Rosy Cheeks in Infants and Children

Most people think that a chubby rosy cheeked baby is ideal.  No it is not.  Not good .  Not normal.  We are in California.  It does not get that cold here for children to be ruddy or flushed for going from outside cold temps to a warm indoor environment.  I am trying to guess what other questions mommies out there are asking/wondering about their child that have not been adequately addressed by their pediatrician.  Do you remember those first days when you brought your beautiful baby home?  Baby started life red.  The full term newborn has pretty thin skin.   That redness is blood suffusing the underlying skin.  As the infant gets older, the face still looks plethoric.  As the baby cries or fusses and scrunches up the face, you notice that your baby get red very easily.  Why is that you say?  In going through the birth canal, the whole infant cranium is compressed -the skull plates, brain matter and blood vessels.   Ideally, in the wild and in Our Most Natural State, the infant nurses immediately after birth and expansion occurs.  Blood flow into the head is active and propulsed via contractions of the heart.  Blood flow out is passive via the draining veins.  If there is back pressure from compression there will be congestion.  Superficial veins will bulge blue.  Blood suffusing the skin will not drain well.

In infants that have expanded and or been treated, their cheeks are usually clear.  One day everything looks okay.  In the next, you see a flushing bright red centrally on the cheek.  You think back and ask yourself, what was different in the last couple of days?  Why is my baby’s cheek red all of a sudden?  I see this all the time…and it coincides with the child’s exposure to cow’s milk directly or even indirectly through the breastmilk.  This is inflammation.  (this inflammatory process is also a harbinger of colds and illnesses as the immune system needs to ramp up to fight an infection). This is pre-eczema.  I can spot it a mile awway.  In some cases, it starts off very mild with only a few discrete bumps that you can not see but only feel.  After repeated exposure, they get bigger and bring friends, then erupt.  The skin continues to change, get red, and cracks.  The cracking causes dryness, which leads to itching, which leads to redness.  Pretty soon there are splotchy red patches. In some cases of extreme compression, the infant is colicky within 3 weeks and the rashy cheeks are not far behind; it does get there faster if momma doesn’t breastfeed.  Momma usually is not to blame  even though most of the time the guilt and blame of not being being able to breastfeed is borne by mom as ‘stress.’  I must admit that I suffered that myself (read my prior post There is Something Wrong With My Baby).  You can even see these splotchy faces on my previous blog Plagiocephaly and Other Malformed Infant Heads and the before and after photos (on the Website) where the skin clears up.

So to test this out, you eliminate the exposure, get rid of the milk.  If you are washing the baby with soap (i find Johnson & Johnson to be very offensive) stop it altogether.  Within 3-4 days the skin returns to normal.  Then once it is absolutely clear, reintroduce the dairy and you will see the skin change.  Easy as pie.

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5 Comments on “Rosy Cheeks in Infants and Children”

  1. sherry Says:

    We live in the drakensberg mts in south africa – it is winter, so is cold and windy most of the time. My grandaughter’s cheeks are rosy a lot of the time!!! Is this from the cold and wind? Ahe has a bit of cows milk with her tea every day. Sorry, she is 9mnthsold.
    Thankyou
    Sherry van vuuren

    • letrinh Says:

      i hope the tea is non-caffeinated. the cow’s milk is raw or pasteurized-homogenized? do a complete, absolute dairy elimination from the diet x 1wk, no cheating. then reintroduce after 1-2 wks. if it is raw milk, the inflammatory response would be greater and certainly more dramatic. in the meanwhile, before going outdoors, hydrate the skin with just water, then put on an unscented grease like petroleum jelly or aquaphor to protect from the wind and weather. within 2wks, any underlying inflammation will be resolved and any healthy baby should be able to tolerate cold and wind with redness and chafing.

  2. Sapphire Says:

    My daughter’s cheeks have just gone like described as above. only i know that she has little to no cows milk (dariy) because she is intolerant.

    Nothing has been changed (other then the cold weather) so why is it popping up all the sudden?

    thanks!

    • Sapphire Says:

      sorry 9 months.

      • letrinh Says:

        inflammation can be caused by a couple of things: 1. an infectious agent, viral or bacterial. if your child looks happy, is feeding and playing well when fever is controlled, then likely a viral infection; if crying and whining and not the same baby even when fever is controlled, then likely a bacterial infection. redness/inflammation of the cheeks is an appropriate early response. 2. allergy is the second type of cause of inflammation; this is an inappropriate response, it is a hyperreactive response by a sensitive individual. this is an allergic response to a topical (new soap, new lotion) or a protein ingestion.

        she could be catching a cold or 2. if you know that your daughter is not reacting to dairy, because she does not get any, because she is intolerant…that also say alot…she is an allergic, atopic, sensitive child who inherited the genes from her parents (either one or even both may have any one of the 3 allergic diseases, allergy, eczema, asthma). if she is breastfed and you eliminated dairy from your diet, then it is some other allergenic protein crossing into the breastmilk that is sensitizing her. so if she is on soy, then she is starting to develop a soy sensitivity; the answer to this is switch over to a hypoallergenic formula and see if it clears; at the same time, make sure you stop possible irritants like soap or lotions.


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