Written by contributor Tiffany Larson.

One weekend last summer, my son’s creamy colored cheeks turned pink.  Not a rosy, sun-kissed pink but a crusty, burning, hot pink.  And it happened in less than 48 hours.

We were camping and while others thought he had gotten a bad sunburn, I knew in my mama’s heart that it was eczema. I was a little downtrodden since I had worked so hard to use non-toxic cleaning and laundry supplies, allergen free bedding and the myriad of other ways we’re told to help prevent eczema.

Hoping not to use a steroid cream, I asked other moms for natural prevention and treatment recommendations.  I combed the Web, eagerly hoping I’d find something I hadn’t already tried.  But no over-the-counter lotion or change to our home took the eczema away.

Feeling a little defeated, I visited my pediatrician who suggested using a steroid cream to get it under control and mentioned some other methods to keep it at bay.   I left the office still feeling like there was a reason that his eczema flared so quickly at only 9 months old.

I took him to our family naturopath hoping she would help me get to the bottom of the eczema.  After a lengthy discussion about breastfeeding, his diet, and our home environment, she suggested the cause may be his diet.  I had recently stopped breastfeeding and had added new food to our son’s diet.  Her belief is that infants’ digestive systems are immature, made for breast milk and basic foods and that they should not be introduced to grains and some dairy products until they turn 1.

After further discussion and armed with a page of notes to take home, I marched out of the office with more confidence than I’d had in weeks.  I was to remove everything from his diet except for fruits, vegetables and meat.  I needed to add probiotics to the vitamin D and DHA he was already taking daily.

With a few changes in the kitchen, we started his new diet right away. I doubled the amount of fruits and vegetables I was making him and I loaded up on organic chicken breasts, ground turkey and beef, and some nitrate-free ham.  He gobbled up everything we gave him and didn’t look back at the grain or dairy products he had been given before.

Within a week, the eczema was gone.

I have a lot of confidence in my naturopath but I have to admit that I was surprised.  I didn’t expect such a major change, in such a short period of time.  We even found that the changes to his diet also cured his uncontrollable diaper rash.

Months later at a wellness check with our pediatrician, I mentioned how his new diet had effected his eczema.  His reply?  “In all my years of practice, I’ve never seen a change in diet cure ezcema.”  I had to stifle a rebuttal that my naturopath had found in her practice that eczema is “almost always” related to food.

Five months after the eczema began, we slowly started to add dairy and grain products back in his diet.  His skin stayed healthy and a month later, we were able to feed him anything without the eczema returning.  After further discussions with our naturopath, we know that the eczema may return.  And if it does, we will immediately revert back to a simple diet of fruits, vegetables and meat.

We continue to find that food not only nourishes our body but causes change in our body – for better and for worse.  The next time you experience a new rash, ache or pain, you might consider a change to your diet first.  It might be just what your body needs.

What is your experience with infant eczema?  What methods have worked for your family to keep eczema at bay?  Have you found changes to diet to cure other aches or pains?