About Baby Eczema
Learning About Eczema in Babies
One thing that struck me when I was first looking for information to help my son’s eczema is how little seems to be known about such a common problem. As many as 1 in 5 infants suffer with eczema of some kind, normally beginning before their first birthday.
This baby eczema is often called atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis. The cause of it is still largely unclear but there are two main theories – that it is either an immune system over-reaction or a skin barrier problem.
The names eczema and dermatitis are used interchangeably and both simply describe inflammation of the skin.
Having eczema means you have sensitive skin prone to dryness and itchy red break-outs that happen with a flare-up.
If you are looking for descriptions and basic information about eczema I found the following websites to have clear helpful information:Doctors principally aim to treat the symptoms of eczema. Homeopaths and Nautropaths will look more at treating the causes of eczema.
I’m a mummy not a medical professional and my medical knowledge of skin and allergies is limited to what I learned in my work and studies as a vet nurse, hours spent looking for information to help my little boy and feed back from other parents since starting Itchy baby.
I believe it’s more helpful to think of eczema as the body’s way of trying to tell you something is wrong. Something usually triggers a flare up and to get on top of it we need to try and find out what the cause is whilst protecting the skin and stop the affected skin getting worse. I suffer from sensitive skin myself, and if something is making me itch then I instinctively want to know what it is and how to stop it.
Our babies can’t do that, they rely completely on us as care givers. Only a parent can understand that awful feeling of helplessness you feel when you can’t meet your baby’s needs. Being a Mum isn’t easy at the best of times and eczema in a baby can cause a whole range of difficult emotions from guilt to resentment and almost anything in between. Many mums feel responsible for their baby’s suffering… (You’re not!)
The battle with eczema can take its toll on the whole family. There is often no quick fix and it can be hard work. Don’t lose hope though, with time you’ll start to learn what plays apart in the eczema affecting your family. Most importantly please don’t feel responsible for it.
I had a lot of ideas about what might be helpful for my baby’s eczema and I’d look for information and find the comment – ‘There is no evidence to support’ which I had to keep reminding myself, doesn’t mean yes/no or anything other than no one has studied and published any valid research on it yet. So please don’t be put off by trying and excluding things you may think are problems just tread cautiously. My approach was to exclude as many possible causes as I could in a desperate attempt to 'make it all stop' – once J’s skin was healthy again it made it much simpler to spot his triggers by reintroducing things slowly back one at a time.
Read next: Causes of Eczema