Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.
Dear Daddy & Mommy,
Hopefully the past half year hasn’t been so rough and you’ve ‘enjoyed’ baby milestones like the baby sitting up, crawling and soon, learning to swallow! Thinking back of parenting Marcie from 6-12 months old, I recalled that starting solids was a time that drove me paranoid. Some of you who have been following my blog know that I’m supportive of allergy test as I believe that it can really help to pinpoint what to avoid. More importantly, what we DON’T HAVE TO AVOID. Without allergy testing, I even thought at one point that Marcie was allergic to the high chair as that was made of latex! Especially at a time of starting solids, it can be very frustrating to write in a food journal and try to observe when the rashes appear when there is no discernible pattern.
It was when Marcie was 7 months old that we brought her to the skin prick test – it’s not scary at all! For Marcie, likely the itch was normally so bad that the prick didn’t seem to bother her. She merely winced when her skin was pricked but otherwise, was not distressed by the test. It turned out that she was not allergic and it gave us a peace of mind as to what she can eat – finally, we can feed her without trying to link the foods she’s taking to the rashes. Moving to solids then became easier than feeding milk – something we struggled so much with in the first six months due to reflux.
This period I felt was a tough time as the baby really starts to have strength to scratch and can be quite hard to put back to sleep at night. Half a year of sleepless nights can also ‘break’ someone and the thought that it’s never getting better but worse is terrifying and trying. It is also the time when the mom gets back to work from her maternity leave and not finding someone to take care of an eczema baby can make getting back to work difficult.
I’m glad that I stayed at home for my baby’s first year. I could take care of her the way I like – feeding (she’s a good eater now, used to foods of many textures and fruits and vegetables, i.e. not the traditional asian porridge with fish diet), co-sleeping and caring for her skin. The baby’s skin has not yet matured and research has pointed to that a defective skin barrier can sensitize a baby to allergens where contact to allergens via skin lead to food allergy. Although it was difficult, I felt that being one on one with my baby helped with her skin and her development. There were fun moments when we learnt sign language to distract her from scratching and sing songs together. Even with eczema, I felt that I had a pleasant time with her especially when it’s leisure time when I don’t have to feed, cook or do chores.
At about 7+ months old when Marcie started on her one-time oral steroid course (prednisolone), I really cried anguish tears. Her eczema improved during the first few days of the reducing dosage course but came back after a week into the course when the dosage was reduced. I was so scared and wanted to stop the course but continued. I’m grateful that her eczema was under control after the two weeks’ course when towards the end of the course, the eczema improved again and was limited to certain areas. It was a scary time especially when you know the same medicine at higher dosage is for treating cancer and the wrong dosage can have serious side effects. To this day, I know that it is a blessing that Marcie recovered after the course as many other children whose eczema worsened – we don’t know how the body will react after the course and knowing that we’ve been blessed keeps my work for this blog going.
If you are seeing a doctor, make sure that you see one who you can trust. Eczema is a chronic condition and seeing a doctor who you don’t trust and don’t have time to answer your questions or dismiss your worries can be the catalyst for much negativity – blame between the parents, fear motivating you to try an alternative treatment and distrust of doctors.
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you