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exclusively bf ds (1 year) has eczema; dp says next dc must be ff

(22 Posts)
sambo303 Sat 19-Sep-09 10:20:28

DS developed eczema following a virus 5 weeks ago - just before his 1st birthday. I am so disappointed as i thought bfing would prevent him getting this awful affliction. We are now in a world of bath oils, emollients throughout the day and doses of piriton every night and he's still waking all through the night scratching and cryingsad. I have gone back to work full time this week which is adding to the stress.

dp says we should ff if we have another dc as bf is not as great as is made out and at least if we ff we will get some sleep with the next one (ds has been an awful sleeper, because (I think) I have continued night feeding as the quickest and easiest way to get him back to sleep). A friend whos baby is 1 month says she sleeps between 11pm and 8am now as she is ff at night - dp thinks this is the way to go.

I feel a bit bewildered and upset by his comment as I'm sure my milk is better than some altered cows milk...but maybe he has a point....?

tiktok Sat 19-Sep-09 10:29:50

sambo - breastfeeding does not prevent eczema. The research on breastfeeding an atopic conditions is very uncertain, and IMO eczema reduction/prevention should not be on lists of supposed benefits.

Breastfeeding is far, far more than this, anyway, as I'm sure you know. Formula feeding has measurable risks to health. As for the sleeping, breastfeeding supports the normal, physiological way for infants to sleep - which is indeed to wake and feed briefly in the night. Sleeping between 11pm and 8pm at a month old is highly unusual in both bf and ff babies, and may well not last.

There are ways to have easier nights for you, now your baby is a bit older, and you could explore these, to address the concerns of your partner.

But ff is not a guarenteed way to get more sleep at all - in fact the research we do have shows that parents get more sleep if they fully bf, as opposed to giving a bottle at night:

Breast-feeding Increases Sleep Duration of New Parents.

Feature Article
Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing. 21(3):200-206, July/September 2007.
Doan, Therese RN, IBCLC; Gardiner, Annelise; Gay, Caryl L.; Lee, Kathryn A. PhD, RN, FAAN

Objectives: This study describes sleep patterns for mothers and fathers after the birth of their first child and compares exclusive breast-feeding families with parents who used supplementation during the evening or night at 3 months postpartum.

Methods: As part of a randomized clinical trial, the study utilized infant feeding and sleep data at 3 months postpartum from 133 new mothers and fathers. Infant feeding type (breast milk or formula) was determined from parent diaries. Sleep was measured objectively using wrist actigraphy and subjectively using diaries. Lee's General Sleep Disturbance Scale was used to estimate perceived sleep disturbance.

Results: Parents of infants who were breastfed in the evening and/or at night slept an average of 40-45 minutes more than parents of infants given formula. Parents of infants given formula at night also self-reported more sleep disturbance than parents of infants who were exclusively breast-fed at night.

Conclusions: Parents who supplement their infant feeding with formula under the impression that they will get more sleep should be encouraged to continue breast-feeding because sleep loss of more than 30 minutes each night can begin to affect daytime functioning, particularly in those parents who return to work.

Hope this helps

you Sat 19-Sep-09 10:41:18

Just to add to what TT said- my 6 mo ff DD wakes twice in the night for feeding still, whereas her two same age bfed friends have been sleeping through from about 3 months! I honestly just think it depends on the baby.

Of course your milk is better than formula, for many many reasons. Is it possible he's just upset now and fed up with the night wakings? I'd hope that this is a knee jerk reaction and that come the next DC your son will be sleeping through and he'll have forgotton how awful sleepless nights are grin

louii Sat 19-Sep-09 10:43:05

Probably the eczema would have been a lot worse had you been formula feeding.

LovelyTinOfSpam Sat 19-Sep-09 10:44:52

Both my DDs BF and have ezcema - not nearly as bad as your DS I am sorry to hear he is in such a bad way.

Re the sleep thing I firmly believe that it depends on the baby rather than the method of feeding. Unbelievably my DD2 was sleeping from 7 pm til 4 am at 1 month old - now at 11 weeks she is waking at midnight as well, which is fine and still pretty impressive IMO. DD1 slept 7-7 every night from 6 months.

I am aware I'm very lucky and not trying to be smug, just show that different babies have different sleep patterns no matter how they're fed.

FWIW formula feeding at night would surely be more of a faff than just stickign them on the boob? I have always thought so anyway.

TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Sat 19-Sep-09 10:46:45

Nothing really to add to tiktok's brilliant post, just to say that my ds who is 2 and a half and still bf, had awful eczema. sad I found that calendula cream, cutting out dairy from his diet (we've found that it's raw cow's milk that's his trigger, he's fine with cheese, yoghurt, etc) and using a homeopathic remedy of sulphur worked really well. I have no idea if the homeopathy actually had any effect (I am extremely sceptical of homeopathy) but ds' eczema is gone now.

Also, ds was an awful sleeper (still doesn't sleep through now) but dd, also bf, slept through from 12 weeks, apart from teething issues etc!

ShowOfHands Sat 19-Sep-09 10:48:51

Can you explain to him what the decision to ff means? Does he understand that it is not just an alternative, it is an inferior substitute that carries its own risks for the health of your child and for you too?

As others have pointed out sleep has nothing to do with method of feeding and in fact bfeeding mothers sleep more.

And 'must be ff' is very dictatorial. He cannot possibly make this decision for you and certainly not based on an erroneous belief that ffed children sleep through earlier.

