Kai’s Hair Care Routine

Hair…. A very important topic especially for a child with Eczema and Food Allergies.

I am about to get kind of technical so beware. Lol

Kai more specifically as both Atopic Dermatitis and Contact Dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis means exactly what it looks like, Kai will get a mild to severe skin irritation if she comes into contact with anything her body does not agree with. I will just list a few of the things that I noticed that irritates Kai: Eggs, Olive Oil, Bleach, Vegetable Oil, Black Pepper, Vitamin E oil, Coconut Oil, White Grape Juice, etc. There are a couple of more but that’s just a brief list. There was no test done to determine this I simply observe and take note of things that I notice that bother Kai. So me knowing this I have to be very specific with her hair care products. It is very hard to find products that don’t irritate her scalp and face. And usually if I use something her skin does not agree with I will know with in minutes because she will start to rash around her hairline, ears, and neck. So if this happens I first give her Benadryl, then I immediately wash the product out of her hair. I just wanted to share this in case some of you all are going through something similar and weren’t quite sure what was happening. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Now on to the actual post, Hair Care….. (all products are linked)

 Shampoo & Conditioner.

We currently use Johnson’s No More Tangles Shampoo & Conditioner ($3.99). It is a hypo-allergenic product. Kai is African American and has a very thick & porous texture of hair. It is very kinky and curly. Lol This stuff has been the mildest formula that I have found. I have experimented with TONS of hair products and methods. This is what I have found to work best for Kai. Surprisingly it is not as drying as I assumed it would be in comparison to their regular baby bath & shampoo. I occasionally use the Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Cleansing Conditioner ($12). I like this product however it is very scented so I only use it occasionally. This Cleansing Conditioner is not very moisturizing so on wash days that I use this I will use it as a replacement for shampoo then follow up with the Johnson’s No More Tangles Conditioner.hair-c

Oil.

As for oils, we have tried it ALL! Coconut, Castor, Olive, Grapeseed, you name it. Lol

What I have found to work best for my Kai is the Now Brand Avocado Oil ($4.99). I purchase it from Whole Foods. Okay this is important, IF YOUR CHILD HAS A NUT ALLERGY you have to purchase, this avocado oil that is for your hair and skin, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, purchase “Cold Pressed” Avocado Oil from the grocery section of the store. It is processed differently and most cases in the same facilities that also process Nuts. It will break your child out. I made this mistake and had to do my research.

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DO NOT purchase this Avocado Oil if your child has a Nut Allergy

 

Moisturizer.

On to Moisturizing the hair… Kai’s hair texture needs a thick creamy moisturizer in order to smooth her hair into ponytails and twists. I have found that products with a thick whipped consistency work best. We use Carol’s Daughter’s Healthy Hair Butter ($17). hair-butter-jpgThe smell of this product is a bit overwhelming as well, but in a good way. It has essential oils in it like, Lemongrass and Lavender so those smells really stand out. It is one of very few moisturizers that has not irritated her hair and scalp! 🙂 So for that reason alone it is AMAZING! I have to purchase it directly from their website.

I have attempted to make my own whipped hair butter but unfortunately it irritated Kai’s scalp. I’m not sure why but I plan on modifying that recipe then I will share it with you all!

Detangle & Styling.

I use a wide tooth comb for detangling, a spray bottle of water with about 10 drops of Avocado Oil in it that I refill weekly. To style her hair, I use bristle brush for smoothing and a rattail comb for parting. If I am combing Kai’s hair into ponytails I use regular black rubber bands. I used to use the clear rubber bands when she was younger but now that her hair is much more thick they tend to break and do not work as well. When it is time to remove the rubber bands I will either cut them out or break them with my teeth. LOL

Well that pretty much sums things up for Kai’s Hair Care. I know that a couple of these items are pricey but Carol’s Daughter almost always has a promo code out there that can save you a couple of bucks. For the Johnson’s I usually purchase it from Target with my Target Red Card which saves 5%, to mention the Cartwheel App. If you do not have either of those I definitely recommend getting them! If you have any questions or suggestions for us to try feel free to comment below or email me! Until next time….

~Sasha

Battling Eczema: Kai’s Skin Care Routine

Along with Kai’s Food Allergies came a nasty, tricky, unpredictable case of Eczema. In order to win this battle I have to keep a tight routine for Kai that I have worked on simply using trail and error. I’ll break the routine down starting with, Bath Time.

