Every new parent looks forward to meeting and taking care of their bundle of joy. Most parents don't daydream about treating chronic conditions. Of course, we know that babies, just like adults, can be prone to eczema. As a new parent, you probably weren't thinking about this scenario until it happened.
The truth is that eczema is very common in babies and young children. Estimates indicate that over 10% of the population of children under the age of five have some form of eczema. Some statistics suggest that number may be closer to 20%. Of the infants born with eczema, 60% will continue to have some form of the condition throughout their lives.
It's not currently known exactly why these numbers are growing. There may be several reasons. What is clear is that you're not alone in parenting a child with eczema. Other parents just like you are seeking the best methods to sooth their babies' skin.
The First Step Is Acceptance
When your child has any type of condition or illness, it's normal to have an emotional response. In fact, many parents experience a great deal of stress over the diagnosis. Some indicate that they're embarrassed about the visible signs of eczema on their child. They fear that their child will be made fun of, or they worry over the reaction of other parents and adults. Often they feel a sense of guilt, wondering if there was something they could have done to prevent the condition.
These are all common feelings and it's important that you work through them honestly. Children get sick. They have conditions that can't be prevented. There is no blame.
The rates of eczema in children are rising but there aren't a great many pediatric dermatologists. Most parents take their children to a pediatrician to treat the condition and may also see a general dermatologist. Unlike other pediatric conditions, there may not be a lot of opportunities for parents to get involved with other people whose children have eczema.
It's a good idea to find ways to build relationships with other parents who are going through the same things. This offers support and helps you find methods to treat the condition that you might not find on your own. You can also learn from each other's experiences.
Tips to Care for Baby
As you get to know each other, you'll learn to distinguish your baby's cries. Some may be from being tired. Other times, they may be telling you that they're uncomfortable. Breaking that down further, your infant and small child might not be able to tell you why they're uncomfortable. Are they hungry or do they need a diaper change? Maybe they have gas.
Eczema adds another consideration to your daily schedule. Depending on the severity, there may be several skin care regimens that help sooth your baby's irritation. There are also extra precautions to help you stave off future flare-ups. If you've never experienced eczema yourself, it might be difficult for you to gauge how uncomfortable even a small flare-up can be.
Here are a few tips to help you manage your baby's eczema:
- Pay Attention to Triggers. Triggers might include foods or environmental factors. With infants, it's important to pay attention when you introduce anything new. Eczema can be caused by allergies, too. So noting new introductions of foods and paying special attention to the types of laundry detergent and other environmental factors can help you pinpoint things that trigger a flare-up.
- Eczema Mittens for Baby. Eczema mittens are a great idea, no matter where baby has an eczema irritation. Babies can't be instructed not to scratch and you can't stop them every second of the day. Scratching the area will irritate it further and can even lead to infection. Invest in a pair of eczema mittens to help aid the healing process.
- Develop a Good Skin Care Routine. Good hygiene and bathing habits start in childhood. For babies with eczema, this is even more important. Develop a good skin care routine for every day. This will help keep skin healthy and you'll see flare-ups as soon as they start so that you can easily begin treatment and pinpoint any trigger that may have caused it.
- Moisturize with Gentle Ingredients for Eczema. Babies have sensitive skin to begin with and those with eczema are even more prone to irritation. It's important to moisturize skin for children with eczema. While you might find suitable products in your local drug store, make sure to limit things with fragrance because that can be a trigger. You can also buy lotion specifically formulated for children with eczema, such as the Eczema Honey Lotion Stick.
- See Your Pediatrician for Severe Flare-Ups. Many children go untreated for eczema. While home treatments can be sufficient for mild cases, it's important to see your pediatrician if there are many flare-ups or if the issue is severe. They can often help alleviate symptoms and work with you to pinpoint triggers for the future.
Listening to Your Child
When your child is very little, it's easy to fall into the pattern of making decisions for them without really listening. You know instinctively what they need. When your child has eczema, it's important to keep in mind that the irritation can cause other issues, as well. As they enter school age, especially, check in with your child to see how they're feeling emotionally. Many children with serious eczema symptoms experience self-esteem issues. They may be self-conscious about the way their skin looks, and they may even have issues with bullying.
Your child's emotional well-being is as important as their physical well-being, and stress can often lead to more severe flare-ups. Taking a holistic approach to parenting — mind, body, and spirit, offers a wonderful way to boost confidence and build a healthy, life-long relationship.