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Baby with eczema not sleeping - feeling desperate

(67 Posts)
PragmaticWench Tue 26-Mar-13 02:23:11

My three month old has

PragmaticWench Tue 26-Mar-13 02:32:51

Argh! My three month old has eczema and scratches constantly at her head during the night. I am feeling desperate, there seems no way out of this and no end in sight, I can't imagine ever getting any decent sleep again. Sat here for an hour after a feed trying to stop her swiping at her head and I just lost it for a few seconds and felt I could have really hurt her. I'm usually very practical and so getting to this point has been scary; how does anyone else cope with this?!

Really sorry to hear this - it is exhausting and worrying. My 8 month old has had the same - for weeks his head looked horrendous, with cuts and scratches all over. We now use scratch sleeves at night (from scratch sleeves.co.uk) and were prescribed Aveeno lotion, which has been the only thing that has soothed the itching. His head is clear of attack marks, though the eczema is not yet entirely gone.
Hope it clears up soon for both your sakes!

PragmaticWench Tue 26-Mar-13 09:04:57

Thanks, I was feeling totally desperate last night, she was just scratching and scratching so neither of us were sleeping. We have her in the scratch sleeves which do seem to stop so much of the damage, but her head still weeps. Do you find you use the Aveeno instead of things like diprobase, or as well as?

We saw a consultant paediatrician last week who basically said that she'll have eczema for life and there's not much you can do apart from moisturise the skin. I'd been hoping for more options than that so am now feeling pretty blue. I know she'd be a happier baby if she didn't itch so badly, poor little thing.

Why did he think she would have eczema for life? Our paediatrician is a little more optimistic than that - suggested he might grow out of it along with the dairy intolerance, as the two are often connected. (Have you tried cutting out dairy from your diet if you are bfing?)
DS is allergic to paraffin, so Aveeno so far is the only thing that works. He actually likes having it applied!

PragmaticWench Tue 26-Mar-13 10:01:57

The paediatrician said the eczema on her head would go but the atopic eczema on the rest of her body was for life, although it may come and go as mine has done. She also pooh-poohed the idea of allergy testing or cutting out anything in my diet which surprised me; if there's an underlying cause, wouldn't it be better to find it?? She said we'd have to wait until DD is eighteen months for that.

How did you find out your DS is allergic to paraffin, was it trial and error with creams?

I have DD in the scratch sleeves day and night, with supervised time free from them to play. I feel I'm stunting her hand co-ordination development but it's that or serious damage to her skin. sad

Yes, we has the same worry about development. Still no answer to that one!
Until 18 months??? Noooo! We are having them done on May, ds will be just shy of 10 months. Can you argue that one? And I have to say that since cutting the dairy, ds's eczema has been much better - not perfect but better. I can't believe someone would think there is no link between diet and skin! Poor you, dealing with this.
My other suggestion is vitamin E capsules pierced and the oil applied straight into skin. My mum did this with us as babies and says it helped our eczema (which I grew out of wink ).

You can also ask for a referral to a dietician through your gp and bypass the paed?

PaleHousewifeOfCumbriaCounty Tue 26-Mar-13 10:27:10

My little man was just diagnosed, the prescribed stuff is crap tbh, so im waiting on aveeno baby eczema coming. In the meantime, we are trying the oat baths. Seems to be soothing his skin much better for bed. Might be worth a try?

PragmaticWench Tue 26-Mar-13 11:37:20

That's a thought Pale, thanks, we're just using a prescribed bath oil at the moment but it does make the eczema look more red for a while. How do you do it?

Sigh, it's all such a pain, for us and definitely for DD!

Maybe I should rethink a few weeks of dairy-free for me?

eragon Tue 26-Mar-13 12:25:09

It 'may' help IF your child has a dairy allergy.

3 signs of food allergy in an breastfed infant are ezcema before 3 months,
poor sleep pattern, slow.poor growth pattern.

try a younger gp in your surgery, they might be better informed.
try asking for a refferal to a pead immunologist if one is near you.
anaphylaxis campaign may help with this.

try removing all milk from diet, it might be worth trying other mums have had experience with this and can advise you further on this, I didnt get that far with my son!

and good luck.

oh, and look in the allergy section of mumsnet!

(understand how you are feeling, have been there.)

PragmaticWench Tue 26-Mar-13 12:52:34

Thanks Eragon, it's the scratching and not settling after feeds in the night that are getting to me. Not that i'm glad other children are suffering but it's good to hear you're not alone, iyswim.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 26-Mar-13 16:40:55

Firstly, the paediatrician is talking bollocks.

There is something you can do, you can see a dermatologist who will know what they are talking about.

The moisturisers won't make the inflammation go away, you need steroid creams. They are perfectly fine to use, our DS had eczema at four months old and we were given a steroid and emollient regime, including creams for the bath by the dermatologist and his skin was different by the next day.

It's possible for it to be related to a dairy allergy so I would also see a dietician. Our DS is intolerant to cows milk protein, we had to wean dairy free etc.

We were given piriton at night to stop him scratching.

Our dermatologist said its not acceptable to have any patches of eczema, and they can grow out it, so they won't necessarily have it for life. Get referred to people that will help you.

