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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

Baby with eczema not sleeping - feeling desperate

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

My three month old has

curmit Tue 26-Mar-13 21:25:21

So sorry you are going through this - It is torture wanting them to stop scratching. You are doing everything right as far as moisturising etc is concerned.
DH just reminded me to tell you about trying different moisturisers too - gp always prescribes the cheapest ones first it seems. we went through trying loads, and loads of them seemed to actually irritate!

The one that worked for us in the end was cetraben. Aqueous cream is a definite no-no - it made DS's skin weep, and I later read that it has the same stripping effect as soap.

Oilatum in the bath, and we used to cake him emollient before the bath - god knows how blocked out drains are! smile

We used to worry about the antihistamine, and hardly used it, but I am quite reassured now that it has no damaging effects, and sometimes when his eczema was pretty bad i would give it to him and it would give him some relief.

In his lifetime he has had LOTS of it because he got bad hayfever when he was a toddler, and he has had many allergic reactions - mild, moderate and severe, and it has literally been a lifesaver. Have had to speak to docs many many times about piriton and am completely reassured that it is safe to give so don't worry on that score.

The advice we were given re giving antihistamine for the eczema was to try to stop the 'itch scratch cycle' (the more they itch the more they scratch, never ending battle). So if you give it every night for one week, you might give her some relief, stop her scratching so much, break the cycle and improve her skin a bit. Giving it here and there might not give an noticeable improvement.

Hope this helps x

curmit Tue 26-Mar-13 21:27:35

soz for typos!

narmada Tue 26-Mar-13 21:38:34

I really feel for you. It must be so infuriating for everyone concerned sad

I know nothing of eczema because DS didn't suffer with this, but his little friend does and it clearly sucks, to put it mildly.

I am sure DS's friend has been using piriton from a very young age, I cannot imagine why the paed said it wasn't worth it - what's its side-effect profile like? I know I would have lost the will to live without giving DS regulat piriton during his current outbreak of chickenpox, it really does reduce the itching.

But then I am not a doc, better make that clear.

I know lots of people of allergic children have paid to see private specialist paeds, and have felt this money well spent. This mightn't be an option (wasn't really for us) but if it is, possibly worth a shot to circumvent the NHS referral thing. Grr, though, you shouldn't have to battle for treatment. Imagine if GP saw an adult scratching him/ herself raw every night. I doubt they'd just send them away with a tub of emollient or maybe they would and I am severely deluded . I think there is sometimes an attitude that 'common children's illnesses' should just be seen out, which I find pretty repugnant.

DunderMifflin Tue 26-Mar-13 21:46:26

Piriton is great - also definitely go and see a dermatologist. Our GP was sympathetic but couldn't suggest much - we then went to see a specialist and the difference was almost instant.

I really feel for all of you so hope you can get something that makes a positive difference soon.

salvadory Tue 26-Mar-13 21:47:02

Oh you're not alone, I remember the despair with my now 14 month old.
We eventually were prescribed eumovate, a strong steroid which cleared her skin, we then used (and still do use) balneum emollient which is anti itch (we used cetraben also to good effect but personally found the balneum more effective).
Her skin is so much better than it was at 4 months but she still needs a good moisturising every morning and evening and when she flares we can manage it with 1% hydrocortisone.
However if it hasn't have been for the eumovate use I don't feel we ever would have got it under (semi) control.
Also use balneum bathoil every bath (she's bathed every other day).
Have you also got your GP/eczema nurse to prescribe the eczema clothing for bed, they're like tubifast leggings and long sleeved vests, there are also little tubifast gloves which we taped with surgical tape loosely round her wrists to stop her scratching breaking skin (although before that we also used the next babygros with built in mitts).
Good luck, you will get it under control (even if it doesn't feel like it now)- hit it hard with steroid then keep on top of it with emollient, however not to burst the bubble, mine is still a rotten sleeper (sob!).

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 26-Mar-13 21:55:02

You are fine to give the anti histamine.

Please ignore your paediatrician (I'm saying this as a paeds nurse as well as a mum) and get a dermatology referral.

If you live in London I can recommend one.

Roseformeplease Tue 26-Mar-13 22:00:05

Bicarbonate of Soda in the bath gives welcome relief from itching (I speak from personal experience). Also, Sedbergh Soap Company sells bulk orders of Dead Sea salts which can help a lot. My grandfather (now dead) was a children's allergy specialist and he was fairly scathing of the rest of the medical establishment and how little they knew about eczema. Also, try the Eczema Society for further support.

Wolfiefan Tue 26-Mar-13 22:05:49

Aqueous cream is a SOAP!!!!