Our Routine:

Now that Kai is attending daycare baths are very necessary. It is easy for small children with eczema to get a skin infection, which requires antibiotics to cure and we do not want that. When Kai first started daycare this was a frequent issue. I bathe Kai in shallow, lukewarm water. For washing, we use Vanicream Cleansing Bar Soap or Cetaphil Cleansing Wash. I usually do not leave Kai in the water any longer than 5- 6 minutes. On days when Kai is having major flare ups I add a little Epsom Salt to her bath and I use Dial Liquid Soap as her cleanser. This combination works really well to sooth her skin and the Dial gets rid of all of the bacteria from the day. After, I take Kai out of the bath I pat her dry with a terry cloth towel leaving her slightly damp. Next, I put on her diaper so that nothing gets in her diaper area since that area is sensitive.hen, I apply prescribed Triamcinolone Ointment on her rough dry patches and rub completely in. Kai’s roughest areas are usually her knees, on her feet, and on her hands and wrists. Next, I apply Cetaphil lotion and rub it in. After, I heavily coat her in Vaseline (unscented) from head to toe. Finally, I put Kai in her 100% footed zip up PJ’s. These PJ’s are long sleeve and footed. The best brand of these I have found so far that fit her size which is 18- 24 months or 2T is Carter’s. I buy these from JcPenny, they almost always have great sales on these or coupons available. I also have these Scratch Me Not sleeves that really come in handy if Kai is having a really itchy day. I ordered them off Amazon because I have a Prime Membership but you can also order directly from the site.

 

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Kai in her Scratch Sleeves and Long Sleeve Footed PJs

 

In the morning, I simply follow all these steps again except for the bath. Kai’s teachers at daycare are so awesome and they will re-apply her Vaseline frequently throughout the day, typically at her diaper change when her clothes are off which really helps me out.

For Kai’s daytime attire I usually dress her in light sleeping onesies, ALWAYS LONG SLEEVE and stretchy cotton, legging type pants. Socks and tennis shoes because they help limit her scratching. Some people look at me crazy and have even asked why I have my daughter dressed in long sleeves & pants when it is hot outside. Some days I even have to leave her in her zip up PJs all day because they provide the best restriction on scratching.

 

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Kai at Daycare in her Scratch Sleeves

 

Back in July, Kai’s skin got pretty bad. So she has to wear long sleeves most days to keep her from breaking her skin which she’s done on several occasions and this leads to staph infection which she has also had.

But just to update, last Saturday Kai wore a short sleeve shirt for a full day which is a first in a very long time. This was a major milestone for us! I will be sure to keep you all up to date on her progress and I hope this routine helps someone! 🙂

 

Breastfeeding Babies with Food Allergies

It was not until I had to feed a toddler solid foods that I realized the many options that were out there for myself when I was breast feeding. I was on an elimination diet while I was breast feeding my daughter and I still could not control her outbreaks or figure out what was triggering them. An Elimination Diet, is when you eliminate a different common allergen food and see if your child’s symptoms disappear. If symptoms disappear after the removal of the suspected allergen then you would leave that food out of your diet because your child’s body cannot tolerate it. Some symptoms to look for to see if your child might be having an allergic reaction to your breast milk are:

  • Mucus / Watery stools
  • Frequent “Blow outs”
  • Hives
  • Red Inflamed Skin Rash/ Eczema
  • Rosy Cheeks
  • Constant scratching/ irritation

My daughter was experiencing all of these symptoms. Kai could not have a blood draw allergy test which is usually the most efficient until she reached 6 months of age. So I had to turn to formula. Initially, I stayed on the Elimination Diet and kept pumping my milk up until Kai was about 5 and a half months. If you’re a breast feeding mama I’m sure you know how demanding and annoying it is to exclusively pump. I understand why most women quit. Giving baby the milk straight from the tap is EFFORTLESS!!! I mean you can lay down, stand up, move around, and still breast feed. Pumping on the other hand is a totally different case; it wore down on me.

I decided I would gain some self control and buckle down on my diet and give breast feeding one more shot with this new restricted diet I had worked on. One day I just couldn’t handle another dry sandwich so I added just a slither of mayo to it. I ate, then I fed Kai and about 30 minutes after Kai’s feeding she broke out all over her face. I felt horrible and declared that was it. I was exhausted, both mentally and physically which was no good for either of us. After that I let my supply dry up (which hurt like crap). At the time I had no idea of all of the alternatives for certain items that were out there. All I could see were my limits, not my solutions. I did not find very many resources on the subject either. Below I have one MASSIVE FOOD list of allergy free friendly foods that I have found using trial and error, research, and just straight up spending hours in whole foods walking the aisles reading labels. I hope that it helps someone. I truly believe that breast is best. Not because breast milk is any better than formula…. But because of all that it entails. It was one of the most proud moments of my life seeing what my body could produce and watching my babies rolls appear, looking at her knowing that the milk from my body was the cause of that. It is truly an amazing experience and if I could go back I would do it over and over again.

One suggestion I would make that I learned from experience is, the best way to combat food allergies is to start out on an Elimination Diet and add in one of the common allergens at a time that way you know exactly which food it is that your child is reacting to versus trying to guess. The hardest part for me was finding snack food that did not contain NUTS and SOY. Especially nuts since they are a favorite of mine for snacking. They seemed to be in almost EVERYTHING.

For you future mothers out there who are contemplating breast feeding…. DO IT! I promise you will not regret it. It is very beneficial for you and your baby. Not to mention I never got sick until after I stopped breast feeding. It’s like you have an untouchable immune system and to think, it’s all for your baby. Isn’t God amazing?

