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Why Does Your Baby Have Eczema?

By Dr. Diane Angela Fong, ND

Baby with Eczema

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition affecting an increasing number of infants. Characterized by itchy, inflamed patches of skin, eczema can cause significant discomfort for babies and concern for parents. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that 10-to-20 percent of children in the world have eczema, and it affects up to 20 percent of infants. The prevalence of childhood eczema has almost doubled in the last 27 years, increasing from 8% to 15% since 1997.

Understanding why so many babies develop eczema and why the prevalence of eczema in infants has been increasing over time, involves examining a range of modern factors, including antibiotic use, toxic exposures, dietary choices, and birth practices. This blog explores these factors and their contribution to the rising prevalence of eczema in infants.

The Rising Prevalence of Eczema in Babies

Baby with Eczema Drinking Formula

As mentioned above, the rates of eczema in babies have been increasing dramatically. This rise parallels an increase in several modern factors:

  1. Antibiotic Usage & Disruption of Microbiome: Antibiotics, while crucial for treating bacterial infections, can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in both the gut and skin. Early antibiotic use can significantly alter a baby’s microbiome, increasing the risk of developing eczema due to impaired immune function and increased inflammation. Additionally, a mother's antibiotic use prior to and during pregnancy can affect the baby's microbiome, further increasing the risk of eczema. Learn more about antibiotics and eczema.

  2. Toxic Exposures Transferred from Mom to Baby - Prenatal and Postnatal Exposure: Environmental toxins such as pesticides, heavy metals, and other pollutants can cross the placenta during pregnancy and affect the developing baby. These toxins can disrupt the immune system and skin barrier, predisposing infants to eczema. After birth, continued exposure to environmental toxins through mother's breast milk can burden the baby’s liver and immune system, further increasing the risk of eczema. Learn more about Toxin Transfer From Mom to Baby.

  3. Use of Formula Instead of Breastfeeding & Lack of Protective Nutrients: Breast milk contains essential nutrients and antibodies that help develop a baby’s immune system and protect against allergies and skin conditions. Formula-fed babies may miss out on these protective factors, making them more susceptible to eczema. Moreover, some formulas may contain toxic components and inflammatory ingredients, which can exacerbate the risk of eczema.

  4. C-Sections & Microbial Imbalance: Babies delivered via cesarean section face a distinct challenge in microbial development, missing out on the beneficial bacteria present in the birth canal during vaginal delivery. This absence of early microbial exposure can disrupt the infant's microbiome, potentially increasing the likelihood of eczema and other allergic conditions later in life. Furthermore, mothers undergoing C-sections may receive antibiotics, further compromising the baby's microbiome balance.

  5. Poor Diet of Mom, Nutritional Deficiencies and Inflammatory Foods: A mother's dietary choices during pregnancy and breastfeeding exert a profound influence on her baby's health. Inadequate maternal nutrition may result in deficiencies in crucial vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids essential for optimal skin and immune system development in the baby, thus predisposing them to eczema. Additionally, excessive sugar intake can disrupt the mother's microbiome, impacting her vaginal microbiome and consequently affecting the baby's microbial colonization during birth. Moreover, consumption of foods containing toxins such as pesticides, artificial colors, and preservatives can lead to the transfer of these harmful substances to the baby through the placenta or breast milk, further increasing their susceptibility to eczema and other health issues. Learn more about Toxin Transfer From Mom to Baby.

  6. Toxins in Environment Once Baby is Born : Postnatal exposure to environmental pollutants, such as household chemicals and outdoor air pollution, can weaken the skin barrier and trigger inflammatory responses in infants, leading to eczema. Additionally, these toxins can burden the baby’s liver, making it harder for the body to detoxify and manage inflammatory responses. Learn more about how toxic burden is one of the top root causes of eczema.

  7. Mom’s Exposure to Mold and Other Microbial Imbalances: Exposure to mold and other environmental microbes can affect both the mother and baby’s microbiome. Studies have shown that prenatal mold exposure can increase a baby’s susceptibility to eczema by affecting immune development and increasing inflammatory responses. Learn more about how microbiome imbalances are one of the top root causes of eczema.

Addressing Eczema Holistically

Dr. Fong Treating Eczema Patient

Understanding and addressing these underlying factors is essential for effectively managing and preventing eczema. Here are some steps to consider:

  • Limit Antibiotic Use: Use antibiotics judiciously and explore alternative treatments when appropriate to avoid disrupting the microbiome. Working with our Cleanbody team allows you to learn tools to improve immune health, which can help to limit your need for antibiotics. Learn more about antibiotics and eczema.

  • Reduce Toxic Exposure & Create a Clean Environment: Minimize exposure to environmental toxins by choosing organic products, avoiding pollutants, and maintaining a clean living environment. Limit the baby’s exposure to environmental toxins and ensure a healthy living environment free of mold and pollutants. Join our membership to get access to our CleanENVIRO resources or book a consultation to get direct support from our team.

  • Promote Breastfeeding or Use Clean Formula: Encourage breastfeeding to provide babies with essential nutrients and antibodies that support immune development and protect against eczema. If formula is necessary, use cleaner, organic formulas such as those available from Organic Formula Shop (Use code CLEANBODY for $5 OFF) and Baby's Only.

  • Consider Birth Practices: When possible, opt for vaginal delivery to ensure early exposure to beneficial bacteria. If your baby was born via C-Section, fear not! You can work with our team to promote a healthy microbiome for your baby post delivery.

  • Improve Maternal Nutrition: Ensure mothers consume a nutrient-rich diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding to support the baby’s skin and immune health. This also includes avoiding toxic and inflammatory, allergenic foods, such as gluten, dairy, GMO and non-organic foods, and sugar.

The increasing prevalence of eczema in babies can be attributed to a combination of factors, including antibiotic use, toxic exposures, dietary choices, and birth practices. By understanding and addressing these root causes, we can move towards more effective and lasting solutions for managing and preventing eczema. Ensuring a healthy microbiome, reducing toxic exposure, promoting breastfeeding or using clean formula, considering birth practices, and improving maternal nutrition are crucial steps in protecting our babies from this common skin condition.

If your baby is struggling with eczema, don't hesitate to book a discovery consultation and explore holistic treatment options for long-term relief and improved quality of life. Learn more about working with us!

About the Author:

Dr. Fong - Eczema Doctor

Dr. Diane Angela Fong, ND, is the CEO and founder of Cleanbody, a wellness company dedicated to treating and preventing chronic disease. She is the creator of the Cleanbody Method, which follows a three-step process: Evaluate (digging into the root causes of chronic disease using lab testing and other evaluation tools), Optimize (enhancing health foundations by addressing nutrition, lifestyle, and toxic exposures), and Support (optimizing organ functions through healing protocols).


Medical Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Affiliate & Product Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links and mentions of Cleanbody products. As an affiliate, we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through these links. However, please note that the inclusion of affiliate links does not influence our editorial content or product recommendations. Our primary goal is to provide valuable information and resources to our readers to support their health and wellness journey. We only recommend products and services that we genuinely believe in and that align with our commitment to promoting holistic health. Thank you for your support!


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