Up to the age of four months old these we our initial observations with little Torin:
EXCESSIVE vomiting, stomach cramps, reflux, diarrhoea, colic.
Scaly dry skin that was itchy, red & angry.
Some open sores, sticky & infected.
Dry, scaly cradle cap from eyebrows all the way to back of the head.
Until I stopped breastfeeding him at the age of four months he wanted a feed every hour and a half, day & night. Each feed lasted 25-45 minutes with bad latches due to my hyperlactation and then he would vomit the majority of it back up again, therefor being hungry again 45 minutes after finishing his last feed.
We took him to our GP who diagnosed him with severe infantile eczema and also suspected several food allergies. We were prescribed antibiotic cream for his open sores and steroid cream for his eczema. A process of elimination would have to be undertaken to figure out the food allergies as for the first year of a babies life allergy tests can prove inconclusive as a baby still carries their mothers immune system up until that point. I was still breastfeeding at the time so a process of elimination for each food he may have been allergic to would have taken weeks for each allergy. We decided due to my exhaustion and the need to address the problem quickly we would wean Torin and try putting him on lactose free formula. We tried SMA lactose free formula but the vomiting still didn’t stop.
Torin had to sleep in our bed with one parent at a time. Tom and I took it in turns, and whoever was with him would have to gently block his hands from rubbing & scratching his body, and also block his legs from rubbing each other. Even with gloves on the friction of the gloves would have opened his sores. His head turned left, right, left, right in an attempt to itch it off anything he came in contact with.
One night I woke up to damp areas on our sheets from his blood. I had only fallen asleep for 10 minutes and he had pulled his gloves off and torn at his skin.
It is an absolutely soul destroying, horrifying feeling to wake up to that and realise it is because you didn’t prevent it. We then discovered Scratchsleeves which helped but the friction burn still meant you had to block his hands. Needless to say it meant no sleep for whomever was with him at night
We also had to be near him to make sure he was ok when he vomited lying down at night. Even on lactose free formula he was still feeding every two hours at night and vomiting excessively.
I went back to the doctor and he decided to try him with Neocate, an amino acid based formula for babies with a cows milk allergy that you can only get in pharmacies with a prescription. He hated the taste so we had to substitute one scoop full at a time, over the space of a week until he eventually had a bottle of Neocate formula instead of SMA lactose free. FINALLY! the vomiting was reduced to that of just a refluxy baby. His eczema’s dryness lessened a little, and there was no more diarrhoea and stomach cramps. What a different baby he was! (Note: after a few weeks the vomiting stopped completely)
His eczema still stayed put though. We took him to a specialist paediatrician, who could only tell us what we knew already, he had severe infantile eczema, and prescribed us antibiotics and steroid cream and told us to keep him moisturised with BP Emollient cream. We used the antibiotics as directed of course, but once the secondary infection in the sticky sores healed up, that was it, the doctors advice ran out. We were simply left to go home and deal with it.
We were told that by the age of two or three he should simply ‘grow out of it’. Well we needed to find a solution. Both Tom and I were completely exhausted. Our son wasn’t a baby that was enjoying life, painfree and happy, and his sister was also suffering from the impact of the all of a sudden sleep deprived, heartbreaking chaos that surrounded our family. ‘Growing out of it’ wasn’t a solution, we felt it was an innocent, but uneducated excuse that didn’t help the people in need. Besides, apparently toddlers that seem to ‘grow out’ of eczema then develop asthma. Not something I wanted Torin to suffer from.
Our Eureka Moment
Our Eureka Moment happened in the spring of 2013, during yet another night of restraining Torin. His itching and weeping sores had cleared up a little with the antibiotics, but then seemed to come back tenfold.
During the night I was online, trying to learn and research more, when I stumbled upon a website called 'Itchy Baby' that is now no longer online. I read every page of it twice and cried numerous times. It was like a wall of uncertainty and hopelessness crumbling away. Thank you Andrea! That website also brought me to www.solveeczema.org where I learnt more. Then I started making lists, we needed to change our way of living, and thinking. After the site I really felt there was hope for our baby. What was the likely cause for most of his eczema? DETERGENTS! Together with eliminating ALL types of detergent from his environment and by helping his body from the inside out with good healthy food and an amazing qualified herbalist we found he could start living a normal life again.