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Does My Baby Have Allergies Already?

By Melissa Sell, DC

In my capacity as a chiropractor and mindset/lifestyle coach specializing in German New Medicine, I am a member of a lot of holistic parenting groups and I see a lot of rashy baby photos, with parents inquiring what the source of the rash might be.

Proposed culprits range from dairy to eggs to nuts to berries and even garlic.

As common as this issue is, there seems to be very little commonality or consensus regarding what causes a rash, and it seems like every parent has personal experiences that both contradict and corroborate the most common explanations.

Is every individual body of every individual baby (and therefore every individual sensitivity) really that different? What explains the diversity of causes and cures for this common problem?

If it really is the food, why are babies’ responses to the same and similar nutritional stimuli so varied?

And why do siblings with the same genetic makeup not get identical rashes at identical intervals?

Why does a rash appear in one area and not another? Why do some babies experience rashes at 1 month old while others flare up at 3 months, while still others eat all the same things and never have any trouble at all?

Of course, the Internet offers such a wide range of opinions that finding a consensus on any given subject can be difficult—but among the “experts,” the situation isn’t much clearer.

Whether you are talking to an M.D. or a parent relaying their individual experience, when it comes to rashes the situation is pretty much the same: We try to recognize patterns to identify triggers, we make guesses about the root causes, we try different remedies, etc. But at the end of the day, the situation usually isn’t any more clear than when we began.

If you are looking for a fresh, cohesive hypothesis for the why and when of baby rashes, you are going to love German New Medicine (GNM).

GNM offers a clear explanation for the development of skin irritations in babies, and it has everything to do with each baby’s unique personality and individual perspective regarding him or herself, the world, and other people. It explains how all processes that medicine commonly refers to as diseases begin in the mind.

Psyche, Brain, Organ

When the psyche of an individual interprets a specific kind of biological conflict, a certain area of the brain is activated. This activation results in functional changes in the specific organ that is associated with the conflict, and which is intended to aid in its resolution. In the case of skin rashes, the specific biological conflict has to do with a separation conflict.

Your baby’s epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) is derived from the “newest” (the most recently evolved) embryonic germ layer: the ectoderm. Embryonic germ layers (think germination: “the process of something coming into existence and developing”) are the original tissues all of your organs develop from during gestation. The ectoderm is controlled by and associated with the cerebral cortex, which is the “youngest” part of the brain (evolutionarily speaking), and this is where higher functions like memory, language, and consciousness are initiated.

Each of the three germ layers and the brain regions associated with them evolved in response to environmental demands for improved survival value during certain periods of our ancestral history. The ectoderm and cerebral cortex are the most recently evolved structures, and deal with things like the social aspects of interpersonal relationships and our relationship with the pack or herd.

Specifically, these areas are associated with the conflicts that can arise due to separation, sexual, and territory challenges. Emotionally speaking, these conflicts are activated by and associated with experiences of fear and anger.

When focusing on the skin, we are dealing with separation conflicts. Every baby is different and experiences life in its own way. Differences of interpretation are what accounts for such variability in the presentation of symptoms.

In order to understand how an infant could experience what is here termed a separation conflict under normal circumstances, in which no obvious separation between baby and mother has occurred, it is useful to consider things from the experiential perspective of the infant.

When in the womb, the baby is in constant, immersive contact with its mother. The mother is the baby’s world in a literal, physical sense.

The baby can feel her movements, hear her heartbeat, and feel the vibrations of her voice. The vast majority of the sensory information that comes to the baby comes from its mother, and all of the input that reaches the baby comes through the mother’s body first.

Lacking any other reference points for experience, the baby habituates to and becomes comforted by this constant closeness. Safety and well-being, not at the conceptual but at a deep experiential level, become strongly associated with the sensory experiences that go along with being in the womb. (Interestingly, a baby can experience a separation conflict before birth if there is an ultrasound procedure, because the sound of the procedure can drown out the fetus’s ability to hear its mother’s heartbeat.)

Separation Conflicts

When a baby exits the safe space of the womb, its survival is now completely dependent on its mother, but now she is not always there. And even when she is there, she is not all that is there, and it is not difficult to imagine the sensation of raw exposure might be the experience of an infant recently ejected from the insulating aquarium of its mother’s womb.

Particularly considering the more barbarously mechanical aspects of modern hospital birthing, and the fact that mothers sometimes go back to work after only a few short weeks, many babies spend long periods of time in actual, real-world physical separation from their first experiential reference point for safety and well-being.

