Eczema can be a nightmare for both you and your baby. Your poor little one is scratching away with angry red skin, and you are pulling your hair out trying to isolate the cause whilst nothing seems to be working.
It may seem impossible to get to the root of whatever is causing your baby’s eczema, but I’m going to share a few tips which I stumbled across after six months of intense trial and error with my son, Dara, whose eczema was beyond a joke.
Here's what I learnt:
1) Not all moisturizers are equal
2) Only choose specialized sunscreen
3) An oatmeal bath can soothe angry skin
4) You need to ditch certain fabrics
5) Your dog might be the culprit (so consider other factors that just mom’s diet)
But how did my baby get eczema?
That’s a tough question. Even the National Eczema Association say that they “don’t know the exact cause.” What is known is that babies develop eczema due to a combination of their genes (which you can’t do anything about) and triggers in the environment (which you can).
So, let’s dive straight in and take a look at five great tips for tackling the external triggers:
Moisterizers: Go For Grease
"But I’ve tried several different ones and they're not making any difference!"
Yup, I tried at least four or five. I almost gave up. But eventually I cracked it.
Here's the thing:
It's about the type of moisterizer AND the way that you apply it.
Firstly, go for something that is more oily than water based. Think of thick greases (sometimes called “ointments”). These trap moisture and help the skin to hydrate. Watch out for creams and lotions. They contain water and evaporate quickly, leaving the skin unprotected. For this reason they are often not the best of eczema. Also, some contain preservatives which may irritate or sting your baby’s skin.
Go for grease!
Yes, it’s a bit gross and sticks to clothes, but it’s worth it to relieve your cherubs discomfort.
Make sure to apply the ointment liberally twice a day.
Be Picky About Sunscreen
Whilst being strict about moisterizers, sometimes it’s easy to let sunscreens pass under the radar. Don’t let them. Scrutinise your baby’s sunscreen. It’s important to go for a baby sunscreen approved by the National Eczema Association. Be strict on this.
Turning your baby’s bath into a giant lukewarm bowl of oatmeal may not sound appealing but it can do wonders. First, grind up some organic oatmeal into a powder and then add it to the bath. The oatmeal has a natural comforting effect on itchy skin and the bath helps to replace the moisture in the skin. (Remember to moisturize properly afterwards, otherwise that precious water can be lost again.)
Hot and sweaty skin directly triggers eczema. So you’ll want to avoid synthetic fabrics which don’t allow the skin to ‘breath’. Wool can also be itchy, so try removing that too.
Your best bet is to go for 100% cotton.
This goes for diapers, too. If you are feeling brave, then you can try cloth diapers which are usually cotton and/or bamboo.
Explore More Than Momma’s Meals
Mom’s diet can play a huge part. If you are breastfeeding and your little one has an allergy to something you are eating, then this can trigger their eczema. You probably know this and, like me, you may have tried cutting things out, such as dairy, tomatoes, bananas… (the list goes on and on).
But what if changing mom’s diet doesn’t help?
Here are three other non-food triggers worth investigating:
See if you can reduce exposure to these things for a couple of weeks. It’s not easy, but a quick Google will bring up suggestions for how to do this.
- Pet dander
No Golden Bullet
Sadly, with eczema, there’s often not one thing that will fix it. But stay calm and stick with it. It’s a case of experimenting and implementing several different approaches.
Keep at it and you’ll find that you settle into a rhythm of controlling external triggers whilst maintaining good moisturizing practises, combined these will often bring your baby’s skin under control.