Experience of a First-time Mom of Eczema Baby
Being a first-time mom is already a huge challenge and having an infant with eczema only made it tougher. We first noted rashes on my baby Marcie’s face at two weeks old and she’s diagnosed with eczema at her one-month checkup.
I would say the challenges were manifold, truly blood and sweat type!
Mental & Emotional
“Sleep like a Baby” – this phrase hardly described how my baby slept since her rashes came at 2 weeks old till date! Those days and nights which I had to swaddle her, hold her hands and co-sleep (we’re still co-sleeping!) were truly stressful. It’s about worrying about blood from baby’s scratching even when you’re taking a pee, and half the time, I try not to. For the first time ever, my dentist said my teeth were dirty as I often cut short my brushing to hold my baby’s hands!
Other emotions like blame and resentment could easily creep in – either with spouse not doing enough or contributing the ‘eczema gene’ or with (very often) your closest family and friends who don’t understand eczema and offer miracle cure or insinuate it’s due to the mom’s negligent care.
For the parents, it’s more of fatigue and stress. For the baby, it’s the lack of sleep and constant irritation. Allergy tests aren’t accurate before the baby is at least 6 month old, so very often, pediatricians will recommend switching to hypoallergenic milk formula or for moms who are breast-feeding, you’ll start to wonder if it’s anything in your diet. My baby did not take well to the formula switch, and I faced huge drop in milk feed (and huge rise in worry), colic and reflux for her.
MarcieMom’s Top Three Baby Eczema Tips
Managing eczema requires being a multi-tasking mom – there are so many factors to look out for! To make it less stressful, let’s concentrate on the top 3:
- Once your baby reaches 6-month old, take an allergy test
Once my baby took hers at 7-month old, it really helped A LOT! First, we found out she’s not allergic to anything, so we could feed her solids without worrying about which food triggers her eczema. Second, we could stop being paranoid about everything, such as too much dust or walking past a cat or a dog in the park. You can read more about allergy test, including my Q&As with leading doctors in Singapore here.
- Moisturize like crazy!
Moisturize lots, within three minutes after shower and at every diaper change and do use a lotion or cream that does not contain the top allergens. You can click here to learn about reading label of sensitive skincare products. There are also studies showing that moisturizing reduces the severity of eczema and may help to prevent the allergic march.
- Don’t be steroid-phobic!
I know this would draw flak from some but truly, eczema needs to be managed and part of that management, is the application of topical steroid. Steroid has to be used under doctor’s supervision, who will advice the frequency and the strength of steroid. I was once steroid-phobic but realized that it’s so much more practical to quickly treat the eczema rash rather than let my baby suffer the itch, inflammation and damage to skin from scratching. To learn more about steroids, read here.
Hope above will help to prepare a first-time parent for baby’s eczema and whenever you feel stressed, drop by my blog to read the cartoons, 101 things that Moms with Eczema Child do Differently!
Mei, also known as Marcie Mom (on twitter), has baby girl Marcie who had eczema from two weeks old. Mei runs a blog, EczemaBlues.com, a comprehensive and light-hearted resource for parents with eczema children. Mei is also the co-chairperson of Singapore’s Eczema Support Group and has initiated an eczema fund for low-income patients in Singapore. Mei has also published a wonderful children’s picture book, called “A to Z Animals Are Not Scratching!”.