I’ve been thinking about writing this blog post for a few months now, debating if it’s a good idea to throw even more advice out there to deal with eczema if your little newborn happens to have it. So this will be a short post, I know personally when Ruby had it and she was absolutely covered head to toe and hospitalised eventually at eight weeks for it there was so much conflicting advice and information out there that I found it more confusing than helpful. Having said this, I have had a few emails and PMs asking for advice so here are my tips.
1. Absolutely no products with fragrance or colours in them – this includes your washing detergent. Non-Bio and minimal product in the bath or when cleaning your baby. I find Elave great, I use the shampoo. Some people will recommend eco non bio but try Fairy first and see how you get on.
2. 100% cotton ONLY – until it starts to clear a bit or your baby gets older, Ruby is 14 months now and tights are the only non 100% cotton thing she wears and they are always 80% at least. Next baby brands are mostly 100% cotton, so go for leggings and tops from there, babygros avoid the fleecey ones, lining on hats or buggy liners/foot muffs, avoid fleece. Ruby’s head was absolutely raw at one stage and I only figured out too late it was a hat I used to always put on her that had fleece lining causing the flare ups. Watch out for sheets, bath support inserts, rockers and chairs made from material, the area where their head comes into contact with the buggy and your own clothes too (see number 5 below). Our bibs are developed with eczema in mind, although they are fleece lined the cotton part extends inside to ensure the fleece does not come into contact with skin.
3. In the bath, no bubble bath (see number 1), put half a cap full of Milton, this will kill any bugs/bacteria on her skin and help to sterilise it. I still add Milton to Ruby’s bath. I use Aveeno Dermexa to wash her and just recently have been able to add Sanex Zero to her bath. This is trial and error though, Aveeno does not work for every child and the cream drove Ruby’s skin mad. At the beginning I used to dissolve some silcocks base in boiling water and add this to the bath to clean her.
4. Moisturise as much as possible, this one is key but please be careful what you use – avoid aqueous cream and silcocks (you can add these to the bath to wash if you like but do not moisturise). I find Epaderm cream (not ointment) brilliant and use it every morning and evening, you can use it even more often though if in the middle of a flare up.
5. When your baby is really small and especially if they have no hair be careful what you wear yourself, if they are up against a non cotton clothing item or make up or someone wearing a lot of perfume you’ll have a very uncomfortable little baby later in the day. I remember after Ruby’s christening she flared all over her little body from being passed around to everyone and anyone.
6. Steroids, this one is a difficult one – some people will swear by a steroid and some people will tell you you are destroying your baby’s skin and ultimately making it worse by using a steroid. From 6 weeks until 5 months I used a steroid almost constantly and an antibiotic cream when it got infected, it used to clear and then a day later flare up again. At five months I was at my wits end when a friend recommended I call Ray Kelly in Kellys Wellness Centre in Dungarvan, I was crying on the phone to Ray. He makes his own cream which does contain some steroid with an anti-scratch cream and his theory is if you stop the scratching it halts the spread of the eczema and ultimately stops it. I used his cream constantly for about 4 days without getting her wet (no bath etc) and her skin was so soft after it. (Disclaimer, I have never even met Ray face to face, I gain nothing by recommending him). I always have a pot of it at home now but very rarely have to use it.
7. Ensure you always have some cotton muslins in your bag so that you can lie your baby down somewhere or cover an area they may be leaning against. I recommend a cotton buggy and car seat liner and cotton suck pads for your car seat as well.
8. Don’t be afraid to give your child some pain relief in the middle of a flare up – obviously following recommended ages and guidelines.
9. Try a probiotic, it was recommended to me so we use Udos Infant Blend and I do think it helps.
10. Scratch sleeves and scratch mitts – your new best friends. The Next babygros are definitely the best option for scratch mitts, they are long enough to cover and especially when your baby gets a bit bigger. M&S are another good option and they even do vests with inbuilt mits up to age 3. I found scratch sleeves brilliant as well just in general.
Some of the other things I tried, Aveeno, La Roche Posay, MooGoo, Emulsiderm, Aalgo, Aloe Vera, Silcocks, Paraffin Gel, Dentinox, Bepanthen, Vitamin e, Coconut Oil, Almond Oil and on and on. A tip, if you are trying things, ask for samples in your local pharmacy because it can get very expensive until you find what works for you.
Thankfully Ruby’s eczema is well under control now but it’s possibly the hardest thing I have experienced so far with her.
If you have any other tips for mums please comment below.