Baby Eczema

Avery was born with sensitive skin. She was one of the 40% of babies to get baby acne, and at one point it looked so sore all over her face, neck, chest and arms that we took her to the doctor who said she would simply outgrow it. She did, by about 8 weeks.

She also has chronic diaper rash, since birth. I wondered if her poop was extra acidic because it looked almost like an acid burn and was very concentrated to one high-poop-volume spot. On days she doesn’t poop, it seems to clear up. It took us 3 months to come up with a solution that worked (we tried different diapers, creams, and anti-fungals). We do plenty of diaper free time letting her dry out completely between diaper changes, and we use cloth diapers, a fleece liner, and zincofax cream, and she now has a good number of redness-free days on her little bum. Still prone to rashes though if we’re not careful.

Our newest skin problem is eczema. Again, it became so enflamed and itchy, covering about 50% of her body, that I called telehealth for advice. They gave me valuable tips and also recommend I take her to the doctor immediately. Here is what we’re doing for her eczema, but it doesn’t seem to be helping.

  1. Daily oatmeal baths (with real oatmeal in a cheese cloth satchel) and moisturizing while she’s still wet to lock in the moisture. We pat her dry, no rubbing her skin with the towel.
  2. Slathering of hypoallergenic moisturizer (Cetaphil) at every diaper change all over her head and body
  3. Hydrocortisone cream (a 1% steroid solution) for the really bad flare ups that seem to be keeping her awake or aggravated. This has a 7-day in a row limit for use though, so I just use it as sparingly as possible.
  4. I cut out dairy (again). It has only been a week and a half and the dairy allergens won’t leave my body completely until 2 weeks, so time will tell. So far I would say her eczema has gotten WORSE since cutting out dairy, but maybe it’s a ‘gets worse before it gets better’ kind of deal. The doctor reluctantly said this is a possible cause of the eczema, but not likely. Definitely worth giving it a real try though.
  5. Keep a cool mist humidifier running constantly in the rooms she spends the most time in. Unfortunately I’m sure the space heater and furnace evaporate the mist as soon as it hits the air, but it’s damn cold here and we don’t have much choice.

These are all doctor and nurse recommended remedies, but there’s still no reprieve.

Has anyone else found treatments/remedies/skin-soothing things that worked for baby eczema?

Osteopathy for babies?

Avery is a perfectly healthy baby with no physical problems besides sensitive skin and a history of colic. She has 10 perfect little fingers and 10 perfect little toes, bright eyes and a happy smile, and she is growing like a weed. But there is something in the back of my mind making me worry, and making me consider getting some kind of alternative physical therapy done on her.

She has always been a great breastfeeder. She latched from her first moment of life outside the womb, and has always had productive feeds. However, in the past 6 weeks or so I’ve noticed that she seems to prefer side lying nursing to the typical cradle hold. In fact she hates it when anyone tries to hold her in cradle hold. When I hold her up to nurse she either cries and squirms away (even though I know she’s hungry), or she has very short feeds (we’re talking 4 or 5 minutes short). When she is lying on the bed to nurse she can go for an hour without moving during evening cluster feeds.

Also, since birth we have noticed cracking and grinding in her shoulders, sometimes loud enough to hear, sometimes we just feel it. I asked her doctor about it at the 2 month appointment and the doctor said that since she couldn’t replicate it, and since shoulder displasia wasn’t a thing, there was nothing to worry about.

So I’m not TOO worried, but I want peace of mind that she is as comfortable as possible as she grows. Many, many friends have told me about chiropractic work or osteopathy for babies, as up front as “have you booked her for her chiropractic assessment yet?” Just days after her birth. I know nothing about either practice besides what I’ve googled as I try to figure out if this is something I want to pursue, but I am a little cautious about someone twisting and turning my baby’s mushy little body.

Currently I am between going on a 2 month long wait list for a well rated local osteopath, or going in much sooner for craniosacral therapy. I’m still not sure if this is something we will pursue at all, but if anyone has any experience with either of these therapies on their babies, I’d love to hear.

Colic and being kind to myself

I finally Googled what colic was and it explained so much about what we are going through. The operational definition is crying for more than 3 hours on more than 3 days a week for at least 3 weeks. It is worse in the evening. That’s my baby.

So what does it mean to fit into a somewhat arbitrary behavioural definition, as opposed to just having a baby who cries? It gives me something to blame besides myself.

