I have wanted to write a post about baby eczema but every time I think I have this cracked, a new flare up happens and I am back to square one! I now realise that I don’t think I will ever have it cracked, but I wanted to share our journey so far in the hope that it will help some other new mums wondering what to do!
Roughly 20% of the population have eczema (atopic dermatitis), with this stat increasing in likelihood if one parent also suffers from it. It usually starts as a baby with 65% of people with eczema developing symptoms while they are a baby and up to 90% developing symptoms before they are 5 years old. So if your child has made it to 5 with no symptoms, they are hopefully the lucky 80% of the population that avoid it. I was in that category. I was very lucky never to have really suffered with dry skin let alone eczema. But we knew that the chances were high of our little one getting it as sensitive skin does run in both sides of the family.
But the reality of managing baby eczema was a lot harder than I first thought. The first thing to bear in mind is that no two babies are the same. So something that works for one baby might not work for the other. The worst thing was that my baby was sore and itchy and at the start we were really struggling to get it under control despite trying a number of different things.
We always use Fairy non-bio washing liquid to wash all our clothes and if our little one gets a present of a new outfit, it is put straight into the wash before he wears it to avoid any chemicals from the manufacturing process getting on his skin.
I have found that water really exasperates our littles one’s eczema. And if you ask any dermatologist, our “clean society” of constantly washing the natural oils off our bodies could be a contributing factor to the increasing rates of eczema in general. So quite early on we decided that daily bathing was not an option and moved to weekly baths. There is really no need to bath them more frequently. In the bath we use Silcocks base as its most gentle on his sensitive skin.
Believe it or not, moisurising once a day is just not enough for a baby with eczema. We have 2 big creaming routines in the morning and night where I use steroid creams (Eumovate on the body, Hydrocortisone on the face) if he has a bad flare up and liberally apply either Silcocks base or Childs Farm cream all over his body and Silcocks base on his face. Child’s Farm is a new cream I picked up recently that is a lot lighter than the Silcock’s base and I find it soaks into his dry skin really well to leave it really nicely hydrated. During every nappy change I moisurise his torso, legs and arms (if he has a t-shirt on that day). Moisuriser will only last 2-3 hours on the skin, so I found that moisurising after each nappy change really made a difference.
Managing flare ups
The key to managing any flare up is trial and error. Its important to find a cream that works for your baby’s skin. I was very against using any steroid cream in the beginning as prolonged use thins the skin. However with each flare up I realized that the amount of scratching at already delicate skin was actually doing more damage. So while I now use these strong creams sparingly, I am not afraid to use them if the flare-up is bad and our little one is scratching a lot.
I have second guessed myself the whole way through our journey so far, but the key thing I try and remember is this flare-up too shall pass, and is usually does!