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Monday, January 21, 2013

Eczema

When Lillie-Mae was four months old, she developed a skin rash that I later learned was eczema. For any mom that has been through this with their babies, it's very hard to see their skin go from soft, smooth, and milky white to scaly, bumpy, and covered with red inflammation. Since birth, she had crustiness behind her ears. I blamed the issue on Chris for not cleaning behind her ears when he gave her a bath.
{I need to take a moment to brag on the hubby: 
he gives both kids a bath every night (or every few when Lil Mae's skin is rashy). I do not 
enjoy giving kids baths, but he considers it play-time and one on one bonding with Daddy.}   

The next instance I noticed something was not right with her skin was when her neck became red, smelly, and slightly bumpy. I attributed this to her increase in drool (yes, I'm the lucky mom that has teething babies at 4 months too young!)

The final straw of giving in to the "something just isn't right" feeling was when after nursing her one afternoon, the side of her face that was laying against my arm was VERY red and sensitive to my touch. I was wearing a polyester sweater that had been in storage for the summer, therefore it had not been washed in my new chemical free, scent free detergent! After talking with my husband, I learned that he had eczema when he was a baby-toddler age... Why had no one told me this?? Eczema is genetic and carried heavily through the father's genes. (Thanks "Dada!!") I now had to learn how to treat the eczema and keep it from "flaring up"- the times when the skin was covered in the rash. 


Now, you will hear all about what NOT to do if you assume your child has eczema. 
1. Do not grab whatever lotion you have handy and slather it all on your baby. For me, I grabbed Bordeaux's Dry Skin Ointment (because my google search led me to realize that eczema is dry skin) and layered it all on her face, neck, and upper chest before laying her down for the night. She woke up the next morning with scaly, splotchy skin. I felt like the worst momma for making her skin worse. 
2. Thankfully, I have a very sweet friend that tells me what I don't want to hear (we all need these kinds of friends!) She kept telling me to go to the doctor, and I finally did... After "treating" her skin on my own for 4 days. Do not wait to go to the doctor.  
3. Do not assume that it is not a food allergy- Her pediatrician (Dr. Ho if you are in North Georgia) suggested that her "flare-up" could be caused by a food allergy- nuts or fish possibly. It was the holiday season, and with all the pecan pies, breads with nuts, everything with nuts on it, I had been consuming a lot of nut products. Cutting out nuts improved her skin by 50%. The coconut oil that I had been using had been breaking her skin out worse, so I quickly discarded that item. 



Onto the DO's of handling babies with eczema. 
This is what has worked for me, but every child is different! 
1. Coating her skin with 1% hydrocortisone two times a day (morning and before bed) was a suggestion made by the pediatrician. He suggested to not use this process for more than 2 weeks. This was not solving the problem, but only "masking" the condition. I'm all for getting to the root of a problem and making sure that it doesn't happen again! Research led me to know that eczema is an underlying skin condition that can be caused by chemical irritants in the air, on materials, ingested; food allergies; genetics; stress (the very few times that she has cried and her skin has already been inflamed, the condition worsens!). I recommend a thicker brand such as Target's brand of Hydrocortisone, because the lotion like creams only slid off her skin after an hour or less. 

"What comes out of your skin is often a reflection of your internal health."

2. I called my trusty friend Jim at Nature's Finest to see what he recommended... Since I am nursing Lillie-Mae, I was able to take Skin Detox to pass on the nutrients to her. I took 2, three times a day until her skin conditon improved. Jim was able to explain to me how our skin is the largest organ of our body, and is in charge of detoxifying our body. What comes out of your skin is often a reflection of your internal health. 
3. The pediatrician gave me many lotions to try, and Eucerin plus Smoothing Essentials has worked the best. At her skin's worst condition, I apply three times a day. When it isn't so bad, I apply morning and night.
4. Cloth diapers have been great for her eczema. Disposables break her out in a bumpy, oozing, infection like rash. Most people take one look at her eczema inflamed bum and say that she needs disposable, but trust me they do worse damage!
5. We cut back baths to every 2-3 days, keeping her skin as dry as possible (water dries skin out more, especially with hard water). You can invest in a water purifier to help with this issue.
6. We give her oatmeal baths when her skin is worse than normal, and use plain Dove bar soap as shampoo and wash. 
7. It is good to keep the skin from getting hot and sweaty. So, we cut out swaddling her at night, only dress her in 100% cotton clothes and wash clothes 2-3 times before she wears them. 
8. Try putting a humidifier in the room when the baby is sleeping at night. This will add moisture to the air.
9. Cut nails very very short and then file them smooth, because they will try to scratch their skin. At this point, Lillie-Mae quit sleeping through the night because she was in such discomfort.
10. Let the skin air out as much as possible. Lay baby down on a cotton liner or cotton pre-fold diaper in their crib, diaper free. Baby girl goes without a diaper at least 3 hours a day.
11. Do not let anyone with perfumes hold your baby! You will have to learn to say, "No" and do what is best for your baby's skin to get better. Anyone who uses a different detergent, lotion, etc. can cause your baby to have a flare-up.

