Food Allergy Living Blog Tagged Results


R.J.’s Story – An Update

Posted 3.29.11 | Nutrition Specialist

We've shared R.J.'s story before (and his little brother Ken). As a child he had severe,painful eczema that covered his entire body. His parents tried everything, but he didn't find relief until they switched to Neocate.

We wanted to share this sweet video that his parents sent to us recently. Today R.J. is 5 years old, and doing great! He is still allergic to milk, but Neocate has helped make him a happy and health little boy.

R.J. Happy & Health Video


Which came first: atopic dermatitis or food allergy?

Posted 3.17.11 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

In food allergy circles, we usually think of symptoms and side effects as results of food allergies, not the other way around. In most cases that’s true. Science has shown a strong link between food allergy and atopic dermatitis, a form of eczema. Last month Dr. Jon Hanifin, a respected dermatologist, gave a talk to colleagues discussing the link between atopic dermatitis and food allergies. The research he presented suggests that for some patients it may actually be atopic dermatitis that comes first and acts as a precursor to food allergies.

Atopic dermatitis is often one of the first signs that a parent or caregiver notices in their child which helps lead to the diagnosis of food allergy. As Dr. Hanifin explained, about 6-10% of children are diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, and of those about a third will be diagnosed with a food allergy. Which begs the question: If parents notice signs of atopic dermatitis first, and an allergy diagnosis comes later, couldn’t atopic dermatitis be causing some instances of food allergy?

What We Know:

-In cases of food allergy, offending foods cause reactions in the body which involve the immune system

-Immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE) are immune substances which are normally in our bodies at low levels, but are higher with food allergy

-Allergy symptoms often involve the skin (including our digestive tract, which is like an inside skin), an important barrier that keeps most outside “things” from getting inside

-One factor of atopic dermatitis is “holes” in the barrier our skin provides

What Dr. Hanifin Proposed:

In the past it was assumed that food allergies came first, causing both high IgE levels and atopic dermatitis. Dr. Hanifin suggested that in some patients atopic dermatitis is caused by “gaps” in the skin (likely due to genetics), which means that foreign substances can enter the skin and cause adverse reactions. He thinks it may be proteins that get through these gaps which allows the body to become sensitive to certain foods, leading to a food allergy.

What does all of this mean? The biggest message here is that patients with atopic dermatitis, especially those under five years, should be tested for food allergies. While avoiding food allergens may not help improve atopic dermatitis, it could certainly prevent or improve other serious side effects of allergies. The second message is that more research needs to be done into the causes of atopic dermatitis and its relationship to food allergies. Any research that leads to better health, through reducing instances of atopic dermatitis and/or food allergies, is good research! Tell us about your experience: Was atopic dermatitis the first sign that you saw of your child’s food allergy?

- Rob

Top Ten Blog Posts of 2010

Posted 1.4.11 | Sarah O'Brien

Happy New Year! Before we jump into 2011 on Food Allergy Living, we wanted to recap our top ten blog posts of 2010. We tackled topics from food allergy recipes to tube feeding and everything in between and had some excellent guest bloggers share their stories. Based on reader traffic, here were our most popular posts:

1) Baby Rashes (when is it a milk allergy?)

In this post, Christine talks about how to tell if your child has a typical rash or if it is a sign of an allergic reaction to cow’s milk.

2) Dysphagia, GERD and Silent Aspiration

Mallory tackled the topic of GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, and two other conditions commonly associated with it: dysphagia and silent aspiration.

3) Accidental Injections of Epinephrine from an EpiPen

If you or your child uses an EpiPen, this blog is a must-read in case you ever have an accidental injection.

4) Fun Summer Camps for Kids with Food Allergies

Children with food allergies don’t have to miss out on summer camp fun with these allergy-friendly options.

5) How Can Duocal Help My Child Gain Weight?

If your child is underweight or has been diagnosed with failure to thrive, the supplement Duocal can help provide extra calories in their diet.

6) Baby Formula and Food Thickeners: What are the Options?

Thickeners can help treat reflux, but children with food allergies often react to the rice cereals or oatmeals that are commonly recommended. Christine offers some other options that are allergy-friendly.

7) Guest Blog: Living with Eosinophilic Esophagitis - Norman’s Story

Kendra Tiedemann shared her son Norman’s journey with eosinophilic esophagitis.

8) Understanding How Infant Taste Buds Work

If you’ve ever wondered if your baby can taste her food, then be sure to read this post from Mallory.

9) Failure to Thrive: My Child is Underweight, What Should I Do?

In this post, Nita helped to clear up some common confusions about what a failure to thrive diagnosis means and how it is treated.

10) Guest Blog: Food Protein-Induced Entercolitis Syndrome – Roland’s Story

Lorelei Alvarez, one of the founders of the Reflux Rebels group, shared her son Roland’s journey with FPIES in this guest blog.

Which blog posts were your favorite over the last year? Are there any topics you’d like to see us cover in 2011?

