No question about it, baby eczema is uncomfortable for Mom and Baby. Fortunately, many helpful ideas exist for soothing dry skin in newborn babies. Consider the following 7 tips:
1. Bathe your baby every day with mild, fragrance-free soap. As little as fifteen minutes of bath time can work wonders. The warm water will add moisture to the skin as well as rid the skin’s surface of the bacteria that contributes to the irritation. Be sure the water is warm and not hot as hot water dries out the skin. Some moms are religious about putting lotion on their baby right after bath time to lock in the moisture and provide relief. Look for lotions that are hypoallergenic and work with lipid replacement of the skin’s barrier.
2. Clip your baby’s fingernails often. Scratching can further irritate or damage the skin. If possible, cover your baby’s hands with lightweight mittens during the night while your baby sleeps. Also at night, try to use only light, cotton bedding and keep your baby’s room cool since heat incites itchiness.
3. Dress your baby in comfortable, loose-fitting, cotton clothing that breathes easily. Wool and synthetic fibers, specifically, cause unnecessary irritation to someone with a skin condition. Whenever you can, wear cotton clothing yourself since your baby’s skin will come in contact with your clothing when cuddling or playing together. At the end of the day, wash your baby’s clothes–and yours–with a gentle detergent. Harsh detergents only exasperate the problem. Avoid dryer sheets altogether.
4. Don’t manage the eczema by yourself. Talk to your baby’s pediatrician about what creams or ointments should be used. Not all babies with eczema are good candidates for medication, but your doctor may be able to prescribe some helpful anti-itch cream. Remember to continue using prescribed creams or ointments even on days when your baby’s skin looks good. Sometimes the best strategy for managing dry skin is being proactive with treatment before the skin is visibly irritated.
5. Avoid eczema triggers. As a rule of thumb, use only fragrance-free products in the home while dealing with a baby dry skin rash. Look for sneaky fragrances in products like shampoo, sunscreen, or baby wipes. Also, try to keep pets out of the baby’s room as much as possible since shedding can trigger discomfort.
6. Use a humidifier. Adding moisture to the air–especially during the winter months when eczema is at its worst–will help keep symptoms in check.
7. Keep a journal. Make notes about when and what triggers your baby the most. You may notice that certain foods or activities cause your baby to react strongly. A surprising number of parents have discovered that their child’s eczema was actually triggered by a food allergy. Take thorough notes and discuss them with your baby’s pediatrician. He or she may choose to test for certain allergies.
Take heart. Dry skin in newborn babies is not an indication that your child will deal with eczema for the entirety of his or her life. Many children outgrow eczema by the time they reach school age. Fortunately, in the meantime you can do many things to help alleviate the symptoms and help your baby stay comfortable.
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