I’m so excited about the mystery knit along!  I’ve got my yarn all wound and ready to go.  A friend mentioned that she can’t figure out how to wear a shawl and have it look right.  My wardrobe doesn’t really go with shawls wrapped around the shoulders, so I wear them like scarves, just thrown around my neck willy nilly.  I don’t care to knit scarves, but love to wear them.  On the other hand I love knitting shawls, so treating them like scarves when it comes to actually wearing them works for me.

But here’s something really sad:  Job has developed eczema on his face.  It’s most likely not caused by wool, but I have eliminated it from his wardrobe anyway until I figure out what is causing it (assuming I can figure it out.)  It’s been really cold here, so I hate not being able to dress him in wool.  I also have to take off my own wool sweaters and shawls before holding him.  I’ve been using this beautiful silk and organic flannel blanket to wrap him in.  Stephinie sent it as a gift last fall, and I am so grateful to have it now!  Job rubs his face back and forth on my shoulder a lot when I am holding him which aggravates the eczema, and the silk gives him something soft and non irritating to rub against.  I ordered him a long sleeved silk bodysuit to layer with, since wool is out, along with a cotton cardigan and sweatersuit.  There are so many things that could be causing the eczema that it has been easy to become totally overwhelmed with it.  My oldest son Seth has eczema as well, and his is triggered by dry winter air more so than anything else.  I’ve been washing laundry with castile soap rather than our usual “free” detergent until the laundry powder I ordered arrives, and I bathe Job with mild calendula soap.  I’m using a new salve from Lusa Organics on his face, while I wait for a Mountain Rose Herbs order to arrive so I can make my own.  (updated to add, the salve I made on my own was a fail.  The Lusa Organics “da balm” salve has done wonders.  So I am sticking with that!)

But the biggest challenge is that last week in the early days of eliminating caffeine, I realized that I also needed to eliminate some other foods from my diet because a food allergy could be causing Job’s eczema.  Rather than go on a total elimination diet, I chose to focus first on being super strict with my already gluten free diet, and also eliminate eggs, dairy and chocolate.  Feeding my family is such a big job that trying to eliminate more than that at once would be too much.  I have a very fast metabolism and have to eat a lot, especially when I am nursing.  I’ve spent the past few days planning meals for myself and the rest of the family, trying to figure out how to make it all work without spending every second in the kitchen.

The good news is that I think Job’s face already looks better.  It definitely hasn’t gotten worse.  So I feel hopeful.


  1. Oh Ginny I hope Job’s eczema clears up quickly never to return. Have you considered bathing him with no soap at all? I have a three year old and one year old and I just use water and a flannel. The three year old does like to use his body as a canvas (like B) so sometimes we need to give him a good scrub with the cloth but it works well enough for me. I have terribly dry skin and hope I haven’t passed it on to my kids so I’m too scared to try even a gentle natural soap on them. Much love and good luck.

  2. Hi Ginny,

    I know a lot of really great advice has been passed on already, so I don’t want to add to it. As the mother of a child with severe food allergies and ezcema (who is only two years old), I have tried just about everything as I’m sure you have. I just want to let you know that I am praying for you and your family. I know what a stress this can put on everyone. I hope that knowing there are people out there thinking of you and praying for you gives you a little peace as you walk through this!


  3. Goodness, you have so many recommendations already, I hesitate to add anything, but I’m going to anyway 🙂 I’ve never figured out what causes my eczema (it’s only on my right hand) although certain dish soap makes it bad REALLY fast, and I have an allergic reaction to touching raw carrots and most nightshades that aggravates it too. But my sister’s three boys all have HORRIBLE eczema. She tried everything, topical and dietary, and eventually paid out of pocket for an extensive allergy test. She’s so glad she did because she found out her nursing baby was severely allergic to nuts, anaphalactically allergic. She had gone off dairy and was using almond milk, which he was getting through her milk. She’s so glad she found out while he was still nursing, because it was enough to have him break out badly, but not enough to cause anaphalatic shock.