- Sarah

Allergies and Asthma: What’s the Link?

Posted 6.3.10 | Mallory West

You may have noticed that allergies and asthma often go hand in hand. Roughly, 70% of children with asthma have some type of allergy[1]. So do allergies cause asthma? Or does asthma cause allergies? The answer to both questions is no; one does not cause the other but the two conditions do have a strong connection.

Inflammation & Your Immune System

Allergies and asthma are both inflammatory conditions caused by dysfunction of the immune system. Sometimes they are referred to as “atopic diseases”. The immune system is the body’s defense to foreign invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, pathogens, fungi, etc. When the immune system detects these foreign invaders, it releases cells that seek out and destroy them. Inflammation is one of the first responses of the immune system to infection. Usually, the immune system keeps us healthy; however, a malfunctioning immune system can lead to illness. This is what happens with allergies and asthma.

Asthma vs. Allergies

With allergies, the immune system is hyperactive and produces an unnecessary inflammatory response to a traditionally harmless substance (such as a food protein). Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by episodes of inflammation and narrowing of the airway in response to certain "triggers." These triggers vary from patient to patient and may include infectious agents, exercise, stress, pollutants such as cigarette smoke, and common allergens such as cat dander, dust mites, and pollen.

Is there a link?

There are approximately 9 million kids in the US who have asthma[2]. Of this 9 million, about ¾ have asthma that is triggered by allergies. Remember, we talked about different triggers for asthma symptoms (exercise, pollen, allergens, etc.). Patients whose asthma is triggered by allergens are often said to have “allergic asthma”. [3] According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergic asthma is the most common type of asthma, affecting around half of asthma patients.

Does Genetics Play a Role?

Atopy refers to the genetic tendency to develop allergic diseases, such as eczema, allergies and asthma[4]. Someone with “atopy” produces certain antibodies associated with allergic disease. Genetics and environmental factors both contribute to whether a patient does or doesn’t develop atopic diseases. Not all people with atopy (that genetic predisposition) go on to develop allergic diseases because environmental factors play a role too; However, they are significantly more likely to. Likewise, not all people with atopic disease have atopy (but most do).

Genetics obviously plays a big role in the development of allergic diseases. If one parent has an atopic condition, their child has a 1 in 4 chance of having some form of atopic disease (not necessarily the same one as the parent)[5]. If both parents have an atopic condition, the child is more than 50% likely to develop an atopic disease.

Hopefully, this information gives you a better understanding of why asthma and allergies are so often seen together. While neither one causes the other, some people have a genetic predisposition which puts them at a greater risk for developing all forms of allergic disease (such as allergy, eczema and asthma). So if you have one allergic disease, you have a higher risk for developing other types of allergic conditions in comparison to the general population.

Have you found this to be true with your little ones? Be sure to share your experiences with us in the comments!

- Mallory

[1] World Health Organization. Global surveillance, prevention and control of chronic respiratory disease: a comprehensive approach, 2007.
The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth®© 1995- 2010.
American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology.
Atopic Diseases in Childhood. Gold MS and Kemp AS. MJA 2005; 182 (6):298-304. [5] The National Eczema Association.

Guest Blog: ECZEMA – The Itch that Rashes!

Posted 3.2.10 | Guest Blogger

Our post today is a special guest blog entry from Nicole Smith. Her blog is and she is also the author of the books Allie the Allergic Elephant: A Children’s Story of Peanut Allergies, Cody the Allergic Cow: A Children’s Story of Milk Allergies and Chad the Allergic Chipmunk: A Children’s Story of Nut Allergies. Nicole has also served as Treasurer for the non-profit organization, Kids With Food Allergies, Inc. and is currently serving on the Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) Advocacy Steering Committee. We would like to thank her for guest blogging for us.

Living with food allergies and eczema has become quite normal for our family. Our son, Morgan, is now almost 14 years old and has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is anaphylactic to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish and shellfish. He is severely allergic to dogs, cats and other furry animals. His eczema is our ongoing battle. He is allergic to grasses, weeds and trees. He currently is receiving allergy shots in the hopes that his seasonal allergies will be minimized, and maybe he will be able to pet a dog in the near future!

From his first few months, Morgan had severe, weeping eczema across his body. It was everywhere – behind his knees, on his hands and feet, and even behind his earlobes. His skin was constantly infected, and I coated him with lotions and over the counter steroid creams to not much avail.

Morgan’s eczema was helped by using Eucerin® lotion in the paste form, and by sparingly using Elocon® lotion (a steroid) when he was an infant. The Eucerin® is almost the consistency of lard. Wal-Mart sells a generic brand of this that costs about 1/2 the amount of Eucerin®, and we’ve found it to be equally as good. We slathered it on him every night. When he was a baby, we applied it every time we changed his diaper. The Elocon® lotion is a steroid cream, so we tried to use it only when his eczema got very severe.