You need to find the right emollient. I use diprobase, mother doublebase and kids Dermol (has an ingredient in it to kill the itch.) Emollient to the max but do use steroid creams as prescribed to get flare ups under control. Nails short. Watch overheating. Not too much bathing. Take advice on applying steroid cream after emollient has soaked in. Don't apply more emollient right away.

FWIW I had awful eczema as a child and grew out of it.

PenPerson Tue 26-Mar-13 22:10:53

We were in your position a few years ago I really feel for you.

We saw an allergy specialist paediatrician who blood tested for allergies straight away as eczema is always caused by an allergy.

He gave us strong antihistamines to help her sleep as he said growth hormones are secreted in sleep and if it is disturbed long term it can affect their growth and development. I cried with relief we were being taken seriously ( dd was 9 months by the time we saw him )

The antihistamines did not make her sleep all night but was a vast improvement and when we got the allergy results and cut out the allergen ( egg and dust mites ) her skin improved 90%.

It makes me so cross when people are fobbed off with 'just eczema ' and putting cream on is treatment of the symptom not addressing the cause.

My dd still gets eczema at aged 9 but it is manageable now and goes away in the the summer ( dust mite allergy) .

Please find an allergy specialist paed and get referred to them for testing. We found ours by accident ( dd was seeing the paed about something unrelated and he said his colleague is allergy specialist etc etc ) and when we asked GP for a referral we were told ' oh they won't test a baby for allergies for just eczema ' but they did.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 26-Mar-13 22:24:11

Yes aqueous is a soap, we wash DS with it as per the dermatologist.

PenPerson Tue 26-Mar-13 22:24:52

We were given vallergan and other antihistamines.

Where abouts are you ? Someone may be able to recommend a paed.

My dd's egg allergy had all but gone by age 5 but she is still dust mite allergic.

curmit Tue 26-Mar-13 22:44:53

one of the first things we were given by GP to moisturise was aqueous cream and he was 4 months old. his skin was literally weeping.

PaleHousewifeOfCumbriaCounty Wed 27-Mar-13 22:10:19

Aveeno baby eczema therapy is expensive but wonderful!

BoffinMum Wed 27-Mar-13 22:17:39

The top guy to see is David Atherton who was at GOSH when we saw him. He pretty much got rid of DD's eczema, which was terrible.

BoffinMum Wed 27-Mar-13 22:20:02

We had to restrict baths as well, and also have a regime where we had hydrocortisone in sterile vaseline (had to be specially made up by the pharmacist). This had to be slathered on, and then a hot wet tubigrip went on, followed by a dry one. We then dosed her with Piriton and put her to bed like that.

PenPerson Wed 27-Mar-13 22:38:55

We did not bathe our dd very often either as we were told it would make her skin worse.

EggBasket Wed 27-Mar-13 22:43:45

Echo what others have said. Your paed is talking bollocks. Though eczema is not in itself caused by food allergies, they are very much related and each can exacerbate the other. At the very least it's worth getting a referral to a paediatric allergy specialist (DS1 goes to Addenbrooke's, a world-renowned dept) - assuming LO is fully breastfed then first thing to try would be an exclusion diet for you. This should only be done under the supervision of a dietician and must be very strict for at least three weeks.

However - if exclusion diet doesn't help, that does not mean there are no allergies present. It's not easy to diagnose allergies and may be a long process. When DS1 was 4mo and BF I was advised to cut out egg, soya and dairy - made no difference. Once we started weaning him, he reacted to cows' milk and egg but when he had blood testing at 10mo, dairy came back negative - and in fact by 2yo he could tolerate dairy. His egg allergy persisted and has been joined by more over the years - we are still discovering things he's allergic to (sesame at 4yo, pollen and peanuts at 5yo) and I doubt if we've found all his allergies yet! His eczema is however almost completely gone, so there's hope on that front!

BoffinMum Thu 28-Mar-13 19:46:25

DD is allergic to wheat and dairy, which were the things that set her eczema off. Allergy clinic a good idea.

Mika1 Sat 30-Mar-13 20:42:40


I was in the same situation with my little one scratching through the night so that we had to swaddle him up to 7 months. Scratch mittens and emollients did not work for us and the cortisone cream was only temporary relief. I have been waiting since January to be referred to a Pediatrician and was to my wits end trying different creams and lotions. Everything I used seemed to make my boys face even dryer and more cracked. Someone recommended to get Dermasilk ( which is a clothing range made of medicated silk which is available on prescription so you could approach your GP about it. I got the facial mask and body suit which relieved my little one from the constant itch he had. He now sleeps without the swaddle bag and scratch mittens and has become a happy baby.