These are a couple of pictures of her skin on a "normal" day :( Here, her neck is very red mostly from how much she is drooling from her tooth coming through. 

The diaper area is a work in progress... If you have any tips, please share! So far we have changed detergents and diapers (disposables and clothes- cotton liners work the best for her). What seems to work best for her is the Eucerin lotion and lots of diaper free time. Behind her legs, I applied Hydrocortisone and will for 1-2 days before it will clear up. 


I know that this was very detailed, but it is not a fun thing for Mom or Baby to have to deal with! I know babies with worse conditions that a skin problem, but I think that all Mommas will agree that seeing a child in pain and discomfort is not easy- no matter the level. I hope this was able to help! The steps I took were prayerfully considered, and I am praying for baby girl to have her skin back to normal very soon! 


6 comments:

  1. Cash had a red neck and everything too.I swore he was allergic to dairy but the allergist said only hyper sensitive skin.Zyrtec once a day has helped tremendously!I also use cortisone sometimes...oh have to use all free and clear detergent . And I can finally use disposable diapers at night now...since he was about eight months.

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  2. Awe poor Lillie-Mae :( Peyton developed an eczema like rash around 3 months.. it was hard to see his skin get like that. It really flared up one day and we took him to an allergist where they discovered his allergy to eggs. We have also had to use the fragrance free soaps and washes on him. We have been unsuccessful in finding a lotion that works really well for him. It seems to work for a day or two then his skin goes right back to the redness and dryness. So Peyton's pediatrician said to try plain ole Neosporin and that seems to work pretty well for him. His has gotten a lot better (it is not inflammed and doesn't seem to itch or aggravate him) but you can still feel how dry and rough his skin is in certain places! I will try the Dove soap idea and see if that might help at bathtime... we also have not been able to find a good shampoo or wash so this might help!

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    1. I am going to discuss seeing an allergist with her pediatrician at her 6 month check-up. I feel like this will be a battle for her skin for a while :/ Her ped suggested baths every 2-3 days. However, the days she has a bath her skin looks so much better the next day! We only leave her in the water for about 8 minutes (which is hard, because she loves to play and splash!). And do not towel dry her, but let her skin air dry. Then, we apply the Eucerin all over- Hydrocortisone maybe once a week to trouble spots. I hope the Dove helps him!

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    2. Our baby has eczema too. She is six months now and we found that coconut water works best for her. Plus she has food allergies too. Also, I know peeps say stay away from water..but we found watee helps her. Have u checked the national eczema association site for suggestion? They suggest witj latest research, to bathe baby at least once a day! Go figure! What we do is bathe her everyday...with salt water and oatmeal soap. Then, dab her body with tender coconut water 4 to 5 times per spot. Works like a charm! everything else that u say works for us too, like eucerin,daiper free time..etc. Good luck!

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  3. Hey Danielle...(I couldn't get this to post with anything except anonymous--this is Candy, Ashley's mom) I'm behind and just now reading this. Are you still having issues? Sam has very bad eczema too. We actually see an allergist. (He does have some food allergies.) A couple of things that have helped him: I use BabyGanics products--they have an eczema cream and a bath wash. All organic too. You can get it at Target and Babies R Us--if you watch BRU, they often have it BOGO and I stock up then. If you want to try some before you buy, I'll have Ash bring you some. Another thing we've done (per the allergist recommendations) is when it gets really bad, bleach baths. Yes, you read that right. Add one cup of bleach to a tub of water and let her soak. Yes, the bleach is drying to the skin, but it also will kill off any bacteria--this really helps when it get oozy and gross. Those are just a couple of tips...Don't know if you still have problems with it, but thought I'd offer! :)

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    1. Thank you for the tips! Her problem areas are still the creases of her hips and underneath her neck. I use calmoseptine cream on her diaper area, and that helps. Did you ever have a problem under the kids necks? It stays broken out and oozing.

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