Today I want to go over with you everything I haven’t mentioned that helped with our little girls eczema. This is fairly wide ranging, and so I hope it doesn’t end up being daunting. Ava was sensitive to a lot of things, and your child may not be susceptible to all of these things. These are really just to give you suggestions of things you could try if you’ve run out of ideas. Please don’t feel you have to do all of them, and certainly don’t try them all at once, as you’ll end up feeling totally overwhelmed!
So here goes…
1. SOAPBear in mind that whatever you wash your hands with, will transfer to your baby when you touch them, so make sure you wash your hands after doing the washing up, and use a gentle soap. I do not believe in these antibacterial soaps. They are so strong they strip all the good bacteria from your skin. And it’s really not necessary to be that clean, even with a baby around. I really believe that our kids will have stronger immune systems if they are allowed to come into contact with the odd germ now and again. Now there are some schools of thought that ‘real’ soap is the best thing for eczema. By real, I mean castille. Castille soap is detergent free, and made the traditional way. They first came up with detergents when, during the war, the lads on the submarines were having to wash with cold water and the soap was leaving scum everywhere. It might surprise you to know that virtually all soaps available to buy in shops contain detergents. Some people are sensitive to detergents, hence why often people suggest real soap for those with sensitive skin. However, this is a bad idea if you live in a hard water area as you will end up with soap residue remaining on your skin and causing further irritation. And even if you don’t, soap can cause it’s own allergic reactions, just like detergents. Not saying they’re a bad idea, but they don’t suit us. We use Rhassoul clay as a soap substitute. I make a mix of 1 part clay, and 2 parts boiled water, leave it so soak, and pop it in a soap pump. We find it suit our skin. Alternatively you could try a ‘natural’ liquid soap. I use the term natural loosely as it’s not really natural, but the detergents in them might be made from something a bit closer to nature, and they tend to be a bit more sensitive. I have also used raw honey, which is naturally antibacterial, but won’t strip the good bacteria. But it can be a little sticky, and although I do love it, hubby can’t get his head around it, bless him! I’ve also used soapwort tea, and I like this too, but it’s very runny… A bit like, well, tea!
Just like with your soap, whatever you wash your hair in, baby will come into contact with. Changing from detergent shampoo gave amazing results overnight. Goodness knows what they put in those bottles! Going ‘no poo’ was initially a disaster for me. I walked around like a greasy mess hoping and praying that eventually my scalp would regulate it’s oils. It didn’t! I will probably be writing a whole post on going no poo, so I won’t go into it in great depth here as there is just too much to say. But consider alternatives to off the shelf shampoo. Oh, I can’t leave you with nothing, try Rhassoul clay for a start, and come back when I’ve written my no poo post!
3. BEWARE OF ECZEMA CREAMS
My doctor tried to get me to use every cream available on Ava before the health visitor finally agreed that actually my homemade stuff was working far better. Ava reacted to a lot of the prescribed eczema creams. Her skin was happiest when slathered with unrefined sunflower oil. I find unrefined Shea butter great too. If it really is unrefined it should be thick, almost hard, and cream not white. What oil you use is up to you and is down to what suits your baby’s skin. If you want to thicken it up try melting some cocoa butter or shea butter in with the oil. Or some beeswax. My only advice here is try one item at a time, and keep your cream basic. 2 or 3 ingredients at the most. Make sure your oil is unrefined and unfiltered, and cold pressed. Organic is even better if you can afford it. Expensive organic eczema creams are not worth the money in my experience, as oil works equally well and is tons cheaper. And since you’re going to be using it by the bucket load, you don’t want to be scrimping on applications due to cost. You need to apply whatever moisturiser you are using on dry areas at least 4 times a day.
4. BABY WIPESI tried natural ones, sensitive ones, eco ones, making my own with a variety of ingredients. What I found best was just dry wipes run under the cold tap and rung out so they were damp. You can buy re-useable ones online, amazon have some good deals, but my personal fave was the Pampers cotton soft sheets. Basically just baby wipes without the chemicals. I know washable wipes are better for the environment, but you have enough to contend with, so don’t feel bad about using disposables. You’re not wonder woman!
