usually dietary and see results for a while, and then the issue would resurface sqomeplace else in the body or in a different form. I still have episodes of eczema and asthma flare ups, but much less and I usually see the choice point. Just sharing a bit of my joruney in personal healing.

    1. thanks for sharing your story Jen! i know it's been a couple of years, but i am finally reading your post. yes, this path takes time and patience. healing is a journey, not a destination!