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,
Big hugs to you for your newborn and I know if your baby has developed eczema in the first month, you’d have barely recovered and adjusted to your new mom role. Being a new mom is difficult – our own body recovering (I had some problems recovering as my baby was above 90% in birthweight), adjusting to feeding baby every few hours and heck, even figuring out how to breastfeed (not all things come natural to all moms!). Before we even figured out and settled into a routine, we realized that our baby Marcie is definitely not sleeping like a baby. For some of us, our baby is also not feeding well (reflux seems to occur more often in eczema babies). We also found out that the rashes on our baby is not baby acne, heat rash but rash that itches so much that our baby doesn’t sleep nor rest well.
I shared about a particular incident when Marcie (two months old) was sitting quietly in her netted chair (over metal frame) while I was cooking. I was thinking it was an amazing evening that she didn’t need attention every 2-3 minutes and I could at least get some cooking done without the stress. When I looked at her after the cooking, I saw that she had blood all over her neck and the reason for her ‘peace’ was that she had the metal frame to rub against her neck (to ease the itch). Another incident was when I dozed off for five minutes when Marcie was napping and I opened my eyes to the sound of scratching to see that her hands have escaped from the swaddling and scratching till blood dripped from behind her ears to her face. I did feel guilty but I also know it’s impossible to not cook, not feed my baby, not pee, not brush my teeth and I’ve really done what I could do.
It was especially tough starting from about four months old, where Marcie was too big to be swaddled and it was getting so difficult to stop her from scratching. Sometimes her swaddle had to be modified to around her hands and it did look like we’re tying her up. Usually it’s only for no more than five minutes so that I can rush off to prepare milk or go to the loo. I remembered the part-time cleaner for our home seeing that Marcie was being restrained and looked horrified. No mom would want to do that but it’s impossible to be holding her hands every minute – most times, she’s already being carried or in a sling or within close reach to keep her from scratching.
Night time was tough – we co-slept so that we can hold her hands when she’s scratching. When even that become impossible, we’d all wake up, moisturize and freshen up, re-start the bedtime routine for another 2-3 hours of sleep. Life sometimes seem to be on hold when caring for an eczema baby, yet it doesn’t – there are still chores to be done, day job to go to and the stress can really get to first-time parents who already struggle with coping with parenthood.
Be united with your spouse, seek help and don’t blame each other. Many family members or friends won’t understand what you’re going through and some would have more than a few words of ‘wisdom’ (even when they are not familiar with what eczema is). Shut off those noise, concentrate on your family – that’s what got me through and faith. Having a bible study group to provide support and having a God I can turn to (even if it is just to vent and to cry out) helps. The first few months of caring for a newborn is never easy and if you’re a first-time parent, you’d be learning loads and figuring how to care for your newborn (differently!) from month to month. Caring for a newborn with eczema is so much more difficult, don’t give up hope and let negativity takes over your heart and your family.
1 Thessalonians 5:14
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all
I’ve been working on this blog for five years, and what keeps me going is that Marcie’s eczema has a purpose and her recovering (now localized eczema with occasional flare-ups) is a blessing and that I can help share this blessing by keeping this blog going – encouraging parents all over the world who are at lost and feel alone in caring for their eczema baby.