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Weaning off Eczema Baby from Co-Sleeping

Baby Marcie thought the cot is a fun place to walk around -> Baby Marcie found out that she’s staying in the cot for the night

 2 hours later, at 1 a.m.

My hubby was comforting Marcie, while I pretended to be dead -> Finally, out of exhaustion, everyone’s asleep

Hi! Last night was such a major milestone that I had to update you all; my baby Marcie spent the first night sleeping by herself in her cot! If you’ve seen my previous posts (here and here), you’d know that I’ve been co-sleeping with my baby. But for the past month, I’ve had a bad cough and Marcie sleeping on me made it worse. Last night, we cleared the clutter in her cot, vacuumed her mattress and resolved to regain our bodies (and sanity) at night.

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Join me for Coffee Club Breakfast on 19 Nov, 10am

Coffee Club, Raffles Place branch

It’s time for our 2nd support group meeting and it’s scheduled on 19 Nov 2011 (Saturday), 10-11am at Coffee Club, Raffles Place branch (see pictures on left). I’ll be there with my hubby and baby and I’ll have 10 sticker packs to giveaway for the first 10 families who turn up. Appreciate if you RSVP by 17 Nov to mommarcie[at], so that I can make reservation and we can sit together. See you!

Coffee Club Breakfast Meeting:

Date – 19 Nov (Saturday); Time – 10 to 11am (breakfast ends at 11am)

Venue – No. 7 Raffles Place, Singapore (If you’re taking MRT, just exit to the ground level and find the stand-alone coffee club outlet, next to The Arcade.)

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Poem for my Eczema Baby – Till You Fall Asleep

This is a poem which I submitted for the love poem contest organized by Singapore’s Writer’s Festival and Timbre Music Academy; my poem didn’t get shortlisted but hey… I still love it.

Till You Fall Asleep

Every night
I hold your hands
Every night
Sweet dreams I send
Every night
I’ll sing to you
Every night
I’ll pray for you
For you to sleep

But you can’t, you don’t
You hardly fall asleep
You scratch, you cry
You barely can sleep

Till you fall asleep
I will say the same prayer
Till you fall asleep
I will sing the same songs
Till you fall asleep
I will hold your hands
Till I fall asleep
I will do all that I can

With a picture of my girl sleeping that I absolutely love!

Eczema Baby Poem

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Will your Second child get Eczema?

Marcie and a sibling???

Are you considering whether to have a second child? I am, as Marcie is turning two years old, and I am really scared that my second child will have eczema. It feels like we’ve just got past the ceaseless scratching, the blood, the tears and still struggling with a good night’s sleep. Can I, should I, really have a second child?

I did a search online, and sad to say there’s no conclusive research on whether a second child will get eczema, here’s a quick summary of the research results:

1. Having older siblings have a protective effect on the younger siblings, because the younger sibling has more chances to mix with an older child, thus immune system more likely to be strengthened with more chances of infections

2. Having older siblings have NO protective effect! (so, you see it’s really contradicting) There are more instances of younger siblings with eczema due to filaggrin (FLG) deficiency, which is a deficiency in skin barrier protection. This FLG deficiency leads to dry skin, and increased chances of allergic march (i.e. getting asthma, allergy after eczema). When the younger siblings attended day care, there is less instance of this FLG deficiency.

3. There is a higher chance of the younger sibling getting eczema when both one parent and one sibling has eczema. There is also a stronger association between eczema in siblings and with parents.

4. Having more children protects the younger siblings. Problem is there is no answer as to how many children you need to have for one not to have eczema/allergy.

5. Younger siblings’ cord IgE is less, i.e. younger siblings have fewer instances of allergy than the older child. The first born tend to suffer from hay fever and pink eye from food or other allergies.

So, there you go, still no answer, anyone have more than one child, do share how the eczema in your children is. I’m really at crossroads…

For some links to the research, click here, here, here and here.

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First Support Group Meeting on 17 Sep, 4pm

Hi to all parents with eczema children!