    Between her three boys, the allergy list includes: almonds, peanuts, walnuts, eggs, soy, dairy, corn, gluten, tomatoes, citrus, and…I’ve forgotten the rest. And her husband can’t have cruciferous vegetables. She’s pretty much starving all the time 🙁 I hope you figure out what is causing Job’s soon! Eczema on a baby is so sad!

  4. Oh my:( I’m so glad that blanket might be bringing him a bit of comfort. I know just the hard road of balancing food & family & a nursing mamas metabolism! I had to eliminate all dairy, eggs & soy when my youngest was a baby and I was one skinny mama! Looking back I remember coming home from a girl scout event and Joe had made this quinoa potato bacon hash. He said he was trying to figure out a way to get the max amount of protein and calories into me. It was so sweet. Thinking of you & little Job. xo~

  5. I am guessing someone mentioned this but just in case, are you familiar with MSPI (Milk Soy Protein intolerance)? It causes eczema, fussy, gassy babies. (sometimes their poo is green – sorry disgusting. ) With my first baby I eliminated Milk which improved the situation but it was not until soy was taken out that she really got better. I am sorry you have to go through this. Allergies are such a pain but thank the good Lord, at least they are manageable. E-mail me if you ever have questions – I had one baby allergic to eggs as well and we can’t do gluten either. Ugh.
    Oh, when baking ground chia seed is a great substitute for eggs and has protein as well to help out nutritionally.

  6. Hi Ginny, I have read your blog for years and thank you for sharing your beautiful family life. I have never commented on a post before on any blog that I read, but the eczema situation with your baby just tugged at my heart. My 18 year old daughter has struggled with eczema since she’s been a toddler. She is completely gluten free and as organic as possible in her food choices at college. Of course, she must stick with fragrance free items. The one truly helpful thing that totally eliminated her eczema from her arms and legs has been goat milk soap. Plain and simple goat milk soap. She will still flare up due to seasonal allergies or stress , but the goat milk soap has kept it under control for the most part. Prayers for quick healing!

  7. Hi Ginny – I almost replied to this post yesterday, but I chickened out. I know you get tons of replies and everyone has their own story…but…almost all of our children had eczema and I never did figure out what caused it. I also have a high metabolism that runs in the family and USED TO eat a lot to keep the shakes away. Last year I read the book ‘Wheat Belly’…maybe you have heard of it. It was amazing! It completely changed the way I eat and, a year later, I’m still sticking with it and have noticed a huge difference. I can eat a good breakfast at 6:30 and not eat again until noon!!! I know you know that that is quite a change. Getting rid of grains has had MANY other benefits that I won’t go on and on about, but I just wish I had known all of this when my children were suffering from eczema. There is another book I have read on the same subject that reinforced what I learned from the first book and its title is ‘Grain Brain’. Whatever happens, I wish many blessings for you and your family and pray for quick healing for little Job. God Bless!

  8. totally agree with the aquaphor recommendation. my little bee had it for months and i tried everything under the sun – elimination diets, the charlie’s detergent, soothing baths, but nothing totally cured it til i just started putting lotion on her face regularly. i felt so silly for not trying it sooner.

  9. Iain got eczema when we came to Oregon for Christmas. It’s responded well to a combination if breast milk applied after nursing and neosporin s when we’re going out in the cold. I hope you find the solution soon! is your woke family gf or just you?I find UT hard to eat gf right now even though i know it’s better fit migraines and my sinuses

  10. I make an easy salve that heals my son’s very bad winter eczema. I buy organic grape seed oil and I melt beeswax with the oil and stir them together. In order to achieve salve like consistency I have to do 4 to 6 parts oil to beeswax, I usually just experiment until I get it right. But it has nothing extra in it, not even any “healing” herb like calendula, its just absolutely plain oil and wax and it works miracles for my kids’ skin.