JodieO Sat 19-Sep-09 10:55:43

I've found aveeno to be the only thing that worked for ds2. He was ex bf (he's now 2 and a half) and he had eczema quite badly. He scratched until he bled all the time and was just raw. Since using aveeno that has all changed and he rarely gets bothered by it at all. I didn't change his diet but he does have some slight food allergies.

Ds1 was bf, doesn't have eczema, dd was ff and has asthma.

It's up to you whether you bf any future children, NOT your partner.

sandcastles Sat 19-Sep-09 11:09:31

On the sleeping exclusively bf dd2 slept thru the night (well, 11 - 6) at 9 weeks.

My friends ff 14 weeker, wakes up at least once, sometimes twice a night.

Dd1 was still waking at a year old & she was ff.

It really depends on the baby, I think...not their food source!

sambo303 Sun 20-Sep-09 14:48:27

thanks for your responses, especially the facts and figures tiktok, they really help.
you yes he is fed up with the night wakings, we have had very few reasonable nights sleep and dp is a very light sleeper and cannot cope with it all sad

Mummy369 Sun 20-Sep-09 19:17:18

Hi, I agree with a lot of things which have already been said. I think the main thing to point out to your partner is that it's not the breastfeeding which is disturbing your baby and yourselves - it's clearly the itching which causes pain and discomfort for your little one.

If you formula feed subsequent babies, and they develop exczema, the artificial milk is very likely to trigger severe episodes - and therefore cause further sleepless nights for all of you. You are doing the best you possibly can for your DS, and yes, breastfeeding DOES help reduce the instance and severity of exczema and related disorders.

Brestfeeding to help settle your baby at night is definitely the way to continue - you have already identified it as the quickest and easiest way to get your DS back to sleep. If this works, why change it?

franklymydear Sun 20-Sep-09 19:18:33

tell dp to find any evidence that ff is better than bf and you'll consider his twattish comment

LovelyTinOfSpam Sun 20-Sep-09 19:34:18

Can your DP kip out of earshot occasionally? No sense in you both being woken up. While obviously DPs should share the hard work that comes with kids sometimes you have to look at things objectively. For eg with my DD1 she would scream her head off from 5pm til 2 am every single night for the first 6 weeks. We took it in turns to look after her, when it was my night off DH would bring her to me when it was feeding she needed and then take her off again so I could snooze.

You should get a break too as well, obviously.

ib Sun 20-Sep-09 19:45:43

Do you have hard water?

Have you seen this study?

It seems very promising.

jennifersofia Sun 20-Sep-09 19:49:48

I don't think ff necessarily means sleeping through the night - and bf doesn't. I had 2 fully bf babies, who have slept through from 3 months.
I hope your ds eczema gets better.

LovelyTinOfSpam Sun 20-Sep-09 19:58:06

ib I think that is probably true.

Our home has very hard water and my parents have a holiday flat which we visit a lot with very soft water. In fact we are there now and your link has made me make a connection that yes, DD1s skin is better when we are here.

Makes your hair look nice too!

AcademicMum Sun 20-Sep-09 20:01:05

You might want to get your ds tested for allergies as eczema is quite often allergy related and the creams only sort out the symptoms but don't address the underlying problem.

My ds1 was ff and had absolutely clear skin until we introduced solids when he got awful eczema. He was later confirmed as having allergies to eggs, nuts, pulses, kiwi. Once we knew this and removed anything containing these things from his diet he now has no eczema unless he is ill (which is rare).

DS2 was exclusively bf and had eczema from birth. He was later confirmed as having dairy allergy (after going into anaphylactic shock). He now has no dairy in his diet and his eczema is absolutely clear.

In both cases the creams only ever offered (very) temporary relief. Also, if you get given steroid cream don't use this constantly as it can lead to thinning of the skin. Use as high a dose as you need for the skin to be cleared within 1-2 weeks and then stop using for at least 2 weeks.

LovelyTinOfSpam Sun 20-Sep-09 20:01:28

Oh the bit at the end about the theory being that soft water means you use less soap - doesn't hold for us as I have used plain water on DD from birth due to the ezcema and just use a tiny amount to wash her hair about once a fortnight week or so. I would imagine the parents in the study would all have had the same advice from when their children were tiny.

So I think it is something else that does it, but it really does seem to help.

izzybiz Sun 20-Sep-09 20:09:42

I have FF all three of my babies, my youngest has eczema and didn't sleep through till 10 months old, and that was after some CC!
My first child slept through from 5 weeks, and my 2nd was about 6 months! All depends on the child, FF in my experiance does not make babies sleep through! smile

Ealingkate Sun 20-Sep-09 20:22:55

How often do you bath your LO?? The chlorine in plain water can make eczema alot worse. You can buy a crystal to put in the bath which will neutralise it.
Look at this website.
Has anyone suggested altering your diet i.e. cutting out dairy? There is some more info on this thread

Starshinetiger Sun 20-Sep-09 20:41:10

Just a quick post - Would echo the tips on her about checking if any food intolerances are contributing and also look into homeopathy. DS had really bad eczema, which still flares up if he eats eggs (he's dairy and egg intolerant, but it's the eggs which are worst for the eczema, the dairy upsets his stomach). Homeopathy really helped his eczema clear up and now we control it with diet. HTH. Also totally agree with all the sentiment about bfing (despite my exclusively bf DD being an apalling sleeper sad)

LovelyTinOfSpam Sun 20-Sep-09 20:45:44

Also, never listen to advice from people who can't spell ezcema eczema blush grin

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