My family has been unintentionally but effectively blaming me for Avery’s seeming lack of happiness. Here are some of the ways: (just a reminder, Avery is still a newborn at 2 months & 2 weeks old)

  • She can feel your social anxiety and it’s rubbing off onto her.
  • You just need to get out more and expose her to more. She’s too sheltered.
  • You need to put her down more – she is getting spoiled so she can’t be soothed without you holding her.
  • Have you eaten any dairy/chocolate/carbs/cruciferous veg today? Maybe your milk is making her stomach hurt.
  • She’s ready for an earlier bedtime.

I’m reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby, and it summarizes what we know about extreme fussiness/colic:

  • It is likely hormonal (an imbalance of serotonin and melatonin that will correct itself with age)
  • Gas does not cause colic, but the crying of a colicky baby may cause gas
  • Food hypersensitivity and reflux are not linked to colic
  • Maternal anxiety is not linked to colic
  • Even if your baby doesn’t cry for 3 or more hours every evening for more than 3 days a week, but fusses and needs parental intervention to stop or avoid such crying, they are still considered to have colic. (So on those good nights when I can nurse her in bed for hours to stop or avoid the crying, that behavior is still colic)

Last night was a particularly bad night, which is why I started googling when she finally fell asleep after 5 hours of crying  (plus the couple of hours of crying around yoga that morning, and the couple of hours of crying in the afternoon while my mom was visiting and giving me all kinds of unsolicited advice on what the baby needed to stop crying).

We have been trying to practice having my wife take over bedtime routine so I can go to my evening meeting next week. My wife tries to give her a bottle and Avery screams. My wife tries to rock her like I do, Avery screams. My wife tries to change her diaper and put her in pajamas, Avery screams. Blood curdling screams, choking from the exertion, tears in her eyes, eyes all swollen and red from crying. There’s me, sitting downstairs trying to keep away, tears streaming down my face because my baby is crying like she thinks I abandoned her, and after a while I break and run upstairs and take her and the crying stops and she sounds comforted. Of course, it doesn’t last. She starts up again shortly after I have taken her. But I feel better knowing I am doing all I can do comfort her. She cries in a less panicked way when I am holding her. It’s the fourth trimester. Babies need close physical comfort from the person(s) who comforts them most regularly. My wife is rarely home, so she doesn’t have that same comforting smell. It sucks for so many reasons, but there’s nothing we can do about it. I need to stop feeling bad about needing to be there for my baby when she cries. I need to stop feeling like I have somehow caused her upset.

I am crafting an email to my board of directors that explains my situation and tells them that I will still be absent at this month’s meeting. As a group of childless young people I don’t know if they will understand, but I can’t leave the house for 3 hours knowing that my baby will likely be crying so intensely and my wife will be helpless. I need to do what I need to do, and that doesn’t make me a failure.

Baby’s first vaccines & Out of the house diaper changing disaster

It’s true, what I’ve heard, that baby’s vaccines are worse for the parent than for the baby. The nurse administering them warned me that the last one really stings and that even adults find it painful. I know why she told me that – to warn me that Avery was going to really scream. But I would rather have just been warned that babies tend to cry a lot when they get vaccines than to be told she was really in pain. She did scream and it was horrible. But my little bug was super brave and calmed right down when I was allowed to pick her up. I asked if I could have a room to nurse her, but she was too stunned to nurse. She looked like a deer in headlights the whole way home. At home I rushed her up to bed where we could do skin-to-skin, and she nursed happily and fell asleep. I needed the cuddle more than she did… She seems to be having the sleepy reaction to the vaccines, which is better than the grumpy reaction. But we’ll see how the night progresses.

On another note, restrooms really need to be more mom & baby friendly. I can’t believe it is 2016 and we are still waiting for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act to become law. I was at a pub for lunch with my wife’s aunts and had to change her diaper (and feed her and walk around with her all while my burger and fries got cold on the plate). –The trip did NOT go smoothly, by the way, and was full of baby’s and my tears in the car. Anyway, I had to change her diaper and the only place to do it was on the filthy floor of a tiny, grubby restroom at the bottom of a steep flight of stairs. ON THE FLOOR. Her head was inches away from the toilet. I asked if there was another place, like an office, and they literally thought the bathroom floor was the best place for my baby. We had to walk 15 minutes from our parking space to the pub so I couldn’t even go to the car to change her. Thank god I had a change pad in my diaper bag, but it didn’t make the situation acceptable. I am appalled to discover just how baby/kid unfriendly the service industry is. It really makes me more aware of how challenging the world can be for people with mobility challenges, because it seems to me that when a place isn’t baby friendly it’s also not generally accessible.