How do I know if my baby has eczema?
Eczema in a baby is heartbreaking. Itís upsetting to see your babyís skin condition flared up, and you can tell that itís itchy.
My little one started having eczema when he was about two months old. It started with flaky dry skin and then turned into a red rash. When I referred this to the health practitioners, they said it was eczema. So they prescribed some emollient cream and emollient bath oil for my baby. And of course, with a long list of advice on what to do and not to do.
Unfortunately, my babyís skin condition didnít get better. Instead, it got drier, cracked, and spotty too. The itch seemed to bother him so much that his sleep was often disturbed. After more than a few months, trying the allopathic way to treat my babyís eczema without success, I decided that I had enough.
I couldnít just sit there watching him suffer. So, I began researching high and low through books from the local library and browsing info from the internet. I ventured into learning and most importantly putting the knowledge into practice.
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What causes eczema in my baby?
Before my little one had eczema, I donít think I really understood what this skin condition is about. All I knew was that this skin rash can be caused by an allergy to something, i.e. seafood, nuts, etc. At some point, I was also led to believe that itís contagious.
But when I tried to know more about eczema, I realized that I misunderstood about this skin problem.
I now learned that one of the reasons for Eczema on babies is, dry skin condition due to the body produces too little amount of fatty acids called Ceramide. This makes the skin lose its moisture and becomes dry. It is believed that the rash can be triggered by some food allergies. And it is also believed that eczema can lead to Asthma problems.
When I tried to know what Ceramide is about, I simply understood it as good fat molecules that lie on the upper layer of our skin. Their job is to keep our skin smooth and far from dry. And to protect our skin from any harmful environmental damage, such as air pollution and dry air, and from irritants like detergent.
To simply put, I think the main cause of eczema is due to a lack of good fatty acid and some form of allergies.
In my babyís case, I have a feeling that his eczema mightíve been triggered by chocolate peanut bars that Iíd eaten a lot of weeks before the rash flare-ups. Because I was having baby-blues, and chocolate peanut bars were the go-to choice to cheer myself up.
Natural remedies for my baby’s eczema
1. A Strict Diet And Fatty Acid Supplements
Out of guilt, I decided that I want to try to sort out this eczema by using home natural remedies. I thought, even if they donít work, at the very least they shouldnít harm you. After all, theyíre only natural stuff, arenít they?
Because my baby was only about four months old at the time, and he was still breastfed, he still relied on me for feeding. As he was not bottle-fed, nor did he start solid food.
So I set the plan.
I started researching fatty acids, i.e. its benefits, and how we can attain them. Then, I tried to find out what types of food I should avoid, and I had to increase.
Later on, I found out the benefits of Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 for our skin. In my simple understanding, if I can have enough of these fatty acids for my baby, then hopefully his skin wonít get dry, and the rash will be gone.
To get the full benefits of those good fats, I put myself on a strict diet, avoiding any type of food that can cause allergies, and possibly trigger eczema.
So I stayed away from any type of nuts, wheat products, fish/seafood, and dairy products (e.g. cheese, milk, yoghurt, and ice cream). At the same time, I took vegetarian supplements that are high in Omega 3, 6 and 9, such as evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil, and borage/ starflower oil.†
I also tried to stick to a greener and healthier diet with less sugar.
In other words, I wanted to ensure my body would produce only the best milk for my baby which is higher in fatty acid. Plus, I wanted to make sure the milk would be free from any type of allergens.
I breastfed my baby a full good two years. And when he started eating solid food at the age of six months, I made sure he stayed away from seafood, wheat, and dairy products. Luckily, he was keen on vegetables. In fact, until he was two years old, he refused to eat any meat, and he could always find any sliver of meat in his food. He was a natural vegetarian.
2. DIY Homemade Cream For My Babyís Eczema
As I was making my way to a new lifestyle, I tried to find out what I could put on my babyís skin to soothe eczema. Because the prescribed emollient cream clearly didnít work. The rash on his cheek was getting drier and redder by the day.
So I began my research again.
There are many homemade cream recipes that I found and caught my interest, such as Whipped Eczema Cream by The Easy Homestead or Homemade Neem Balm by The Lovely Greens.
All the recipes seemed similar one to another, so I personally chose to try the combination of Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, and Jojoba Oil. Because I think these three natural fats can complement each other to fight my babyís skin rash.
