Keeping your baby’s fingers busy would likely be a big thing for you, as it is for me. Your baby may have already formed the habit of scratching, such as Marcie has. Marcie started scratching intensely from 3 months old and now scratches our hands, her legs or anything that is close to her. Our little relief from scratching came when she’s 8 months old, when she started to explore the world around her. I’m sure you would have your own ways to keep your baby’s fingers occupied, but here’s mine!
1. Let your baby play with cold teether
Teething ring filled with water that can be placed in the fridge worked wonders for Marcie from about 5-7 months old. Besides the obvious use for biting, Marcie loves holding cold stuff. Now, at 15 months when she’s scratching say in a cafe, I’d buy a small bottled cold drink for her to hold. That can buy me enough time to feed her and myself.
2. Never mind that the magazine or tissue is torn
Babies somehow love to tear tissue paper, magazines and pamphlets. Marcie has not only torn them but also eaten quite a fair bit of her books. To date, Marcie has eaten rubber ball, phone leather straps, paper and plastic film! As much as I don’t like her biting inedible stuff, I figured that it beats scratching her scalp out.
3. Have her hammer some balls!
Hammering toys are a hit for babies of about 12 months. Your baby can learn to grip the hammer, practice her hand eye co-ordination to hit the balls, get a kick watching the balls roll down and probably end up biting the balls or the hammer! Main point is it keeps your baby occupied and her fingers active.
4. Never leave the home without finger food
One item that I definitely have to bring out is biscuits. Teething rusks that your baby can hold and eat on her own will occupy her hands. Marcie’s favorite is banana flavored teething rusks, followed by small star shaped puffs and baby rice rusks. I never leave home without them.
5. Catch the Wind in the stroller
If your baby has a tendency to scratch her head in the stroller, letting her play with the stroller fan is a good idea. Marcie has destroyed one fan by pulling out and tearing the wings but I’m fine as long as she’s not scratching her head. Do peep into the stroller every now and then as you never know when your baby will wake up and start scratching.
6. Or Read a Buggy Book
Your baby may like flipping the book and Marcie particularly likes this peek-a-boo book as there are felt flaps to flip up to reveal hidden kids. Of course, she chews the book too!
7. Offer a Juice Cup but Watch out for the straw chewer
Baby loves juice and Marcie likes it cold best. I offer about 120ml to her daily and juice is another item I never leave home without. Once she has finished her juice, ate enough of finger food, I will offer her water bottle. Sometimes, I let her play with straws but watch out that your baby doesn’t chew and swallow the plastic straw of the juice cup (which Marcie did and ate the straw up too, I suppose it feels like jelly beans?)
8. Move and Groove and Play
Trust me. It gets easier when your baby is able to crawl and walk. Having more things to do such as crawling after a toy, kicking a ball will definitely take your baby’s mind off the scratching.
9. Hit the TV
This one is not an ideal thing to do but will certainly give you some time to work in the kitchen while your baby watches the TV and hit on the ‘items’ she wants to catch from the screen. My LCD screen hasn’t broke but is always dirty with food stained hand prints.
10. Push a chair
This one works too! Marcie also pushes her high chair and crawls under the table.
There may be some items listed here that you find questionable, such as biting stuff and hitting TV. You don’t have to agree with all of them as these are the tricks that I use to keep Marcie busy. To me, raising a kid with eczema involves more trade-offs and these are some that I’m willing to compromise. Have a good day with your child and enjoy your time together.