Last week at Macks’ four-month well check-up, our pediatrician told me to stop comparing each of my children. We were discussing Macks’ weight gain and I told her that he was so much heavier than the girls were at his age. She wanted me to stop looking at him in comparison to each of his sisters and look at him as an individual. And she’s right. Each of my children are incredibly different and with each one it brings on a new parenting experience.
Macks was officially diagnosed with eczema at his three-month doctor’s appointment. I started to notice red dry patches all over his arm, and he had what I thought was never-ending baby acne. I wasn’t familiar with eczema or any skin sensitivity issue at all, so it was the beginning of a new learning experience for both me and my husband.
I did a little bit of research before speaking with my pediatrician so that I was prepared for an action plan once we left the doctor’s office. Although Macks doesn’t seem extremely uncomfortable from the eczema, I wanted to treat it in the best way possible.
1. Find the triggers
After much research, I found that a lot eczema in babies is due to an allergy of some kind. Since Macks is too young for an allergy test, I wanted to try to find the trigger myself. A lot of friends of mine who have experienced this first told me to eliminate things from my diet one at a time since Macks is exclusively breastfed.
The first thing I eliminated was dairy. It takes two weeks for dairy to get out of your system, and it was much harder than I thought because dairy is in a lot of things. After about a week and a half I started to notice Macks’ skin clearing up. Once it cleared, I allowed dairy back into my system to see if it made a difference in his skin. Sure enough, it started to flair up again.
Although I’m not 100% sure that he’s allergic, not having dairy in my diet is helping. Once he is old enough to get tested for allergies, I am going to have him tested.
2. Eliminate fragrances
There is so much that can make a flair-up even worse and for Macks, anything with fragrances in it does that. I’ve switched everything I use for him over to fragrance-free. His lotion, bath soap, and laundry detergent are all for sensitive skin. I’ve started washing all of our clothes in the fragrance-free laundry detergent because Macks is held and touched by all of us.
3. Hydrate the skin
I try to keep Macks’ skin as hydrated as possible because his patches are extremely dry. I put lotion all over his body three times a day and use a cream with an even higher moisture content on his really rough, dry patches. I’ve tried several products on his skin to see which works best, and so far MD Moms Baby Silk products are helping his skin the most. I also have a humidifier in his room to help keep the air from drying out.
4. Don’t bathe as much
I’ve heard conflicting advice on this. Some have told us not to bathe as often, and some have told us to bathe everyday. For us, I’ve found that bathing Macks 1-2 times a week is the best for his skin. Baths can dry out the skin more, so I don’t bathe him as often. When I do, I make sure to make the temperature of the water luke warm because the hotter it is, the more dry it can make his skin. I also use the Aveeno Eczema Therapy Bath Treatment, limit the time he spends in the bath, and make sure to lather him in lotion before drying him off completely to help trap some of the moisture from the bath water into his skin.
5. Keep them from scratching
This is easier said than done. Macks doesn’t scratch a lot, but he does like to do it when he gets really tired. He does it a lot on his face where the eczema is the worst. To help prevent this, I make sure that his fingernails are kept short. I try to cut them every other day. I also put him in a onesie that has the hand covers built in them so he doesn’t scratch himself at night. If he does it a lot during the day, I’ll put socks over his hands to prevent him from scratching. He doesn’t like it at all, but I don’t want him to make his skin even worse than it already is.
[Disclosure: These are things that are working for me and my child after discussing it with our pediatrician. I am not a medical expert. Please consult your pediatrician for any medical related advice concerning your baby.]