Breast Milk and Eczema: What You Need to Know

By Dr. Amy Duong (see bio below)

In the past couple months, I’ve had many breastfeeding moms reach out to me for guidance when it comes to breast milk and eczema. Some moms have eczema themselves and others have babies that have eczema. Every case is different since the paths and factors that lead to acute and chronic eczema can be varied, including hereditary predisposition, drug therapy (steroids, antibiotics), a weakened immune system after childbirth, and of course the infamous food allergies!

Breast Milk and Eczema – Is there a Connection?

I wanted to take this time to speak to the connection between mom and child and how to address breastfeeding and eczema. There a couple of underlying factors in pediatrics that can cause baby eczema. First off, the organs in a baby are not fully formed and are more delicate in their first months and years of life. The physiological and physical constituents of children are still weak and immature; thus, they are more prone to express their toxicity more quickly, such as through the skin as eczema.

In addition, during the first years of life, a child receives energy and sustenance from its parents, especially the mother who can supply breast milk for their growth and development. When treating young children and babies, it’s important to always consider the mother and child as a unit, dependent on the other. Treat the mother, and thereby treat the child. Often times, there is a history of eczema, psoriasis, asthma or other inflammatory condition in either parent that passes to the child. In addition to hereditary predisposition, the health of the mom, which can be determined from her diet, lifestyle, and emotional stress, can transfer to the baby. Here is where the interesting connection between breast milk and baby eczema lies.

Through a full evaluation of the breastfeeding mother’s own health such as their past medical history, food allergies, digestive and immune health, and diet, we can improve her health and through her breast milk, affect her baby’s health. Breastfeeding has proven in medical studies to reduce the occurrence of asthma and atopic dermatitis in children later; however, it’s important that the breast milk is agreeable, and the baby doesn’t have a breast milk allergy, in order for the baby’s own immune and digestive system to assimilate nutrients well and provide optimal growth, development and eczema-free living.

Dr. Duong’s Recommendations:

  1. Treating the mom’s health (proper diet, sleep, and stamina).
  2. Ensuring allergen-free breast milk helps the baby thrive without the typical symptoms of eczema – rash, itchiness, irritability, and difficulty sleeping.
  3. Eliminate food allergies for mom and baby, most notable are dairy, gluten and eggs.
  4. Address yeast overgrowth properly, strengthen the liver’s detoxification pathways.
  5. Soothe the skin topically with a natural eczema treatment for babies.

Read More: 7 Tips for a Successful Breastfeeding Elimination Diet

Dr. Amy Duong completed her Naturopathic Doctorate at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona, where she also trained in Acupuncture.  She offers general naturopathic care with a amy-duong-becomes-a-naturopath-after-her-struggles-with-eczemaspecial focus on skin disorders including eczema, acne and psoriasis as well as anxiety, depression and digestive concerns.  Currently, Dr. Duong is based in Connecticut where she sees many lovely patients of all ages with common skin conditions and other medical concerns in her naturopathic medical practice.  She also shares her expertise with people across the country and overseas through phone and Skype consultations.  Visit for more information on her approach to skin care and to set-up an appointment.

Check out Amy on Instagram too!


  1. ola_Oriana on August 23, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you for the post and the wonderful blog you have. I have been following Itchylittleworld for a month already. It is so helpful for our life.

    My son started having weeping eczema since he was 3-month old. We’ve tried literally everything (from eastern to western, herbal, steroid, homeopathy) and it is still severe. Wet wrap did help a lot like a miracle, but his eczema would come back from time to time. His milestone has been delayed heavily due to skin problem that he can’t even lift his head when he is on tummy. Because whenever we put him on tummy, he would start rubbing his face.

    My son is on 80% breast milk and 20% Similac alimentum. I stopped eating milk, egg, nuts, beef, lamb, seafood and all sorts of high allergic food. And we are still desperately looking for its trigger. We think it’s coming from inside and it’s not caused by environment. We noticed he is absolutely allergic to something to my breast milk because his face dried up over the weekend and yesterday, his face turned swollen and itchy after I breast fed him. It is mysterious that I had almost the same diet last Sunday (the only difference was spam), and he was fine. But yesterday, he had serious allergic reaction and his face started to ooze later on.

