Pregnancy and Parenting Features

What is Baby Eczema and How to Treat it

There’s nothing quite as wonderful as kissing your baby’s soft, beautiful skin, but if you’ve noticed red, scaly patches on those tiny little cheeks or even other parts of her body, you may be seriously concerned. Fortunately, it’s nothing to worry about. Instead, it’s probably a simple case of baby eczema.

Understanding Eczema

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, causes red, crusty, blistery looking skin. In most cases, the problem areas are tender to the touch, and they can frequently be itchy as well. The condition occurs in nearly 15% of all children before age five, and no one really understands what causes it. Doctors do know that it is a reaction by the baby’s immune system. Many things can cause it including some soaps and detergents. It could also be triggered by pollen or cigarette smoke. It could even be that your child is allergic to something in his or her diet.

This tiny little rash can get worse, too. If your child gets too hot or experiences a particularly stressful situation, you may notice a real flare-up in the problem.

In very young children, this condition is sometimes confused with cradle cap, but the real difference comes with age. Cradle cap is frequently gone by the time the child is 8 months old. What’s more, though, is that eczema can appear almost anywhere while cradle cap is limited to the scalp itself, the sides of the nose, behind your baby’s ears, and on the eyelids or eyebrows.

Is There Anything I Can Do?

Luckily, most children will outgrow this condition by the age of five, so no long term treatment will be necessary. If the case is particularly serious, your pediatrician may refer your child to a dermatologist to help deal with outbreaks, but in most cases, the best treatments are at home.

One of the first things you should do is limit bath time. Because bathing your baby washes away the natural oils present in the skin, you could actually be causing the dryness every time you put your child in the water. During bath time, make certain you use either a very mild soap or a formula that doesn’t actually include soap. As soon as you’re done bathing your child, go ahead and end bath time. The longer your baby sits, the worse the eczema can get. Gently blot the water from the skin with a towel.

The next thing you want to consider is moisturizing your baby’s skin. As soon as bath time is over, you’ll want to choose an emollient to help seal in your baby’s body’s own moisture. Petroleum jelly is a good choice, but many companies are making others that are designed to treat baby eczema too.

When you get ready to dress your child each day, choose natural fabrics like cotton. Go with something smooth and soft too. Wool or other fabrics like it are only going to irritate your child’s condition. Also, make certain you don’t bundle up more than necessary. Overheating can only add to the problem. You’ll also want to consider very soft crib sheets.

Contacting Your Doctor

If you’re not sure whether your child is suffering from baby eczema or another condition, talk to your doctor right away. Also, if your child is having trouble sleeping or itching excessively, a visit to the doctor might be a good idea.

Pinkchic18 is a writer with a passion for children and family life. She regularly contributes to the Parenting & New Baby Advice Blog, where you can find more parenting tips and even new baby gifts.

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