We each have within us biological special programs that are designed to help us cope with conflicts such as those presented by this kind of separation.

In addition to the instinct to cry to communicate their need to be held or fed, a baby’s body will also activate unconscious programs of skin desensitization to help cope with the intensity of a physical separation.

In other words, rashes may be an adaptive mechanism to cope with the psychic distress that accompanies the “raw” sensation of physical separation and exposure to the outside world, whether this separation is mere expulsion from the womb or actual complete physical separation from the mother too soon after birth.

Of course, there are many obvious points in a child’s development when they can experience separation conflicts: post-birth procedures, lack of skin-to-skin contact, bottle feeding, switching from breast to bottle, Mom’s first outing away from the child, a decrease in touch time as the baby is able to sit on its own, daycare, babysitting, preschool, and so on.

Difference in Experience

Not every baby will experience these separations in the same way or at the same time, and this variability of personality and the associated diversity in individual experience of apparently similar life circumstances is why there is so little obvious consistency among children in terms of rash etiology.

Another conflict of separation is the desire to be separate from something that is experienced as too close, which accounts for the common occurrence of diaper rash. Wanting to separate from a wet diaper can also trigger the separation biological program. A child can also want to separate from warm or uncomfortable clothing, unwanted or abusive touches, people they dislike (possibly a new sibling), or other people or objects the individual child experiences as unwanted.

Still another way a person or baby can experience a separation conflict is in a symbolic (rather than explicitly physical) way. This can be due to an experience of punishment, of having a possession taken away, of losing a pet, fear of losing a loved one, change in family situation or home life, not being allowed to touch something, fear of potential separation, a charged disagreement, etc.

There are an infinite number of circumstances that an individual child could experience in such a way that might initiate a separation conflict biological program.

If the conflict (the period when the baby is experiencing the actual emotional/biological separation conflict) is short in duration, there will be no outward symptoms as long as the conflict is active.

At a cellular level, the ectodermal skin cells are ulcerating and the area is becoming desensitized or numb, but this will often not be visible to the parent.

If the experience of conflict is longer in duration, this prolongation of the program can result in the skin becoming dry, flaky, pale, and cold. It may even begin to crack and bleed, but it is important to distinguish these symptoms from that actual rash itself, which only occurs once the conflict has been resolved and healing has begun.

Once the conflict is resolved (which could be due to any number or combination of situations that cause the child to feel at ease and secure once again), this healing process begins.

By the time you see a rash on your child they are already healing. If your child is red and rashy, this means that the

conflict has already been resolved, and healing is underway. Ironically, this is typically when parents first become aware of the process. Naturally, their first inclination is to treat the rash and identify some physical cause for it. These interventions are too little, too late, and totally unnecessary.

When you see red, raised, irritated, itchy, hypersensitive skin on your baby, you are witnessing the restoration of the tissue that was eroded during the conflict phase. Comfort measures like a cool compress, herbal bath, or soothing coconut oil may help keep baby comfortable, but there is no need to “treat” the rash itself, as the rash is not an error but a part of the healing process.

Not an Allergy

Many parents will swear that something must be an allergy because the rash is there when the child is exposed to the trigger, and it is not there when they avoid it. These associations between trigger and reaction are real, but they are not primary or causal. Things that we consider allergies are simply associated “tracks” that are linked to the original experience of the separation conflict.

For example, dairy milk is an extremely common allergy because milk is commonly the first food substitution for the physical contact of breastfeeding. Every time milk is given to the child, it triggers a re-experiencing of the separation conflict, which results in a recurrence of symptoms.

Anything that is present during the time of the separation conflict could potentially create such a track. It could be the smell of a certain detergent or perfume, a cat in the house, a specific food, etc. This perspective challenges so much of what we have been conditioned to believe about infant health, rashes, and disease processes in general.

It can be of great benefit to subject these foregone conclusions and “common sense” to the pressure-testing of new ideas, however, and for that reason you are encouraged to “try on” this viewpoint and reconsider your life experiences when you view them through this lens.

Consider past or present situations in which your child developed rash symptoms and try to see the world through their eyes. Ask yourself: What type of separation conflict could they have been experiencing?

You will learn much of value about your child and yourself during this thought experiment. This kind of deep introspection and self-understanding can help to heal past conflicts and prevent future ones.