Shea Butter is said to have good moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, which are good to combat eczema. Coconut oil has anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, Vitamin E, and Vitamin A, which can help the skin to fight the bacteria, but at the same time keep the skin elasticity. And lastly, Jojoba Oil has an anti-inflammatory agent, Vitamin E and Vitamin B complex, which helps to improve dry skin and keep it moisturized.
Apart from the three fats, I also added Rose Geranium and Sweet Orange essential oils in the cream. These two oils have amazing benefits. Because these two oils, combined together, are claimed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial-, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-aging, and calming properties. I was unbelievably amazed.
However, in honesty, the reason I chose these two essential oils is that theyíre fairly affordable for me. And judging by their benefits, I thought they should be good combinations for the butter and oil that I wanted to use. So, I bought them. And mixed them in my concoction ?.
Hereís how I made my cream:
Homemade Eczema cream with 5 natural oils
Shea Butter Ĺ cup
Coconut oil Ĺ cup
Jojoba oil Ĺ cup
Put Shea Butter and Coconut oil in a bowl. Heat it over boiling water (double boiler), just until everything melted and mixed. Take care not to overheat it. Then add in Jojoba oil. Leave it to cool down for about 5-10 minutes, then put your preferred essential oils in. Stir well. Now leave the mixture to slightly set. You can tell by its changing colour from translucent to opaque. Then whisk it. You can use an electric mixer, hand blender or even hand whisk. But make sure you whisk it until it becomes creamy and fluffy. Use as needed.
Use a glass bowl, a ceramic/porcelain bowl, or a stainless steel bowl. But donít use a plastic bowl. The same goes for the spoon and whisk. Make sure theyíre stainless steel and not plastic.
I used to apply the cream on my babyís skin every so often. Especially in the cold season, when the house heating is on. But, I did pay attention to his skin closely for the first few times. Just in case his skin didnít agree with the cream. Thankfully, it suited him fine.
3. Things To Avoid
Besides doing a strict diet, taking supplements, and making homemade eczema cream, I had to avoid a few other things too. Things that can be allergen and trigger for skin rash. Especially chemical stuff, i.e. toiletries, washing powder, fabric conditioner, etc.
I had to make sure theyíre all non-bio type of products. Basically, they’re sensitive skin-friendly stuff, and they donít have a harsh chemical that can aggravate the skin rash. They have to be perfume-free and color dye-free.
Therefore, I switched my washing powder to a non-bio detergent and perfume free fabric conditioner.
However, for a baby bath, I continued using the emollient bath Oilatum that was originally prescribed by our GP. Because I found this bath formula seems to soothe the itch. And when I started applying the homemade cream, it seemed to work well, that it kept my babyís skin moisturized a bit longer.
I carried on with this endeavor vigorously for about one year. And when my little one was about one and a half years, I stopped my strict diet. But, I still avoided high-risk food such as nuts, cheese (especially mature cheeses), and seafood. And I kept taking my supplements and tried to keep a balanced healthy diet. Because I was still breastfeeding him.
Also, we continued using my homemade cream, and the emollient bath Oilatum until my son was about 4 years old. Then I started introducing shop-bought toiletries and body lotion/cream to his skin. But I was still careful about what I chose. I tried to only choose the stuff with natural ingredients.
Eczema in babies is upsetting. It breaks your heart to see your little oneís skin get dry, red, flaky, itchy and even cracked sometimes. When this happened to my little one, I decided to try the natural remedies to cure his eczema.
There are 3 steps that I took on this journey of clearing eczema from my babyís skin:
- Doing a strict diet that avoids food allergens, i.e. nuts, dairy products, wheat products.†
- Taking supplements that high in fatty acids such as Omega 3, 6, and 9. I used the vegetarian version for all of these supplements. Making and using homemade eczema cream that consists of Shea butter, Coconut oil, and Jojoba oil, with Rose Geranium and Sweet Orange essential oils. And using Oilatum emollient bath.†
- Switching my washing detergent to non-bio, and using a hypoallergenic fabric conditioner, and non-allergen toiletries products.
Thankfully, with patience and persistence, this effort was paid off. My sonís skin has been free from eczema, or any dry skin rash since he was 2 years old.
Iím ever so grateful that I followed my instinct to try this treatment. Although it was quite hard. Especially the diet bit. But itís worthed.
All the best.
Disclaimer: I’m not a medical doctor nor am I a health practitioner. Everything explained in the content is based on self-experience and must not be considered as medical advice. You should consult an appropriate health practitioner/ doctor to seek advice for your eczema problem. Please read our disclaimer policy for further info.
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