The eczema moved around his body as he grew older, but it has never entirely disappeared. For a while, he had one finger that regularly sported an eczema spot if he ate any food with food dyes!

The use of heat in the winter time dries out his skin, as does swimming in chlorinated water in the summertime. So, there isn’t a season where he gets a break. If we forget to use the Eucerin® paste, his eczema will crack and fissures will form. He has been put on antibiotics, which ended up curing the fissures. However, we try to not allow the eczema to get this out of control. The Elocon® lotion will sting if put on eczema with fissures. He would cry in pain which hurt me almost as much as him – and made me more aware of staying ahead of his skin problems. Morgan’s eczema gets worse when certain foods are added to his diet. We notice that processed foods with yellow and red dyes made his skin much worse, so we removed these from his diet entirely when he was young. This helped the eczema to disappear, yet it would amazingly reappear for no apparent reason. When he was a baby he was severely allergic to eggs; when this allergy disappeared, we started feeding him foods containing eggs, only to find that his eczema flared up.

We live in Colorado Springs, which has hot, dry air in the summer. However, combining the heat with sun lotions is a recipe for disaster. We use titanium dioxide sun lotions since they seem to be kinder to his skin. Certain fabrics such as nylon bother his skin, creating eczema-like blotches. Long ago, I began using laundry soap that is free of all dyes and perfumes. None of this cures his eczema, but it helps it to not become worse.

Now that he’s a teenager, he’s responsible for taking care of his skin. As with most teenage boys, hygiene is a difficult daily practice! For a while, the prescription medication Singulair® cured his eczema completely. Now it doesn’t work as well. Since he started allergy shots his eczema seems to be worse, yet he is also in the middle of puberty. Our allergist had told us that some patients experience worsening eczema with allergy shots, yet his environmental and pet allergies are much better. It’s a difficult trade off!

When he has a bad eczema breakout, we have begun wet wrapping his skin with CeraVe® moisturizing cream and Betamethasone steroid cream. (He also takes an antihistamine, such as Xyzal or Zyrtec once a day.) We apply the steroid first, then the moisturizing cream and then hot, wet gauze to wrap his skin sealing in the moisture. Adding socks or ace bandages over the top insures the gauze stays in place. Keeping the wet wraps in place overnight helps the worst eczema spots. Twice a day wet wrap treatments can do wonders for his skin!

We feel like detectives on most days, attempting to find the cause of the eczema. It might be food related, contact related (such as grass or clothing articles) or none of the above. We would love to find the magical cure to make his eczema disappear. In the meantime, we’ll keep searching for what works for today to ease the itch!

Nicole can be reached at:
425 W. Rockrimmon Blvd, Suite 202
Colorado Springs, CO 80919

Baby Rashes from A to Z (Acne to Eczema!) and When Is It a Milk Allergy?

Posted 4.18.17 | Nutrition Specialist

What new parent hasn’t asked questions like this: “Where did THAT come from?” Or maybe “Why is she suddenly so ITCHY?” Or even “What ARE all of those little bumps on her head?”

Babies drink what we give them (unless they don’t like it!), wear what we put on them (until they take it off!), and tend to stay where we put them (until they go mobile!). If adults are in control and a baby never leaves our sight, we should have answers to these questions. But almost every new parent comes up against a skin condition that they can’t explain.

As newborn babies grow and develop they can experience lots of different skin conditions. Some are typical, whereas others can be hard to explain. In today’s post, we’re going to walk through some of the most common questions and answers related to baby rashes. Food allergies can play a role in some of these conditions, so we’ll point out where that’s the case. 


Acne is something we associate with teenagers, but it can happen anytime in life. Acne is usually related to hormones, and babies sure do have hormones! Where do babies get hormones, maternal hormones are passed through the womb. Baby acne is harmless and usually goes away within a few weeks.

According to MayoClinic, “Baby acne can occur anywhere on the face, but usually appears on the cheeks, nose and forehead. Baby acne is common — and temporary. There's little you can do to prevent baby acne. Baby acne usually clears up on its own, without scarring.” Read more to learn when to see a doctor about baby acne

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis – which may also be called atopic eczema, involves scaly and itchy rashes that can be over a small or large part of the body. It can be triggered by allergens in the air (pollen, mold, dust mites, or animals), dry skin, or any number of factors. Severity of symptoms varies from one person to another. There’s an association between atopic dermatitis and food allergies, especially in cases of severe atopic dermatitis. At this time, it’s not clear if one causes the other. For infants, atopic dermatitis and cow milk allergy often are linked.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis describes a situation where some substance makes contact with the skin and causes it to become red or inflamed. This could be anything from food to laundry detergent or lotions. Your little one’s healthcare team can help you narrow down the possibilities and make changes to remove whatever’s causing this type of dermatitis. If food is a cause, you’ll need to keep your little one from coming into contact with the food and cosmetics with ingredients from that food. Symptoms and treatments of contact dermatitis.

