Our son has suffered from eczema since he was four weeks old. As a new mom, it was difficult to manage as our son was covered from head to toe in itchy, scratchy patches of broken out skin. Days turned into long morning and evening skincare routines which included twice daily colloidal oatmeal baths, head soaks, creams, and constant creative ways to help distract our son from itching.
Our son is now an energetic toddler who still struggles daily with eczema. The good news is that we have a consistent plan for how to care for him and his skin is doing so much better. We have learned a lot and are still discovering new things about eczema. For any parent who is struggling with how to care for your child, please know that you are not alone and there is help available.
Here is what has helped our family:
1. Utilize the best products
Did you know that most baby bath products have added fragrances and dyes? Label reading is essential for choosing the best over-the-counter products. The rules of thumb for products to treat eczema are to avoid fragrances and to start with oil-based, then creams, with lotions coming in last. Here’s a list of some great product recommendations from a fellow ABQ mama. For over-the-counter products, we use Vanicream moisturizing cream and Vanicream body wash and shampoo at bath time. When our son was a tiny baby, we used Aveeno Baby colloidal oatmeal treatments and night cream. Both products have worked well for our son.
2. Develop a daily skincare routine
Our daily skincare routine occurs in the morning, mid-day, and at bedtime. When dressing our son for the day, we apply Vanicream all over his body and use a variety of prescription ointments for any flare spots. Usually before his nap, he receives another application of Vanicream. Before bed, we use a prescription body oil and prescription ointments for his flares. In addition, we bathe our son every other day and sometimes daily depending on his level of activity.
3. Pay attention to clothing and fabrics
Breathable and lightweight clothing is the best choice for children with eczema. When in doubt, 100% cotton is a good standard. Bamboo, Tencel, Viscose, and Lyocell are also eczema-friendly fabrics. In my search for affordable and breathable clothing for our son, I have found that a variety of Old Navy kids’ clothes are 100% cotton. Many other stores with children’s clothing like Target, H & M, and Carters are also now creating more affordable Tencel/Lyocell specific clothing lines. LouLou Lollipop and Lamaze are two boutique brands that we have bought and also been happy with.
4. Be patient with your child
For a child who struggles with eczema, the itching is often constant. This weighs heavily on my mama heart as I have watched our son go through phases of constantly scratching his head and body even to the point of bleeding. It is important to be patient with your child as they learn to manage the itching. Especially when they do not have words, it can be tough to communicate the importance of safe itching or not hurting themselves.
When our son was little, distracting him with a toy was helpful, and my husband and I would also rub his head and body with the back of our hands to help him itch in a safe way. We’ve also used these animal-themed cold packs that are a fun way that your child can safely rub his head and body. Bedtime and car seat time have proven the toughest times for scratching. Until our son was 12 months old, we used Goumi baby mitts and Cloud Island pajamas with built-in mittens at bedtime. We currently use scratch sleeves at bedtime and in the car.
5. Advocate to get a Pediatric Dermatologist
Last, but certainly not least, the best thing I was able to do to care for our son’s eczema was to advocate for a referral to a pediatric dermatologist. This was no simple feat. From the onset of our son’s eczema symptoms to the point of treatment was a total of seven months. Those were a long seven months! We saw two dermatologists who told us that he was too young to treat with prescription medications. We finally received a referral to a pediatric dermatologist and were given prescription ointments and oils that have dramatically improved our son’s skin. I cried tears of joy at the first appointment when our dermatologist said that she had a plan for our son’s eczema.
The most important thing that I want to share with you, dear mama, is that there is hope in the eczema battle. Our son is doing so much better than he was when we first learned about his eczema. His skin is the clearest it has ever been. He still has flare/itchy days, but they are less frequent, and more importantly, we have a routine to manage it. I know our family is not alone in this journey and it is so important to have others who understand the challenges of eczema.
Feel free to comment below with your story or something that has helped your child or family!
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.