In terms of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the parents may often be the cause of infant eczema. If the father suffers from excess heat in the body, it can pass to the foetus. Also the foetus is inside the mother from conception, and the mother's body constitution affects the foetus during pregnancy. The foetus can be affected if the mother eats too much hot spicy food, takes too much alcohol, chocolate, lamb etc, or if the mother is under a lot of stress. These factors can help to cause baby eczema.
When a baby is born with eczema, he/she is usually treated by conventional medicine, mainly with steroid cream. However, in TCM, this does not treat the root of the problem and can often thin the skin. Cool property herbs are used to treat eczema. They are made into a drink which helps to clean the blood and moisten the skin. There are no side effects but the herbs usually taste bitter, so how can we get the baby to drink it?
If the baby is breast fed, we can treat the mother to in turn treat the baby. The mother drinks the herbal tea and is advised to eat a cooling diet such as celery, cucumber, watermelon etc. Mothers are only too willing to do this for the sake of their baby's health. This kind of treatment is usually quite effective.
If the baby is already feeding independently of the mother, a newly developed Chinese herbal drink called "Fu Fang Ban Lan Gen Lu" can be given in a small bottle, or it can be mixed with the feeds. It tastes sweet and it is usually not too difficult to get the baby to drink it.
If the child is over one year old, there is a Chinese herbal powder, which can be put into a banana or a fruit jelly, which makes it easier to take.
A Case Study
Jack was only two months old when he was brought to see me three weeks ago. At the time, he was suffering from severe eczema all over his body, on his face, legs, arms, back and head. His skin was very red, dry and itchy and he scratched it a lot. Inevitably he did not sleep well and was very irritable. He was also constipated.
The cause of this was the stress his mother had suffered before he was born. Jack's mother was a gentle lady. Two weeks before Jack was born, she found out that her husband was having an affair with another lady. This came as a shock to her and Jack was born three weeks early.
When Jack was born he was already suffering from eczema; one week after he was born, his father left them. Jack's mother was very emotionally upset and started to eat a lot of chocolate. After this she would give a breast feed to Jack. In my opinion, this affected Jack's eczema.
After the consultation with Jack and his mother, I prescribed one week of Chinese herbal tea for Jack's mother to take and advised her to stop eating chocolate and to relax more.
One week later they came back. The mother had taken all of the herbal tea and the baby's eczema had gone completely. His skin had become more supple and soft and he slept all through the night with no scratching. He also took his food much better.
In conclusion, treating small babies like Jack through the mother's system can be very successful. It is better to treat the condition as soon as possible rather than waiting until the child is older.