Diaper Rash

Diaper rash happens when a rash occurs on parts of the skin in contact with diapers. Some causes include having wet diapers on for too long, when the infant has diarrhea, or diapers are too tight. Rash can also be caused by introduction of new products to clean, for example if you are using cloth diapers. Symptoms and treatments of diaper rash.


Eczema is a generic term for any dermatitis or skin swelling or itching. It’s often used to describe atopic dermatitis – see above! Read over a story of Morgan and his food allergy related eczema.


Hives, also called urticarial, are red, itchy bumps on the skin, often caused by an allergic reaction to a food or a drug. Hives can vary in size and can at times connect with one another to create a larger swelling. They often go away within 24 hours, but are still no fun. It’s important to avoid whatever substance or food triggers hives. Symptoms and treatments of hives.


A rash is a generic term that describes some sort of itchiness or irritation of the skin. Your doctor would be the best resource to look and narrow down what a rash represents and what might be causing it. For little onces, their pediatrician may decide to refer you to an allergist and/or a dermatologist.

When is a Rash a Milk Allergy?

Baby Rash

You should always refer to your pediatrician to help you understand what is causing your little one’s rash, but it’s also important to look at the big picture. Sometimes a baby with a cow milk allergy will also display other symptoms in addition to the rash. For instance, you may also see symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, gassiness, wheezing, runny nose, and/or colic.

If you do see a rash accompanied by any of these other symptoms, make sure to keep detailed notes and share all symptoms with your little one's doctor so that the healthcare team has all of the information to get to the bottom of what might be happening.

Also, make sure to work with your pediatrician to come up with a plan for taking care of your baby’s skin – no matter what is triggering the rash, it is important to take possible steps to alleviate the rash and any discomfort. Some possible steps your little one's doctor might suggest include:

  • Bathing your baby in soothing lukewarm water
  • Avoiding scented soaps, bath oils, and perfumed powders
  • Applying an over-the-counter moisturizer to your baby’s skin
  • Keeping your baby’s fingernails filed short and smooth to minimize damage from scratching
  • Using cotton mittens to help prevent scratching
  • Dressing your baby in soft cotton fabrics to prevent possible fabric irritation
  • Keeping your baby cool and avoiding hot, humid environments
  • Trying to keep your baby distracted from the itchiness with fun activities

We’ve told you what we know about various common skin conditions that you might see on your little one. Keep in mind, there are other conditions that can cause skin rashes, including various infections. Even with this info, you probably still have questions and want answers! The next step is to discuss them further with you little one’s healthcare team. Make sure you plan ahead, take notes and ask the right questions when you see your doctor.


Rob McCandlish is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who joined the Nutricia team in 2010. Rob has years of experience at Nutricia following food allergy research, working with Neocate products, talking with Neocate families and learning about the science behind Neocate and food allergies. Rob has two nephews who both used Neocate for their cow milk allergies!

Eczema Is Surprisingly Tricky

Posted 7.3.08 | Sarah O'Brien

The other nutrition specialists and I often hear stories from parents about the (often too long) process of getting their child diagnosed and treated for a milk protein allergy. Some families even write up their experiences for us and allow us to share them with other parents. I just re-read one recently about a little boy named RJ (for the full testimonial, click here). By the time R.J. was four months old, he had a painful, itchy, red rash all over his body. He was miserable and in pain.

R.J.’s parents took him to several doctors who tried all these different treatments, but none of them worked.

After months of misery for RJ (and the rest of the family), they finally found a pediatrician who identified the problem as a food allergy and recommended Neocate, an amino acid based formula for the little guy. Within a week, the rash was cleared up and R.J. was a happy, healthy baby again.

This story is a reminder that eczema can be tough to figure out. Many doctors, like R.J.’s, think that eczema is always caused by a topical allergen. However, what many people don’t realize is that sometimes the cause of eczema is from the inside.

R.J. suffered from a severe case of eczema resulting from a milk protein allergy that caused not only him, but his whole family, to suffer. Something to consider if you notice a rash on your little one.

- Sarah

Allergies, Asthma, Eczema…OH MY!

Posted 6.2.08 | Sarah O'Brien

Last night, I was reading the June issue of Parents magazine and came across a pretty great article called “Forbidden Foods” by Jan Sheehan. Since this topic is my focus at work, I like to believe I know a lot of about it! And I have to say, this was a very informative article for allergy and non-allergy parents alike overall. However, it did leave out a few milk allergy specifics I think people should be aware of.

The article outlined the current “allergy explosion” and what parents need to be on the look-out for when it comes to allergies. One side bar I really liked was the “Is it really an allergy?” section. This is often a mistake parents make when deciding whether to take their children to the pediatrician. Just in case you’re not sure of the symptoms for each, here they are:

Food Intolerance
Upset stomach; Gas and bloating; Abdominal cramps; vomiting; Diarrhea.