As I am still breast feeding I have cut out on dairy and wheat. I wish I would have known about this great alternative months ago, therefore I am happy to share my discovery.

HelloBear Tue 02-Apr-13 03:23:22

Quick one as late!

But just wanted to say you are not alone, we are going through this currently and it is heart breaking but also infuriating. I just believe that my DS would be so much happier and settled with no fucking scratching!!!! Scuse the French

I am currently sat with him on my lap, swaddled and he is constantly itching his face and neck by shaking his head from side to side, it's been non stop now for 30 mins. He has slept the grand total of 1 hour since 10 (it's now3amish) and I am exhausted. He has to be in scratch sleeves 24-7 and when I give him 'play' time he inevitably ends up bleeding from scratching.

He is 5mo and has had excema since 4wo. He has not slept longer than 4hours once. His back of his neck is red rore and won't heal.

We see the consultant dermitologist for the 1st time on Weds and I'm praying for a miracle cure, I suspect know I'm going to be disappointed.

I know people above have said go dairy free...a word of warning it is HARD (I'm a vegie so it would mean being vegan). I tried and failed.

Sorry I realise this is not helpful to you and I have just ranted about my situation. But I guess I found it useful to read about your frustration and I don't feel so guilty for just wanting to scream 'STOP ITCHING!!!'

Poor babies sad

HelloBear Tue 02-Apr-13 03:29:26

Oh and also I give him prititon when bad as he has very obvious ''flare ups' like a reaction. Also supposedly makes him drowsy...I've yet to notice that side effect (am I a very bad mummy for hoping that it will make him drowsy enough that I can get some sleep?).

PragmaticWench Wed 08-May-13 15:41:53

Just seen your post HelloBear, I can totally understand where you're coming from. How did your appointment go with the consultant dermatologist? Was better than you hoped?

We were referred to GOSH and had a first appointment last week, hurrah! They were so kind and gentle with DD and gave us a new regime of creams to use (have put details below for anyone who may be interested), plus antihistamine to use at night. DD is still itchy but her skin is less red so I'm hoping it will improve more gradually. She's not sleeping much but it's slightly better than before - think fewer feeds but it's still taking about an hour to get her back to sleep after each one.

As for allergy testing, the consultant seemed positive and said we'd discuss that and weaning at the next appointment, next week.

Regime is;

Two lukewarm baths a day with dermol 600 bath oil and using aqueous cream as a soap. Must wash the aqueous cream off thoroughly.

Immediately after the bath use diprobase, then steroids after half an hour. Hydrocortisone 1% for her body and daktacort for her head.

About 3 or 4 hours later, apply doublebase all over. Repeat frequently until the next bath.

Antihistamine at night. Think it is Ucerax (hydroxyzine)?

thepestinthevest Thu 09-May-13 22:03:11

Firstly OP you have my sympathies. I know how heartbreaking and frustrating it is seeing them scratch and being so irritable with it. DS would end up looking lie he'd been in a fight with Wolverine. I tried all the various lotions and potions to no avail. Consultant at hospital said olive oil, which did work well (we used to slap it on and leave him in a babygro so he couldn't get at the skin as much) and prescribed piriton medicine, which did work and gave him some much needed sleep.

Also in your later post you mention Ucerax. I didn't know it could be prescribed for kiddlybops, but it was prescribed to me when I had Polymorphic Eruption in Pregnancy and it was fantastic at stopping itching and helping sleep. Sorry don't know why I felt the need to share that biscuit

PragmaticWench Fri 10-May-13 14:14:29

No, that's helpful to know as I can't ask DD, so thank you!

We've just had swab results back and DD has been prescribed two antibiotics for a strep and a staph infection. How on earth I'll juggle them at three and four doses a day I don't know, on top of everything else. Feeling swamped but also that I need to stop being so negative, lots of people manage much tougher things for their children.

runningforme Fri 10-May-13 21:59:49

Your poor DD! the oat baths that a poster further up mentioned will help to soothe the skin. Another thing I would recommend is pure, unrefined coconut oil rubbed into the damp skin. It can be added to food too (by cooking in it or drizzling a little over food or in soups/smoothies) to help from the inside. This worked brilliantly for my nephew in soothing and helping to heal the patches. He had them all over his body and face as a baby. He also responded well to the sunshine - the family went on holiday to Egypt and he came back clear as anything! Of course, going on holiday in the sun isn't necessarily an option for all. I hope the new regime works and you both get some relief

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