Your baby is waking up at night crying and you can’t quite figure out why. You’ve ruled out all the usual suspects and still don’t know what to do to help them. You may even have noticed the signs already but simply thought your child has some dry skin problems. You may want to consider that your child has eczema.
Eczema is much more serious than simple dry skin. Eczema can be hereditary. If you or your parents have it chances are your baby may as well. It may start out as a few tiny bumps on your baby’s skin along with some red splotches in sensitive areas. As it gets worse it can erupt into red, scaly patches on the skin. If baby figures out how to scratch the area it can bleed and become even worse.
Besides heredity, there are other culprits that can lead to eczema in babies. Some of the most common triggers can be allergens such as pollens and molds, cigarette smoke, pets or food allergies. Other factors may include dry weather and climate change. Things in your home such as detergents, shampoos and soaps and household cleaners can also trigger an outbreak in a sensitive baby. You may find that wool fabric and some synthetic fabrics can also be hard on the skin.
If your baby’s case of eczema hasn’t gotten very bad you may be able to control it by treating the issue of dry skin. Go out and purchase mild soaps and detergents that are made for people the sensitive skin. When bathing your baby keep the water tempurature warm or even cool. Hotter water will dry skin out even more. Try using baby oil on your baby after bathing to help hydrate skin. Remember to pat the skin dry and refrain from rubbing. Look for a moisturizer made for babies with sensitive skin and apply four to five times a day. Look for clothing with all natural fibers (with the exception of wool) to clothe baby.
If these measures don’t seem to clear up the problem you will want to visit your pediatrician for some advice. They may tell you to try a topical steroid. Never use without consulting a doctor. These should be used sparingly and for short periods of time. Your doctor will be able to help you decide when to apply and for how long.
Your baby’s diet may be part of the problem. The most common culprits include dairy, soy, wheat, fish or peanuts. Try eliminating these from their diet and see if the condition improves. If you are breast-feeding you may have to eliminate these items from your diet. For formula fed babies your doctor can recommend a different type of formula.
If removing these items from you or your baby’s diet doesn’t help you may have to cut out even more foods. These would include items with a lot of preservatives, any nuts or seeds, acidic fruits (like strawberry, tomato and orange), coffee, tea and chocolate.
Once you have eliminated all of these foods from your diet see if the eczema has cleared up. If it has you can then slowly reintroduce these foods one at a time. Keep a close eye on your baby’s skin and you may figure out which food is causing the irritation. You can then eliminate that food entirely.
Replace all clothing with 100% cotton items. This will eliminate any irritation due to unnatural fibers. Keep baby’s fingernails clipped short to minimize any damage they may do by scratching themselves. Mittens pinned on at night may help stop baby from scratching as well. Remember to also replace all sheets and blankets that come in contact with your baby’s skin. Lay down a cotton blanket or sheet on the carpeting before sitting baby on the floor.
You should try to cut down on the amount of detergent you use even if you have purchased a milder detergent. Remember that it’s not only your child’s clothing you have to worry about but your own as well. Baby will come into contact with your clothing every time you hold them. Wash your hands thoroughly and often after using any sort of cleaning chemical. Vacuum more frequently and use a model with a good filter system.
Always seek your doctor’s advice when dealing with medications and your baby’s health. Your doctor may have advice not contained in this article that may clear the problem up quickly. There is no cure for this condition but it can be controlled with a little practice. It hurts to see your little one in pain but your diligence can turn a painful condition into a mild irritation.