Food Allergy
Skin redness and itching (a definite sign that is on the rise!); Rashes or hives; Red, watery eyes, Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing; Vomiting; Diarrhea; Swelling of lips, face, or throat; Wheezing; Severe breathing difficulty; Loss of consciousness.

As you can see, many of the symptoms overlap. To be on the safe side, I would take your child in to see the pediatrician if he/she is experiencing any of the above symptoms.

Now on to a few things it was missing. When speaking of the formula options available for children with food allergies, it only mentions soy formulas and hydrolysate formulas. Since children with milk allergies are often allergic to soy, the AAP does not recommend switching to soy if your baby is showing sings of a milk allergy. Click here to get more information on the possible risks with soy formulas.

Also, switching to a hydrolysate formula often isn’t enough for babies and kids with milk protein allergy – they need an amino acid-based formula like Neocate, which is made up of protein broken down to the absolute simplest form (amino acids), making it gentler on the tummy of a milk allergy baby.

So, some good info here. But just remember to talk about all your formula options with the pediatrician when you have a food allergy baby.


All About Eczema

Posted 1.18.08 | Nutrition Specialist

I get a lot of calls from parents regarding their babies’ skin rashes and unfortunately, by the time a parent calls me, the baby has been suffering for quite a while. Eczema has so many triggers that most people don’t think a food allergy could be the culprit.

Here is a review of the basics of eczema…

What is eczema?

It is most often characterized by dry, red, extremely itchy patches on the skin. Eczema is sometimes referred to as "the itch that rashes," since the itch, when scratched, results in the appearance of the rash.

Who is suffering from eczema?

10-20% of babies

What triggers eczema?

Environmental Triggers

  • Wool and other scratchy fabrics
  • Chronic, extremely dry air
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Chemicals in certain soaps and detergents
Allergen Triggers
These substances provoke an overreaction of the immune system and cause the skin to become inflamed.The baby won’t stop scratching…what’s a parent to do?
1. Take your baby to the doctor to determine what is causing the rash. Make sure the pediatrician considers all potential allergens, including common foods allergens like milk, soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, fish and tree nuts.
2. Remove the trigger from your baby’s life. This may mean changing detergent, purchasing dust-proof mattress covers or sending the family pet outside. It may also mean changing your baby’s diet. If you are breastfeeding, remove all the allergens from your diet. If you are feeding your baby a cow’s milk- or soy-based formula, you’ll want to switch to a hypoallergenic amino acid-based formula like Neocate.
3. Heal your baby’s damaged skin. Work with the pediatrician to develop a daily skin care routine that will help heal your baby’s skin, which has been damaged by the allergic reaction and your baby’s scratching.
Here are some likely recommendations:
  • Bathe your baby in soothing lukewarm water
  • Use a milk soap or non-soap cleanser
  • Avoid bath oils and perfumed powders
  • Apply an over-the-counter lubricant to her skin (Talk to the doctor for specific brand recommendations)
  • Keep her fingernails filed short so the scratching won’t do as much damage
  • Dress her in soft cotton fabrics to prevent possible fabric irritation
  • Keep her cool and avoid hot, humid environments
  • Try to distract her from the itchiness with fun activities
If the skin becomes infected, call the doctor right away. He or she might prescribe an antibiotic for you to either apply to your baby’s damaged skin or give her by mouth.
For even more information on eczema, check out the skin rash section of Act Against Allergy.
  • Food allergens: cow’s milk, soy, wheat, eggs
  • Household dust and mites
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Dog or cat dander

A Mom’s Journey with TED (Total Elimination Diet)

Posted 6.7.11 | Nutrition Specialist

Our post today is a guest blog entry from Rachel Miller, Baby E’s mom. We’d like to thank Rachel for guest blogging for us.

Never could I have imagined that adding another bouncing baby boy to our family last summer would not only add extra snuggles and smiles, but that it would also add a seemingly long and sometimes stressful journey into the world of food allergies. 

Baby E was born last August happy and healthy.  He was welcomed home by mom, dad, and his two big brothers.   Almost right away Baby E started showing signs of possible reflux.  We had been down the reflux road before since big brother 2 had reflux when he was a baby.   So when Baby E started sounding like something out of Star Wars (think Darth Vader), I mentioned to his doctor that I was concerned his nasal congestion was being caused by reflux.  So, Baby E was put on reflux medicine and it seemed to help a little bit. 

Baby E Before

Baby E Before

Then came the eczema.   Baby E was like a snake (but way cuter).  He started shedding away his soft newborn baby skin, and angry red baby acne took its place.  The doctor said it was completely normal and likely caused by hormones.  It was at this point that I started to consider the possibility that Baby E may be reacting to something in my diet.  Refluxand terrible skin?  But, I shrugged it off.

Then came the mucous-filled diapers.  I knew from having been down the breast-feeding diaper route before, mucous is an uninvited guest.  Seeds, yes.  Mucous, no.  He also had terrible tummy aches and painful gas.  He would often cry and had a hard time settling down.   Gas relief drops didn’t seem to help.

