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.