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Severe scratching to the head by 4 my month old

5 replies

EmmaPeel · 15/05/2004 14:51

Please help !
My 4 month old boy has got into the habit of scratching himself. He has done this from birth, but the older and stronger he gets, the more damage he is doing to himself ! His poor little head is covered in cuts and scrapes.
95% of the time he is a very happy and content little boy who is always smiling and gigling and who is such a good sleeper (usually 7pm through to 7am) but the other 5% of the time he is in such distress.
The scrathing is mainly on his head, although he will gladly have a go at his legs or tummy if he can get to them.
He does have dry skin on his head, and a little excema on his ankle, but nothing that would indicate such vigorous scratching.
We have tried all manner of lotions and potions (E45, olive oil, diprobase, oilatum in the bath, craddlecap shampoo, calendula etc..) and we no longer use fabric conditioner when washing clothes, and of course keep his nails trimmed everyday.
During the day we have tried putting mitts on his hands but he learned very quickly how to get these off and so we now use long socks which go over his hands and up to the elbow. At night we have had to result to tying his hands with ribbon to the side of his grow-bag. I know this seems a little extreme but without the cuffs in the past we have rushed into his room at the sound of his crying only to find blood all over the sheets.
It is so distressing for us, we have to watch him ALL the time in case he has a quick go, and he seems to be getting worse not better the older he gets.
Any advice from someone who has been through this before would be grately appreciated...

OP posts:
Sushicat · 19/05/2004 13:42


Our little boy was very much the same. Long socks on his hands were the only answer we found, though I think some of the ezcema companies sell clothes with integrated mitts.

We use doublebase emollient cream and it's v good and I've just started using calomine lotion but am not confident with it yet.

Keeping ds covered up (esp ankles, legs and arms) even in the height of summer has been the only way to keep him from itching - and keeping him as cool as possible. It's amazing the damage they can do in such a short space of time, isn't it.

It does get better - certainly ds is 14 months now and we only have spates rather than fulltime scratching and the mitts aren't permanently on him. Distracting him helps too.

Hope that helps - good luck.


hovely · 19/05/2004 22:13

hi EmmaPeel
I just posted on the Behaviour thread about exactly this subject, before I saw your message. I don't know what to do. My ds is also 4.5 months, and his head is in a terrible state, but he doesn't try to scratch anywhere else. Does your ds do it when he is trying to get to sleep? That's what makes me wonder if it is a habit rather than scratching an itch. My HV suggested possible allergy to preservatives in creams, and to look for the common ingredient, but like you I have tried a range including some with no preservatives in them. I just saw the other thread about sunscreens and will look up Proderm as recommended on there. Have you tried putting a hat on him? If I can find a lightweight cotton hat that would stay on I might try it, but it's not ideal when the nights are so warm. If I come up with anything else I'll get back to you.

wiltshire · 20/05/2004 16:48

If you have a Matalan near you, they sell packs of white babygros with pockets at the end of the arms. My DS did this and looked like I had scraped him along a wall at some point. Then I found these babygros and no more scratching. I think that the long nightie type ones from mothercare have them as well. It's a sort of pull over mit thing. Good luck. My ds grew out of this about a month ago. He is 8 mths now.

wiltshire · 20/05/2004 16:52

Forgot to add I tried all of the things mentioned to get rid of it. In the end I stopped bathing him with anything just washed his hair in plain water and let him soak in just water. This seemed to help. I only started to use a tiny bit of baby soap last week, but still not on his head.

EmmaPeel · 20/05/2004 19:48

Thanks again to you all for suggestions and also to you Hovely - just nice to know that there are others!! we have thought about the hat and maybe cutting the top out of it to let out some heat - he is a very very hot baby anyway. We did wonder if it was more habit than itch as he seems to like to scratch anything, your hand, trousers etc. Going to sleep has been fine although he has got a little excema on his ankles so his little legs do go ten to the dozen if he does not fall asleep on the bottle. the only other times is when he is a little stressed, wind, hungry,hot etc. We are trying a homeopathic remedy at the mo so fingers crossed this helps. The homeopath thinks that because we had to have UV treatment for jaundice at 36 hrs old, plus antibiotics at such a young age this may not have helped. We are also trying no baths just top and tailing.

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