Food List (DAIRY, NUT, SOY, WHEAT, & EGG FREE)

Snacks

  • Dried Fruit (Cranberries, Raspberries, Apricots, Mango, Bananas, Pears, Apples etc.)
  • Apple Chips
  • Terra Sweet Potato Chips
  • Lundberg Rice Cakes
  • Veggie Straws
  • Hummus & Pretzels/ Cucumber Slices/ Carrot Chips (Warning: Store bought Sabra hummus contains Soybean Oil which is soy and might cause a trigger a reaction in your baby if they’re allergic)
  • Guacamole
  • Enjoy Life Brand ( Most if not all of their products are allergy free!!!! :))
  • Rice Works Chips
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Air popped popcorn (l typically use Olive Oil to drizzle over the popcorn and add Sea Salt, Vegetable Oil is made from Soybeans)
  • Kale Chips
  • Lentil Bean Snaps
  • Beef Jerky

Meat

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Seafood (I would proceed with caution)

Fruit

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapes
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches

Vegetables

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Avocado
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • White Potatoes
  • Red Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell Pepper
  • Onion (some infants are sensitive to onion)

Condiments

  • Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Oil & Vinegar
  • 365 Organic Raspberry Vinaigrette
  • Sriracha Sauce
  • Mustard
  • Hot Sauce
  • Vegenaise (Egg Free but Contains Soy)

This is just a short list, so it does not contain every food. It also only contains foods that either Kai or myself consume. So, once again it is a very minimal list. Print it out and take it along with you when you are doing your grocery shopping. I just simply wanted to help you ladies that are struggling with the same issue I did. You do have food options even with an Elimination Diet. Stay Strong & Happy Eating! 🙂

~Sasha

Allergic to Life

I am sure from the title you can tell I am about to talk about allergies, food allergies. My daughter is allergic to life. Not literally, but pretty close to it. My daughter Kai Alaina is 14 months old. She has suffered from severe food allergies since she was about 2 weeks old. It all started with our breast feeding journey. Around 3 weeks old Kai got a really bad rash all over her face and neck that we mistook for “baby acne”. A couple of weeks passed and it never went away. So after consulting our pediatrician we realized that she was having allergic reactions from some of the food that I was eating and she was ingesting through my breast milk.

And so our journey began…. I eliminated Dairy, Eggs, Soy, & Nuts from my diet. This doesn’t sound too bad right? Wrong! I did not know that this also included items that contained Dairy, Egg & Soy which is basically everything. Even if I put a strip of mayonnaise on my sandwich she would break out in this rash like the one pictured above. This trail and error process went on until Kai was almost 4 months old. After cutting almost every recommended food (nuts, soy, dairy) out of my diet I was basically eating meat & potatoes :(Even with all of these efforts it still was not enough. My daughter was still having reactions to my breast milk. I felt defeated and eventually had to transition her to formula. I was heart broken. Formula was not the easy route either. We had to try 4 different formulas before eventually finding the right one. She drank Neocate Hypoallergenic Infant Formula until she was 13 months.

Food

Solids which are an exciting time for most mothers was a very stressful time for me. I’ll just start with everything that Kai is allergic to:Eggs, Dairy (milk containing products), Soy, Nuts, Wheat, Egg, Squash, Raspberries to name a few. Lol

Below are pictures of Kai’s most serious allergic reaction after trying Butternut Squash Baby Food. This resulted in a trip to the emergency room due to tongue & face swelling.

Lets just say feeding Kai has been a challenge. But after much trail and error and a few trips to the emergency room, allergist, and dietitians. I have finally gotten a handle on things. Kai only has a few things that she can eat and I thank God that she does not know all of the food possibilities out there otherwise she would be miserable. Kai has to eat food in it’s most natural state so no processed foods for Kai!

Some of Kai’s favorites are:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Russet Potatoes- She can not eat store bought French fries since most of them are processed which means soy is most likely present, which is an allergen for Kai
  • Baked Chicken- Little bit of Salt & Lemon Juice for seasoning (it has to be moist or she will spit it out on the floor or throw it. LOL)
  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Fruit Smoothies (Spinach, Strawberries, Pineapple, Banana)
  • Veggie Straws
  • Lays Potato Chips
  • Terra Sweet Potato Chips

Some new foods I recently ran across are:

All three of these I found at Whole Foods!

I will keep you all updated on things that Kai likes and how she reacts to them. I did not realize how common food allergies are becoming. Many children now a days are diagnosed with eczema and doctors prescribe steroid ointments into children’s skin care regimen when in fact the root to the issue is much deeper and something as simple as ingesting what their bodies look at to be a foreign substance. So as a mother if you have a feeling about something, follow your gut. No one knows your child better than you. Doctors don’t know everything and that is okay, keep asking questions, keep demanding tests, take notation and photos of your child’s progress and see as many different experts as you need to. Kai is on her 3rd set of doctors in 14 months of living and I will not stop until I find the person that is empathetic & anxious to help us find a solution!

Thank you for reading!

~Sasha