I’ve been nursing for four years straight. I’ve traveled some bumpy roads on my breastfeeding journey. Namely: nursing while pregnant, tandem nursing, mastitis, co-sleeping, and extreme elimination dieting due to my baby having infant food intolerances.
But, the worst of the worst was eczema. Breastfeeding-induced eczema is excruciatingly painful.
We’re talking cracking, bleeding, the whole nine yards on an extremely sensitive part of the body. Anyone who has endured pain related to breastfeeding knows that you’ll do anything to fix it. And, I think I tried it all.
- My OB treated me for thrush with every treatment under the sun. Plus, I added some home remedies of my own including apple cider vinegar, probiotics, grapefruit seed extract, etc. to no avail.
- I asked for help from La Leche League, doulas, and a breastfeeding support center.
- My general doc recommended a dermatologist.
- My dermatologist diagnosed me with eczema. Yet, none of his treatments had any lasting benefits.
- I went to alternative health professionals who put me on an extreme diet and tons of vitamins and supplements. This, too, gave me no relief.
So, what cured my eczema???
Here it is:
Eliminating sugar and dairy from my diet.
That’s it! Seriously. I mean, it’s that simple. I am still nursing, and pain-free! But, it’s also not that easy to completely avoid sugar. My lactose-intolerant friends know how to handle avoiding dairy, but sugar…sigh. It’s everywhere! I had to check every label until I got to the point that I wouldn’t eat out or touch anything processed, because it inevitably had dextrose, cane sugar, honey, corn syrup, etc. I learned to cook everything from scratch ensuring that I had zero sugar in my diet (and minimal fructose). I went through sugar withdrawal, but it eventually got easier, and I completely cured my eczema! For good! As long as I avoid sugar and dairy, I can breastfeed in peace. Currently, I can even occasionally splurge on something sweet and then return to my diet with no lasting repercussions. Yay!
As a side note, I completely respect and support women who have had to resort to formula feeding due to eczema. I know that there is a special hypoallergenic baby formula (which is expensive). It just didn’t seem to be an option for my baby as she could not tolerate pretty much any food proteins. We all do what we have to for our babes!
Please note, I am not a doctor, and my treatment should not be used in place of a medical professional’s.