5. SURFACE SPRAY
This is important when you get to the weaning stage, as your baby will be dribbling a lot and making the table or highchair tray wet, which makes the spray transfer onto their arms. Took me ages to figure out this was why Ava’s arms were red up to her elbows (I used to roll her sleeves up to her elbows). I now use a homemade spray, which is just a tablespoon of natural Borax, mixed with 2 cups of boiled water. But you could use Bicarbonate of Soda, or Citric Acid instead. Once it’s cooled, pop it in your old washed out spray bottle and you’re set. This works great to clean the bathroom too by the way. No need for all these expensive cleaning sprays. Get those nasty chemicals out of your home and you’ll all benefit!
This might seem odd, but if your little one is anything like Ava was, then they’ll love sticking their fingers in your mouth! Used to drive me mad!!! But it also led me to wonder if this was having anything to do with her fingers being so raw. Toothpastes are filled with nasty detergents, SLS, and poisonous flouride. I don’t really want that in my mouth any more than I want it on my baby’s fingers. Some great alternatives I’ve found are Earthpaste (made from clay), raw honey is fantastic for your teeth and actively fights gum disease, and a dab of honey daily on a cavity can heal it up (it must be raw though). I know a lot of people use bicarb and salt, but I can’t abide the taste, or be bothered with mixing it up each morning. You can also use coconut oil, which is highly antibacterial and naturally healing. But I don’t like the taste of coconut so that rules that one out for me. My personal favourite is an ionic toothbrush (I use Soladey) which acts like a magnet to plaque when wet, followed by natural floss, and honey mouthwash (just swill honey round your mouth until it mixes with your saliva). My teeth have never felt so clean, no more morning breath or fuzzy mouth feeling!
7. DON’T BATH MORE THAN ONCE A WEEK
We’re obsessed with washing these days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ok with being stinky, that’s just not nice. But babies don’t sweat like adults. They don’t need bathing every day. Just a wipe of their face and hands, and any cute folds of skin where milk might be hiding is enough for each day. A weekly bath used to be the tradition. Now many people bath their kids daily. Not only will it dry your babies skin, but it’s mega bad for the environment too. With Ava, the more dry we kept her, the better her skin behaved. With one exception…
8. GO SWIMMINGWe found this out by accident, but it turns out chlorine could just be the cure you’ve been looking for. We put off swimming with Ava for ages as my husband worried the chlorine in the water might aggravate her skin (he worries about a lot of things). But then we went on holiday to a Center Parks type place, and as it was rainy, there wasn’t much else to do but swim. After the first swim, she came out looking like a different baby. Almost all the angry redness had gone. After the second swim that afternoon she was perfect! I looked into this when we got home and found that an expert dermatologist had done some research on the subject, and apparently the chlorine kills the germs on the skin, allowing it to heal. Now the advice is no more than 15 minutes at a time as after that it could have a drying effect. But we were in the pool for hours with no detrimental effects. The eczema did come back once we got home, so maybe a trip to the pool every couple of weeks might have been a good idea!
9. PRAYAbove all else, trust in God to heal your child. Take every available opportunity for prayer, and accept every offer. I know it is hard, when the first, second, third and fourth healing prayers have shown no visible results. But that fifth one might just be the one that ends this struggle. I prayed for Ava day and night, for 18 months. And then one prayer was said that changed everything, overnight. It really does happen, believe me. Hold on, believe. Trust just that little bit more. Step out in faith once again. And believe. He is your Lord, your Saviour, your protector, your friend. And He sees your pain. He feels it too. And He feels the pain of your little one. He doesn’t want them to live like this, He doesn’t want you to live like this, and He is on your side. Both of your sides. Just believe a little bit longer. Your almost there.
This is the last part of these posts. I hope it is of help. I hope it helps you! If you want prayer for your little one, I am offering. Just put your name, and the name of your baby in the comments, and I promise you I will pray for you. And if you’re not comfortable putting your name, God knows who you are and I trust Him to lighten your load as you read this. May these words bring healing to the families of those who read them, and the hearts of all who are burdened.
Blessings and love, K x