Then came the blood and green poops.  There is really no way to shrug off lime green bowel movements with streaks of visible blood throughout.  I immediately took Baby E back to the doctor where they took a stool sample and made sure Baby E didn’t have an infection.   No infection.  And so our journey began.  

 I knew I wanted to continue breastfeeding Baby E, so at the doctor’s recommendation I cut dairy out of my diet immediately.  Baby E seemed to make slow improvement after only a few days.   We then eliminated soy as well.  After almost two weeks of being dairy and soy free, Baby E had “better” diapers but not normal. 

This is where TED entered my life.   Total Elimination Diet

Unfortunately, my doctor was not able to offer much advice or information about TED, so I found most of my information from and  Determined to get kick mucous out of this diaper party and to continue to breast-feed my “intolerant” child, I started eating nothing but chicken, turkey, rice, potatoes, apples, and bananas.  Being on such a restrictive diet allowed me rid Baby E of mucous diapers, reflux, and his eczema.  Then I slowly added foods back into my diet and waited for a reaction. This was how I was able to determine that Baby E cannot tolerate dairy, soy, eggs, and tomatoes.  So now, I am still breastfeeding but avoiding these foods in my diet, and Baby E is doing great!   

Baby E After

Our journey is still continuing.  Since starting solid foods Baby E has had reactions to pears and infant oatmeal cereal.  In spite of this, I feel lucky and blessed that Baby E is doing so well and that I am able to continue breastfeeding him. 

-Rachel Miller

Neocate Faces – Jude

Posted 6.16.12 | Nutrition Specialist

Within the first two months of birth, baby Jude suffered from eczema and severe reflux.  Jude stayed up all night itching and couldn’t sleep or eat.  Formulas like Similac Advance and Nutramigen as well as topical treatments for eczema didn’t do much to improve his symptoms.

“He was miserable and it was hard to see him so uncomfortable eating,” says mom Paige.

Parents Paige and Andrew were told that their baby’s troubles were likely normal baby problems.  But, Jude eventually ended up in the emergency room due to a heavy growth of staff infection from the open eczema wounds he had been scratching on his arms.

More than 10 trips to the pediatrician later, Jude was finally referred to an allergist, who diagnosed him with allergies to milk, eggs, wheat, soy, barley, carrots, and peanut. Finally, a doctor recommended Neocate. After only three weeks, Jude’s parents began to see significant improvement in the symptoms their son had had for six months.

“He has been on Neocate now for about six months and is eating better than ever!” says Paige.

For six months, Jude suffered from extreme eczema and reflux that didn’t allow him to eat or sleep comfortably.  Many doctors’ visits later, Neocate was recommended for Jude.

“I am so grateful for Neocate Infant formula,” says Paige. “This saved my son’s life!”

Posted In

Neocate Faces


eczema  |  reflux  |  food allergies  |  food allergy  |  Neocate

Natural Skin Soothers for Eczema

Posted 8.2.12 | Nutrition Specialist

If you are using Neocate with your little one, you may be familiar with eczema, an uncomfortably itchy rash often associated with food allergies.  Fortunately, if your child’s eczema is related to a food allergy transitioning your little one to Neocate helps address the root cause of the problem by providing a hypoallergenic source of nutrition.

However, for some children it can still take some time after starting Neocate for eczema to completely resolve and in the interim you may have a very unhappy baby on your hands. Also, for some children eczema can flair from environmental triggers. What to do? Mother Nature has a few tricks up her sleeve that can help bring relief to your little one (and you!):

  1. Oatmeal Bath:Oatmeal has skin softening properties to soothe and moisturize irritated skin. To make the bath, fill a sock with oatmeal (use gluten free oats if your child is sensitive to gluten), and place the sock over the faucet so the water run through the oatmeal, creating a milky oat bath to relax in. For an even easier bath, purchase colloidal oatmeal powder to add to bath water. Oatmeal baths are also wonderful for dry winter skin. 
  2. Chamomile Tea Bath: Chamomile flowers have anti inflammatory properties that can help relieve skin irritations. To make the bath, brew a strong cup of chamomile tea and add to bath water. However, if your child has seasonal allergies chamomile may not be suitable because it is a member of the ragweed family and may cause a reaction.
  3. Cucumber Compress: Have your little one be cool as a cucumber with this naturally soothing veggie! If eczema is isolated to a small area, place sliced or shredded cucumber onto the affected area to help cool the skin and relieve itching.
  4. Calendula Cream:Calendula is another flower that has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and has traditionally been used to treat skin irritations. Calendula creams can be found at most natural food stores.

As always, discuss home remedies with your health care provider to ensure that it is appropriate for your unique child.

Do you have your own home remedy for soothing eczema? We would love to hear about it!