  11. Stephanie says:

    I’m sorry to hear this. I had psoriasis until I was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease, but fortunately going gluten free cleared it up. Hopefully it’s just a combination of the dryness and rubbing. I have found creamy vaseline to be very good for the dry patches I get between my nose and cheeks during winter. It’s much easier to rub in and not as greasy as the regular version. I have also found the Aveeno creamy baby wash to help with 18m DD’s dry patches. (sjn821 on Rav)

  12. My brother’s and I all have eczema, from my dad, and none of it is food related. It’s just something that is passed down. If any of you have teeny white spots on your skin that come and go, that is actually a very mild form of eczema. That is how I had it until I was about 25 when it finally flared up from a cold, dry winter.
    Oh, and careful about feety pajamas on him, one of my brothers got it bad on his feet, they can sweat in those feety pajamas, and it made the eczema flare up horribly for him. My mom had to end up cutting all the feet off his pajamas and he just had to have blankets or socks (that were changed and powdered often) to keep his feet warm.
    For my brothers and dad who all had it bad as a kid, it has gotten a lot better for them now that they’re older. I’ve noticed mine only flares up in the winter or if I’m very stressed. I know you don’t usually use over-the-counter medication, but hydrocortizone works wonders for it. I hope little Job’s clears up soon! Good idea on the silk! 🙂

  13. Hi Ginny, I wouldn’t worry too much about foods in your diet. A healthy diet it what you and baby need. Most babies don’t develop allergies until later when they aren’t getting mamas antibodies, so I bet it wouldn’t be a food allergy. On the other hand, a lot of baby’s get a rash from breast milk actually chapping their face, especially in cold weather. I know you didn’t ask for my advice, but I would wipe his face with warm water after breast feeding followed by vaseline, aquaphor, or some heavy ointment like that afterwards. I bet it will clear up:)

  14. oh! poor baby and you! i hope it doesn’t bother him too much. you are such a good mama, all your loving attention surely makes him feel better.

    nicole is so cute, she will look darling no matter how she wears a shawl (you too).

  15. Poor wee one! It is such a task trying to balance all the dietary needs and preferences in a large family, isn’t it? Really, truly a LOT of work! Glad Job’s skin seems to be responding to all your efforts!

  16. Oh Ginny, you addressing my shawl predicament made me giggle 🙂 Thank you, and thank you for the picture. I do indeed like the shawl as a scarf idea and shall try it tomorrow. Perhaps I can pull that off!

    You already have some really great advice for the eczema but I’ll just throw in my experience – K had it as a baby pretty bad. We stopped using soap on her and it helped. Little did I know she had a soy allergy (all of my kiddos do) so I bet cutting out soy would have helped immensely, too. Also have you tried coconut oil on it? I get eczema in the winter but coconut oil seems to help. I use that as my daily moisturizer for my face, too.

    Okay, enough rambling! Downton Abbey time 😉 I hope your appt. went well. Lots of love to you and your family!!

  17. I forget which it is. I think it’s hazel wood. But either amber or hazel wood jewelry is supposed to help eczema. Look at a site called hazelaid. They are a good legitimate website and they sell both and I believe they have the proper information on their site. It may not eliminate it but it could at least reduce the outbreak. I bought them for my now ten month old son to help with teething. Hope this helps in some way!

  18. I find the dry weather is extremely hard on my hands, and have gone through so many creams and lotions. The only relief I get comes from The Body Shop Hemp hand protector… not sure if that will help your family, but keep it in mind.
    And, I have to credit you, Ginny, for inspiring me to purchase the Follow Your Arrow mystery pattern. I had been considering it, but so far had avoided actually clicking on the buy now button…. So now, like you, I am in! I have the perfect green yarn tucked back in the closet that has been waiting for something special. 🙂

  19. Oh, that’s so hard. Hang in there. I want to let you know that I basically never used any soap on my littles (even now when the littlest is 4, soap is a rarity for his bathing, used only when there’s a reason). Or shampoo. I had a dermatologist years ago tell me to stop using soap on my arms and legs (unless I was actually dirty from mowing or hiking or something) because it’s so drying and most of our bodies just don’t need it. And as you said, in the cold dry winter, it’s so much worse.

    For me (to finally get rid of my own eczema) I had to cut out corn, wheat, and any artificial color. Corn’s every bit as hard as wheat to avoid.

    I know how hard it is–I have a high metabolism too (esp. when nursing) and our house has all kinds of pain in the behind food sensitivities.

    I hope little Job feels better soon.

I love to hear from you!