Eczema is not a specific allergy, but in some children, certain allergenic foods can trigger eczema or make it worse.

If you or your doctor suspects that your baby's eczema is affected by certain foods, the mostly likely culprits are cow's milk and eggs, followed by soy, wheat, peanuts, and fish. You may want to try eliminating them from your baby's diet, if she's started on solids, and from your own diet if you're breastfeeding.

Your baby shouldn't drink cow's milk until her first birthday, but if she's prone to eczema you might want to delay giving her milk and other potential allergens for even longer.

Eliminate suspect foods one at a time, giving each test a couple of weeks because it can take that long to get all traces of the food out of your breast milk and your baby's system.

If you're using formula, your doctor may suggest that you try switching to a soy-based variety. This isn't always the solution — some children who are allergic to milk are allergic to soy as well — but it's worth a try.

Researchers continue to study the links between food and eczema. German researchers recently found a correlation between a maternal diet high in margarine, vegetable oils, and citrus fruit during the last four weeks of pregnancy and eczema in children by 2 years of age.

Keep in mind that while food may be a trigger for as many as 30 percent of children with eczema, it's the main trigger in only about 10 percent of eczema cases. You'll still want to be conscientious about skin care and other factors.



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