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Tips for New Moms: What to do about baby eczema?

baby - kid o infoEczema, or atopic dermatitis, is quite common during the first year of life. It is most commonly found on a baby’s forehead, cheeks, and scalp, but it may also spread to arms, legs, chest, or other parts of the body. Eczema isn’t contagious, but scratching it can cause problems. This is why it is very important to look out for potential triggers, and to care for baby’s skin.

Here are some tips for treating baby eczema:

– Give frequent, short baths in lukewarm water.
(Note: Some children with eczema cannot tolerate baths.)
– Use minimal (if any) cleansers.
– Pat skin dry instead of rubbing.
– Apply ointment, cream, or lotion after bathing.
– Use a humidifier in baby’s room.
– Dress baby in smooth, natural fabrics like cotton (allowing skin to breathe).
– Use mild, fragrance-free detergent and soaps.
– Beware of sudden temperature changes which may aggravate eczema.
– Put cotton mittens on baby’s hands so s/he won’t scratch.
– Keep fingernails short to avoid scratching.
– Consult your pediatrician.

Kristen Kardos, MA Ed., and Kathy McGuigan, MSW, the co-founders of RI New Moms Connection provide affordable, accessible pregnancy and new mom groups throughout Rhode Island. In “New Moms Tips” they share their knowledge, resources, and helpful ideas for moms just beginning their journey into parenthood or moms that may need a little refresher.

Photo Credit: www.kharberphoto.com

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  • Maybe you are right Michelle, “Tips for New Parents” may be a better title. Although a few of these columns have been specific to new moms (e.g. breastfeeding) maybe a change is in order?

  • Another voice for the allergy/eczema connection. Our son had wheat sensitivity that gave him horrible eczema (and in retrospect, might have been the cause of his colic while I was still breastfeeding). We kept it out of his diet for a year and he outgrew it, thankfully.

    And the doctors did not bring this up – it’s great to have a forum like this where parents can inform each other.

    p.s. Shouldn’t it be “Tips for New Parents”? 😉

  • I am just now figuring this out in my 6 1/2 year old son. He is not allergic but is sensitive to peanuts and almonds and this may have been making his eczema worse.
    The best thing that works for us (for the past 6 years) is Eucerin cream not the lotion. And when he has a bad flare up, we use a steroid and it is gone in no time.

  • Eczema can also signal food allergies. I was eating eggs nearly every day when my son was a nursing infant. He had moderate eczema that wouldn’t clear up, even with steroid cream. We later learned that he has an egg allergy. In hindsight, I was very frustrated that my pediatrician and pediatric dermatologist at the time didn’t mention there may a possible connection; I’ve since had friends whose children with eczema also turned out to have dairy or other allergies. If your child has a chronic eczema problem, please keep this connection in mind.