Baby eczema is becoming more and more common in western societies. If your baby has it, you are not the only parent to be wondering what to do. It can be very upsetting to see your baby so uncomfortable. If you are worried about your baby’s eczema, you should mention it to your doctor or to the staff at any baby care clinic that you attend.
What Is Eczema?
Ezcema is an irritating skin rash that your baby will want to scratch. It can start at any age, but most commonly first appears between the ages of 2 months and 24 months. It usually appears on the head (cheeks, forehead and scalp), although babies may have it on other parts of the body too.
Eczema is believed to be caused by the baby not being able to tolerate some elements in food or the environment. Infant eczema is on the increase and most people believe this is as result of more pollution and chemicals entering our bodies in our modern industrial societies. There also seems to be a hereditary element in the tendency to develop eczema.
It eases as children get older, and a large number outgrow it completely, but that is not much comfort to the parent who has a sore, red, crying baby right now!
What Can I Do For My Baby’s Eczema?
There are many things that you can do to ease your baby’s eczema. Firstly, make sure your baby’s skin does not become too dry. You can find a very mild cream suitable for baby eczema to apply all over, immediately after bathing your baby. In the bath, do not have the water too warm and use a special mild soap. Ordinary soaps and lotions could irritate the skin.
Dress your baby in 100% cotton. Man-made fabrics can cause the skin to sweat, leading to more irritation. Avoid wool and anything that feels scratchy on the skin. Also, make sure that you always wash all the family’s clothes, bed sheets, towels, etc in a very mild detergent suitable for people with sensitive skin. Any time you hold your baby, he or she comes in contact with your clothes and could be affected by the detergent you are using.
Keep the house as clean as possible. Dust mites are very common in most households and hard to avoid if you have many rugs and carpets, but regular vacuum cleaning can help. Babies may also react to pollen, so you could try keeping flowers out of the house for a while. Animals are another common cause of irritation. If you have a pet, try to keep the house as free as possible from their hairs.
Diet is often a factor and many parents switch their babies from cow’s milk products to soy because of eczema. Other foods may be irritating your baby’s system too. Ask your doctor if your baby can be tested for food intolerances. If you are breastfeeding, you will have to eliminate any foods your baby cannot tolerate from your own diet. But make sure that you and your baby are still getting all the nutrients that you need.
The final point is to stop the baby scratching, as that will only make him or her more uncomfortable. Keep your baby’s fingernails short and smooth, and have your baby wear cotton mittens and socks at all times to lessen the damage that scratching will do.
Finally, if it persists, do speak to your doctor about your baby eczema problem.