    Eastern doctor said it is related to the stress level of breast feeding mother so I agree with what Dr. Amy Duong is saying here. Since allergic test is not accurate for infant, we are having an extremely difficult time to find what’s in my breast milk is triggering his flare up. I feel like it’s a long journey and a hard battle to fight.

    • Jennifer Roberge on August 24, 2016 at 9:48 am

      Hi Olga – I’m so sorry to hear this. I know how frustrating it is, but you’ll get there, you really will. Have you tried healing your gut and adding probiotics to your diet as well as fish oil? I’d look into adding probiotics to your baby’s formula as well. Speak with your natural physician about it on what he would recommend.

      • ola_Oriana on August 24, 2016 at 2:30 pm

        Thanks for the advice, Jennifer! I bought Probonix Liquid Children’s Probiotic Drops from Amazon and have been adding 2 drops to his diet daily for the past 2 months. It didn’t make much difference but I will keep doing it 🙂 I am thinking to switch his diet to 100% formula and solid once he reaches 6 months old, the same time I saved a lot of frozen milk in the freezer, I might just give it to him when he is better. But I heard baby doesn’t absorb much nutrition from breast milk once they start having solid.


    • Carrie on May 13, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      I just read your comment and it hits home for sure. Our son, now 8 had the exact same problem. He was allergic to my milk, over the course of a weekend, as a last ditch effort we quit breastfeeding and started him on Neocate. Within 24hrs, he was a much happier baby and his skin started to heal, we are still on Neocate to this day( it’s been a lifesaver for us) but it did allow us to take one issue out of the equation and focus on his other needs.

  2. Rosacea treatment by Revitol on September 3, 2016 at 3:11 am

    Try to avoid such conditions which will make baby sweat. Don’t pile on blankets. Also avoid dressing in wool or any other harsh materials.

  3. Sarah on March 24, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    How does mother treat yeast and detox liver while breastfeeding? All treatments/detoxing i have come across recommend against using while nursing

    • Jennifer Roberge on March 31, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      Hi Sarah – It’s best to meet with a Holistic Nutritionist before going on any elimination diet while nursing.

  4. Tiffany on July 27, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Hi my name is tiffany I am 14 years old. I have had eczema for 6 years now and it is the worse I was wondering if anyone literally anyone could help me find a cure or something. I live in North Carolina do you know of any good doctors around here.

    • Jennifer Roberge on July 31, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Hi Tiffany – I’m so sorry to hear about your eczema. I recommend you take a look at our Start Here section as it provides a lot of information and things to try. If you have any specific questions, please let me know!

  5. Ka Dore on August 10, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    My baby has eczema,I am breastfeeding .i usually have summer eczema and since I have been nursing him,this is the first year I haven’t broke out at all…could my baby be having my reaction from my breast milk and that’s why I’m not having the reaction it found a way out of my body.?

    • Jennifer Roberge on August 10, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      Hi Ka – It’s very unlikely that would happen. What’s more likely is that your body is happy with the post pregnancy hormones and it’s helping to prevent your eczema from flaring.

  6. Stacy J on May 10, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    My 6.5 month old son had cradle cap which finally went away with Mustela’s cradle cap shampoo, and then, as soon as we had about a month of a clear scalp, he began to develop eczema behind his knees. For about two months the eczema was only behind the knees, and then it moved to his neck and turned into weeping eczema when he was 5 months old. It got so bad his poor skin was raw and our doctor prescribed Mupiricin (sp?). We finally saw a pediatric dermatologist who put us on Fluticasone, but we can only use this for short periods of time. His skin was clearing up on the Fluticasone and I had dropped dairy and caffeine, but, today after two weeks with no caffeine and his skin clearing up, I had a latte and today his neck immediately flared up and began oozing again within a few hours. I am still breastfeeding aside from one bottle of Hipp formula at bedtime. Has anyone had any experience with caffeine in your breastmilk causing an eczema flare in your baby, or am I just imagining this connection? The flare started a few hours after I consumed caffeine.

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