Ear Piercing and Nickel Allergy

Posted 9.20.12 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

When it comes to allergies, most everyone knows about seasonal allergies. Our readers, mostly Neocate families, are also very familiar with food allergies.  But maybe you’ve met someone who can’t wear certain types of jewelry because of a metal allergy? It sounds strange, but you may be interested to know that jewelry can pose a problem, and ear piercing may be a culprit! If you’re thinking of piercing your little one’s ears, consider this scientific publication that I came across recently. You really do learn something new every day!

Recent Research

As I was reading a medical journal, I came across an interesting case study. As we’ve discussed before, a case study is a report of one or several patients who have something unusual about their diagnosis or treatment. Medical teams write them when they feel their experience in caring for these patients can help other medical teams who see the same thing.

The article, which you can find a copy of here, presented one boy’s experience after he swallowed a coin. It was written by Dr. Elaine Kaye and several of her colleagues from both Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA and the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Within a day of swallowing a Canadian quarter that was mostly made of nickel*, the child developed a very severe skin rash and fever. The team discovered that he’d swallowed the coin by accident in an x-ray. The mother recalled he’d reacted to metal snaps in clothing as a baby. The boy’s skin gradually improved after the coin was removed.

Nickel Allergy

An allergy to nickel can develop when the skin comes in contact with nickel. This can be skin on the surface (from a watch band), or it can happen when something metal containing nickel is swallowed or inhaled. Not everyone will develop a nickel allergy, but nickel is the most common allergen in patients who undergo skin patch testing, especially children. The effects of a nickel allergy can include eczema and/or redness of the skin. In rare cases of nickel allergy, anaphylaxis can occur after exposure to nickel.

Ear Piercing and Nickel Allergy

One of the most interesting points that the doctors made in their case study was that ear piercing is a very common risk factor for developing a nickel allergy. It seems that if the posts or other parts of the earrings that come into contact with skin contain nickel, they can act as the “first exposure” to nickel that then sets the stage for nickel allergy. If a nickel allergy already exists, the earrings could cause an allergic reaction.

If you’re considering piercing your little one’s ears, it may be a good idea to check with the healthcare team to see what their thoughts are or if they would recommend any testing. And if you do decide to pierce, it may be best to try to find earrings that do not contain nickel. This website has some helpful information on where you can find nickel-free jewelry.

Have you had any experience with a nickel allergy, or do you have problems wearing some jewelry?

- Rob

*Most of the coins in the United States that are silver in color contain some nickel.

Neocate Faces – Shannon

Posted 10.8.12 | Nutrition Specialist

At five weeks old, baby Shannon struggled to keep food down.  She vomited constantly and spit-up during feedings.  At five months old, the vomiting continued and Shannon’s symptoms worsened—rashes and eczema covered her body.

“Our five year old son told me that he didn’t like to sit next to Shannon because she was always getting sick,” says Megan, Shannon’s mother.  “It got to the point where we couldn’t take her to other people’s houses.”

 As it turned out, Shannon was suffering from food allergies, celiac disease and eosinophilic esophagitis.  

In the long months that followed, Shannon tried five different formulas and two different types of medicines for reflux, but nothing helped her eat or lessened her discomfort.

Then, at seven months old, Shannon was perscribed Neocate. Within two days her eyes brightened, her skin cleared and she no longer spit-up.

“We were amazed at the transformation,” says Megan. “Once Neocate was her primary food source, she never spit up again!” 

With Neocate, Shannon will have the opportunity to grow to be a happy, healthy girl, able to play with her brothers.

“I am so relieved,” says Megan.  “I know that all of Shannon’s nutritional needs are being met with Necoate.”

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Neocate Faces

Which Came First: Eczema and Food Allergy?

Posted 11.5.13 | Mallory West

You might have heard that eczema can be a sign of a food allergy or sensitivity in infants. The link between food allergies and eczema has been known for many years. It is typically assumed that the eczema is a symptom of the underlying food allergy. In other words, the eczema is triggered by the food allergy. However, a new study suggests just the opposite.

An article published in the July issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found evidence that it’s actually eczema which triggers the food allergy, rather than the other way around. The authors suggested that the breakdown of the skin barrier and inflammation in the skin that occurs in eczema could play a key role in triggering food sensitivity in babies. These findings might indicate that immune cells in the skin, rather than the gut, play a major role in the development of food allergies. The authors theorize that the breakdown of the skin barrier seen with eczema exposes immune cells in the skin to environmental allergens – For example, food proteins in this case -- which then triggers an allergic reaction to foods.

So what does this mean for individuals with eczema and food allergies? Nothing yet, but these findings may help researchers develop better treatments or prevention tactics for food allergies in the future. If eczema and an exposed skin barrier lead to the development of food allergies, then perhaps repairing the skin barrier can help prevent or resolve food allergies.



King's College London. "Eczema may play a key role in the development of food allergy in infants, study suggests." ScienceDaily, 19 Jul. 2013. Web. 5 Nov. 2013


Do You Know the Signs? Understanding Cow Milk Allergy

Posted 3.23.15 | Nutrition Specialist

With the rise in food allergies among children, it is increasingly important for parents and caregivers to recognize the signs and symptoms of food allergies. Among foods that are common allergens, cow milk allergy (CMA) remains the most prevalent in infants and children. 

