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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

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Itchy and Scatchy: Eczema and Cloth

We did everything; but still the rash persisted! Days stretched into weeks, weeks turned into months. It wouldn’t let go of its alligator grip on my son’s bum. Am I laying it on too thick?

Seriously though, the rash wouldn’t go away despite half a dozen trips to the pediatrician.. Creams, ointments, and a variety of other medications later, nothing worked! In fact, the rash looked worse, spreading beyond the diaper area to other areas of his little body. He was a little rashy blob with a cute baby face! The red rashy bum was born than enough – but now the rest of his body? *Insert exasperated sighs and toddler-esque foot stomps*

After a visit to a dermatologist we learned our little one was suffering from [childhood] eczema. Web MD defines eczema as “itchy, red, and dry skin caused by inflammation. It is most common in children.” Rather than become upset by the diagnosis I was relieved to know it wasn’t nothing I was or wasn’t doing, and more importantly it wasn’t a result of my precious fluff!

After consulting with the dermatologist, other mommies of babies with eczema, and lots of research, I learned several do’s and don’ts when it comes to cloth diapering a child with eczema (or sensitive skin).
  1. Change baby FREQUENTLY! While cloth diapered babies are generally changed a lot it’s easy to get caught up in other things and forget baby is due for a diaper change!
  2. Avoid products or foods that will trigger flare-ups.
  3. Use plenty of [cloth diaper friendly] diaper cream at night! To be on the safe side, it’s best to use fleece liners when using a lot of diaper cream.
  4. No wool. =( I’m very sad to say wool has been known to be an irritant for children who suffer from eczema. (Good thing I never bought any wool – but not for a lack of trying)
  5. Use soaps and detergents designed for those with sensitive skin. We tried using baby soaps and my little one’s back would be red and splotchy and his skin would start to peel. We switched to Dove and this resolved our soap problems.

    If you suspect your baby is dealing with eczema consult with your doctor/pediatrician.

-- By Kristi S.


kesmom3 said...

Your poor son looks just my husband did when he was an infant. Any chance your child has food allergies? My kids and husband break out like that when they eat dairy, and soy as well for the younger 2.

Alison said...

I respectfully disagree that wool is to be avoided for babies with eczema or rashes. Some babies may be sensitive to wool, but for many others it helps diaper rash by allowing baby's bottom to breathe (as oppose to PUL which locks in the heat and wetness). I've diapered 2 babies in cloth and their bums have never looked better than when they wore wool covers.

Brassy said...

I've also found that it helps to put Baby H's prescription eczema cream on first, and then the diaper rash cream over that. Diaper rash cream alone does nothing to heal her eczema, but it's a major super-star supporter when used in conjunction with the Atopiclair.

Definitely see your pediatrician, anyone who thinks their child may have similar problems! As an adult with eczema, I can vouch for its extreme discomfort.

Anonymous said...

You might check the formula or what your eating if your BFing. My son had it as well is sensitive to milk protein and soy. Derm just gave us a cream but as soon as I quit eating those offenders it cleared up 98%

Upstatemomof3 said...

My son has eczema too - but he is totally out of diapers now. :)

tnt71206 said...

My son, now two, also suffers from excema. Using laundry detergent free of perfumes and dyes on ALL of our clothes and towels has made a marked improvement in his skin. It does tend to flare up more in the winter as it gets drier though. A humidifier helps. Eucerin cream is also really good on non-bum skin, and vaseline chapstick is good for cheeks. Hope that helps!

Kristi26 said...

He actually does have some food sensitivities as well that cause flare ups. It took some trial and error to discover that. We've narrowed his issues down to dairy and tomatoes. Tomatoes are the worst as they cause very red, irritated skin for him after I've eaten it. And yes, he is BF.

Alison: As for the wool, I was told not to use it on Ian. If you've had good luck with it, awesome. I've chosen to use fleece instead and find it just as breathable if we do prefolds. :D

And Brassy, great idea about the eczema cream followed by diaper cream!

TNT, we've got the humidifier going! :D Thanks for the ideas!

Heather said...

My older son has eczema too. I agree with Alison that wool sensitivities can also cause skin problems, but are not necessarily associated with eczema. We used wool on my son without problems. The eczema was worst on his chin, neck, chest, knees and ankles. The thing that worked for us was bringing him to a homeopath. We tried a couple of different remedies, but finally one worked and his eczema - which was horrible - disappeared. Now he still gets it a little on his ankles and knees when there are a lot of changes/stresses in his life, but then we just go back to the remedy and kick it again. It's nice because those remedies are so gentle so I don't have to feel bad about using them on a small child! Good luck!!

Attila & Tamara said...

I have been using wool on my son who has eczema and we haven't had any problems with it. I am so thankful that switching to cloth hasn't caused him to have any flare-ups at all!

Bethany said...

Ooo! Poor baby!

Anonymous said...

Check sensitivity to detergents- all! Switching to pure soap or soap nuts has helped us. I found lots of info on solveeczema org. The site doesn't sell anything but is one moms struggle to find what triggers her sons eczema.