I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Flora’s Eczema that I decided I’d put together a post. By putting our experience out there on social media for everyone to see and hear about has been so beneficial for me, because I’ve been connected with so many other mamas who are going through or have been through similar situations. The internet and social media is so great for this reason. For all the anxiety and stress it causes me, it can also really, really can make you feel less alone. But back to the Eczema!
Here’s a little background in case you aren’t caught up! At 3.5 months Flora developed very severe Eczema. I debated sharing photos in this post and ultimately decided not to – if you are wondering or curious how her Eczema compares to your baby’s feel free to send me a DM on Instagram. It was bad. Worst on her face and eyes but would spread over her entire body within hours. I tried every cream or lotion on the block and quickly came to the realization that this wasn’t just any old form of Eczema. Nothing would remotely change her skin, she was scratching and rubbing like crazy and had to be swaddled the majority of the time. She stopped sleeping and was clearly not comfortable. I knew, this was something more. We went to the doctor 4 times. I tried an elimination diet (and wrote about it here). I pushed and pushed and we went to see an allergist and everything changed.
Our wonderful allergist explained that with eczema this severe in an infant you will likely find they have food allergies and he suggested we do an allergy test that day. It’s so common that there are now special guidelines and protocols for introducing common allergens like peanut and egg to babies who have eczema because it’s just so likely they will have an allergy.
We did the allergy testing and it was so hard to watch but I knew it was for the best. Flora is severely allergic to peanut, milk, egg and slightly to tree nut and fish. The food allergies are associated with the eczema, but the eczema is also it’s own beast. By changing my diet, we hope that it will help to clear up her eczema, but it’s also possible it won’t at all! It’s a hard concept to wrap your head around. There is a theory called the ‘atopic march’ surrounding these allergies in babies – essentially they ‘march’ in line with developing severe eczema around 3 months, having food allergies and then developing asthma and respiratory issues (as early as next year). We hope that she will outgrow some of her food allergies
Also these allergies are entirely different from the G.I. allergies that Piper had! These are anaphylactic allergies not digestion sensitivities. We will get an epi pen at our next visit in a month since Flora will soon be putting everything in her mouth and starting to eat solids. The thought of this makes me want to burst into tears.
So far, my diet changes have drastically helped, but she still has flare ups which we are trying to determine the cause of, they seem to be topical. I’ve learned SO much from research, other moms on social media and our doctors. Here are a few things that we do!
I’m not a medical professional, please check with yours if you have concerns about eczema!
I’ve spent hundreds on products to try and help Flora. Like most things, its a matter of figuring out what works for you. Right now what works for Flora’s flare ups are low dose steroid creams and Aquaphor or vaseline. We use the steroids about once a week if that right now and I hope it stays that way! Otherwise I lotion her up whenever I can, at the minimum at every diaper change. I use Vanicream throughout the day and Vaseline or Aquaphor on what I call her ‘hot spots’ — behind the knees, ears, side of head.I have tubes of it everywhere and I’m as diligent as I can be about applying it.
I always apply a thick coat of Aquaphor or Vaseline before a nap + bed over her entire body.
We use sleepers with hand covers (the Target Cloud Island are my favorite) and have several sets of mittens. 80% of the time her hands are covered to prevent scratching but since her skin has improved so much we are setting those hands free more and more!
We give Flora a bath every day. Much to popular belief, giving babies with eczema baths is a good thing! Its when their skin gets most hydrated – we quickly pat her dry and immediately put on lotion as fast as possible! We use Aquaphor body wash right now. I use mittens in the bath too because she can easily scratch herself when she’s naked. Our doctor suggested a 10 minute soak and we are using this Skip Hop tub which kind of allows her to lay down and ‘soak’.
Avoid fragrances and dyes as much as possible.
We use All Free & Clear for the entire family. It seems to work OK. Flora did flare up when i tried Molly Suds so I’m sticking with that for now.
I use the Gathre mats all day for her to lay and roll on instead of blankets so she can’t rub her face. They are a life saver!
We are using Pampers Pure wipes + Honest diapers right now and this combo seems to be great. Her diaper area never gets eczema or diaper rash, I consider that a win!