In the following video, "8 Signs of a Cow Milk Allergy," our nutrition specialists Rob, RDN and Mallory break down eight of the most common signs of CMA, which were provided by a pediatric allergist.


Click the image below for the video:



For more information on cow milk allergy, check out the following resources:

We’re having a baby - should we get a dog and move to a farm?

Posted 11.10.16 | Nutrition Specialist

Science is crazy. Sometimes we hear in the news about researchers looking at things that seem completely off-the-wall. On the other hand, a lot of scientists and researchers look at things that can have meaningful impacts on our lives. Sometimes, the research can even be practical for everyday folks like us.

Today, I’ll share some interesting research related to pets, the environment and allergic conditions. I find it interesting not just because I love science, but also because it can be helpful. Sure, I geek out over research sometimes, but when it’s practical research, everybody wins. The questions at hand: can owning pets or living on a farm actually provide a BENEFIT when it comes to allergic conditions?

The state of affairs

  1. Lots of people are allergic to pets. I have some friends who have allergies to cats, which range from mild (sneezing) to pretty bad (difficulty breathing). I have other friends who have allergies to dogs. I even know people who seem to be allergic to just about any animal with fur.
  2. Many children who have one allergic condition also have one or several other allergic conditions. For example, it’s not uncommon for an infant with a cow milk allergy to develop allergies to other foods. There are also children who have atopic dermatitis as well as asthma. Any number of combinations is possible, and allergies to animals are in the mix too.
  3. We used to think that avoiding things that we have the potential to become allergic to is the best way to prevent actually BECOMING allergic to that thing. For years parents were cautioned to avoid introducing peanut into their babies’ diets until they were several years old. (That advice has changed – but that’s a subject for another post!)

With all this in mind, it seemed logical that for a child with one allergic condition, it might be best to avoid things that might become a future allergen. Why not? If my child already has food allergies, then maybe they’re likely to also become allergic to animals, so why take the chance with a new pet?

But in science, a theory is just a theory. The scientists and researchers among us don’t assume these are facts. We should be grateful that, just because an idea is logical, our scientific friends are willing to test those theories to see if they hold up! When they test a theory they come up with a hypothesis – something they think will be true related to the theory, but that they want to test.

In fact, one theory that you may have heard of is the ‘Hygiene hypothesis.’ This is the idea that in western societies, like North America, our environments (home, school, work, the kitchen counter) are so clean – or hygienic – that our immune system doesn’t develop normally, and that may be contributing to the increases we’re seeing in allergic conditions. We’re beginning to realize that some exposure may be good, especially at key “windows” of time when exposure to something may help LESSEN the risk of later allergy.

The latest science on pets, farms, and allergies

With all that in mind, scientists have tested several hypotheses related to the environment an infant is raised in, such as growing up in a household with pets, and the effect it has on the likelihood of developing certain allergic conditions. We wrote on this topic last in 2013. As an update, here’s some of the latest research that’s been shared in the past few years:

  1. A recently published study found that infants who live in a house with a dog for their first year of life may be less likely to develop eczema and other allergies, depending on a few factors. Read a summary of the research here.
  2. Researchers in Sweden looked at data from their entire nation. They found that having a dog in the first year of an infant’s life was associated with a lower likelihood of asthma in children beyond 3-6 years old (but not younger). Growing up on a farm with animals was also associated with a lower likelihood of asthma through age 6. Read a summary of this research here.
  3. Maybe farms help? Researchers in Europe looked at a large group of children, comparing them based on how rural their environment was. The children who grew up closer to more forest and agricultural land were less likely to develop environmental allergies. They think the microbes in the environment can be key – read more here.

So what’s the catch?

Well, not everyone is able to pick up and move to a farm! Second, pet ownership is also a big decision. Those are obvious considerations.

Also, research is messy and often leads to more questions than answers. First, not all research that’s been conducted in this topic has come to the same conclusions – some of the results are contradictory. And sometimes you find something you don’t expect. For example, researchers in Finland found that growing up in a household with a dog or cat may be slightly more likely to lead to an allergy to that animal than growing up in a house without one.

With that in mind, the best thing to do may be to talk to your little one’s pediatrician and/or allergist to see what their take is on pets and allergic conditions. They often have a good understanding of the science, including how best to interpret the research, and can offer some guidance or at least help you make an informed decision.

One final note: keep in mind that there really is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog breed! You can certainly ask your allergist for more information, but don’t believe the hype if you see a breeder selling “hypoallergenic” dogs.


How do I come across such interesting topics? In my role as a Medical Advisor and Nutrition Specialist at Nutricia I get to attend major conferences, such as the annual meeting for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). I always discover some really interesting research there!

About Us

Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.