PaleHousewifeOfCumbriaCounty Tue 26-Mar-13 17:52:43

For the oat baths i just bought a big bag of oats, whizzed them up for ages to a fine milled powder, and add a cupful to his bath. It goes kindof milky looking, and let your LO stay in for a good while.

And for having it forever, thats complete carp. My older two both had it as babies, both started around teething time, both fine now. Just one of those things, their skin is so brand new.

EvaPeron Tue 26-Mar-13 20:17:24

Have you looked at peke moe sleeping bags from new Zealand, they're supposed to be good for babies with eczema. We used one for our ds1 when he started to escape his swaddling.

nellyjelly Tue 26-Mar-13 20:24:54

Piriton at night. Ask GP for scatch suits which are stretcy leggings and tops with feet and hands in and high necks. Good for stopping the scratching and holding the cream in place.

nellyjelly Tue 26-Mar-13 20:29:06
shoutymcshoutsmum Tue 26-Mar-13 20:40:23

I really feel for you - I remember it so well. His little nails would just slice his skin on his face.. My DS may give you hope. I took him to an amazing Professor of Dermatology in London - he told me:
(1) to restrict baths as they dry out the baby's skin
(2) to moisturise at least twice a day. we used Epaderm ointment.
(3) that to get rid of the eczema, we needed to use steroids. We used 1% hydrocortisone twice a day. Then after a fixed period of time, we moved to using it once a day. We then used 0.5%. If it was to come back at all, we were told to go back a step.

At one year old, it was gone. It is only my story but it definitely true in our case.

Good luck.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 26-Mar-13 20:55:22

We saw a Professor of dermatology in London too and he told us to bath DS everyday! He gets bathed with emollients and washed with them too. I wonder if it depends on the eczema? DS was covered top to toe in it.

Best thing we did was to see him, made the difference to all our lives. I would never trust a GP to treat my child's eczema ever again. They just don't know enough about it.

nellyjelly Tue 26-Mar-13 20:56:31

Yes. Don't be scared of the steroid creams. They are strong but they work when used properly.

My DD grew out of it and DS has it but it is much improved. We got referred to an eczema clinic which was really helpful. Good luck.

narmada Tue 26-Mar-13 20:57:10

Oh what a load of nonsense about the milk allergy and 'not being able to do anything till 18 months'. angry. The paed we saw in relation to DS's feeding aversions and faltering growth said 'milk allergy' straight away. He said that in times gone past, they had seen numerous kids with eczema and various other atopic symptoms, and that he looked back now and felt really bad that it was not know then that milk was probably the cause of many of the issues.

He also said that RAST blood tests are often inaccurate unless the individual has an anaphylaxis-type allergy. I think it's called an IgE-mediated allergy? (people on allergy boards will know more). If you have an IgA allergy then it's unlikely to show up in a RAST. DS's was negative but he had a clinically significant milk allergy.

If you're going to do dairy-free, for maximum chance of success you probably need to cut out soya products to, as allergy to soya commonly goes alongside allergy to CMP. You need to be vigilant for things like whey powder, whey protein, caesin, etc - they are added ingredients in some bizarre things such as sausages, chicken products, as well as the usual suspects. Goes without saying that any other mammalian milks also need to be excluded as they are similar (goats', sheeps', buffalo mozzarella etc).

narmada Tue 26-Mar-13 20:58:18

Soya products too I mean.

curmit Tue 26-Mar-13 21:06:41

I feel your pain. DS never slept a proper deep sleep, always scratching. It drove us to the brink.

We would sometimes give piriton before bed, on advice of dermatologist at children's hospital - you can insist on referral from your GP.

You can also insist on allergy testing, but 3months may be too young anyway.

DS is a typical allergic child. Developed Asthma, hayfever and allergies along with the eczema. Dairy is his main allergy, so don't rule out the possibility, but don't fixate on it at this young age, try and get referred for her eczema first and foremost. Just go to gp, insist on referral, they can't refuse you.

We moisturised at every nappy change, and although it didn't stop the infernal itch, the quality if his skin was nothing like some eczema skin. He is 6 now and still has it, but it is going, and what he does have is completely bearable compared to what it used to be.

My heart goes out to you - I remember standing over his cot willing him to stop scratching. We have probably uttered the words 'stop scratching' a billion times in the last 6 years!

Next do sleepsuits with fold-over cuffs up to about 9 months I think. They were really good.

Good luck x

PragmaticWench Tue 26-Mar-13 21:08:00

At the moment we are using hydrocortisone twice a day, emollients 8-10 times a day from head to toe, a bath oil in a daily bath and scratch sleeves, although she still wears the skin off her head wearing these. I've bought some Aveeno skin relief and am patch testing it on DD's leg to check she doesn't react to it. I've used the oats in the bath tonight so will keep doing that too.

It's really great to have all this advice, I can see that the paediatrician we saw may not have had the right info and I've got more research to do. Right now though, the thought of another night sat up trying to stop her scratching is making me feel shattered. She seems to scratch like crazy after the middle of the night feed, no idea why. Ho hum.

PragmaticWench Tue 26-Mar-13 21:11:40

Thanks Curmit, it's that exactly, we've both been on the brink of breaking many times. DH just can't cope with trying to stop her frantically scratching.

We were using an antihistamine twice a day, orally, but the paediatrician said to stop and that it wasn't worth it. I don't know if that is true or not, it's just so confusing.

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