It's an interesting one because it is very common in babies from 0-5 and often they grow out of it by the time they're 1 or 2. The problem, of course, is telling 6 month old Reuben that he can't scratch that itch and all the other itches over his body.
His eczema has really put everything else on hold, some days it's napping, nursing, consoling, bathing and crying all day. Some days he's smiley in the morning and miserable from lunch time. Lately, his cheeks and face have been cracked, weeping sores. And pretty much every day he wears mittens, so he can rub his itches but not cut himself with his sharp little baby nails. It breaks my Montessori heart to cover his hands at such a crucial time for discovery, but his health and well being has to come first.
The biggest issue for me has been the advice and management. As it is linked to genetics and the immune system and the red, itchy skin is merely a symptom it's hard to know what advice to follow. Doctors tend to prescribe more and stronger steroid creams with each visit, but no real advice as to how to manage when/if it gets worse or better.
But I've found Dr Aron who we will start a 12 week process with which we are more than excited about. Especially after the very interesting TV program Insight last night which looked at allergies. I was shocked to hear that food based moisturiser used on eczema could potentially trigger a future allergy of that food (think goats milk, oat meal, coconut oil - we've had all of them suggested!).
It's a mind field. And I guess that's the parenting truth that you don't realise until you become a parent. Making the best decisions with the best intentions is hard when there is so much advice out there.
So a wrap up of the changes we've made to ease Reuben's eczema.
- Changed laundry liquid for the whole family to soap nuts, vinegar and lemon.
- Changed all clothes to cotton and/or bamboo and dry inside (away from pollen)
- Use water and face washers instead of baby wipes
- Bath up to 2 times per day
- Swaddle when sleeping (to prevent him scratching himself)
- Reuben wears ScratchMeNots to cover his hands
- Reuben and myself are on fish oil and probiotics from our Naturopath
- Stopped food to see if there was a trigger - slowly reintroducing in a baby-led weaning fashion
- I restrict dairy and certain fruits from my diet
- Consulted with doctors, dermatologist, paediatrician, pharmacists, naturopath and bowen therapist.
And now finally, we're onto a treatment plan with Dr Aron, fingers crossed Reuben responds well.
(I hate posting these photos, but I think it will be important to reflect on in 12 weeks time)
SBS Insight on Food Allergies: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/insight/tvepisode/fixing-allergies
Dr Aron: http://draron.com/