It’s time for the 1st meeting for the support group and it’s scheduled on 17 Sep 2011 (Saturday), 4pm at the basement (Children’s section) of the National Library. I’ll be there from 4pm to 5.30pm with my baby Marcie, and I have a little gift for all who RSVP you’re coming by 14 Sep (and actually turned up). (It’s a small sticker pack as stickers are really good for occupying tiny fingers!) So, be sure to email me at mommarcie[at]gmail[dot]com to get your sticker pack.

So see you at the Children’s section at the basement of the National Library, at the following address:

National Library Board
100 Victoria Street #14-01
Singapore 188064

The agenda for the meeting is simple, to get to know everyone else, so SEE YOU! (and don’t forget to RSVP me that you’re coming to get your mini sticker pack)

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Does Music Help your Baby Sleep Better?

Baby Sleeping – Was she scratching her head?

For us parents with eczema children, we know how difficult it is for our children to have a good night’s sleep. A lack of sleep negatively affects our children’s development and if music can help our children sleep better, why not? For me, I have been singing “ABC Song” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars” to my baby Marcie followed by playing the same compilation of Christian baby songs since birth. Marcie seems to sleep better with the music and her infant care teachers also commented that she looked visibly calmer when the music was played during her nap time. While there is no definitive research done on how music affects baby’s sleep, I found some good reasons for playing music to your child during bedtime:

1.  We all know that music affects our mood and reduces stress (provided you are not listening to noisy music that stresses you out). As stress is a fairly common trigger for eczema, it is good to listen to music that relaxes your child.

2.  There are several testimonies given by parents and sleep therapists that children sleep better with music and also can fall back asleep at night when music is on.

3.  Bringing the familiar music on a holiday trip may help your child sleep better in a new place.

4.  Research suggests that plant flourish better with classical music than noisy rock/punk music.

While music seems to be all good, do take care in your choice of songs; too simulating music is not recommended. Repetitive and simple music is best, and must be something that you can listen to every night. Some even recommended listening to nature sounds ‘white noise’ such as waterfall and raindrops that mimic the rhythms in the mother’s womb.

A side note

If you just google “music baby sleep”, you will find MANY websites offering music that will put your baby to sleep (this website says that hospitals are testing out their CDs). I haven’t purchased any of such CDs as I prefer to have my baby listen to Christian music and so far it has worked great for my sleep too. I suggest that we as parents relax a little, listen to some music and whatever makes us happy and sleepy may do the same for our children.

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If your Child has Eczema, can you have a Pet Dog?

It all depends on whether your child is allergic to pet dog dander/hair and you can find that out by getting your child tested, usually through a skin prick test or blood test. If your child is tested allergic, then the best way to avoid triggering an eczema flare is to not have a pet dog. There’s website offering information that certain dogs are hypoallergenic because they have less hair/dander but studies have debunked that correlation.

Bedlington Terriers

If you have a pet dog, there are a number of ways to reduce the chances of your child coming into contact with the pet dog’s dander/hair:

By Keeping the Pet Dog Dander/Hair out of the House and the Air

By keeping the dog outside of the house and off the furniture, at least off your child’s bedroom

By minimizing materials that trap animal dander such as carpets and curtains, upholstered furniture, wool bedsheets (best if you have polished floor, plastic/wooden furniture and cotton sheets)

By removing airborne animal dander by using HEPA air purifier

By vacuuming frequently using a Miele or another HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner (my colleague’s daughter’s allergy specialist recommended Miele brand and I see it being recommended on most sites)

By Reducing the Pet Dog Dander/Hair that your Dog Shed

Wash your dog at least weekly with dander reducing shampoo

Wash your hands thoroughly (remembered watching on ‘The Doctors’ that a test done on various items of a dog owning family revealed dog poo even on the owner’s wallet)

The Good News…

The good news is that a study conducted by Dr. Tolly G. Epstein suggest that children who have an allergy to dogs AND who have exposure to dogs before the age of one year old has a lower chance (14% vs 57%) of getting eczema by age four years old, compared to children with a dog allergy and did not have a pet dog. (note to cat lovers: It’s the reverse, i.e. more likely to develop eczema after having a cat if already have a cat allergy 54% vs 33%)

And the other good news is that children who don’t have a dog allergy won’t develop one after having a pet dog (is that true? didn’t see this published much, anyone has experience?)

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Do not drink pool water!

Playing in Swimming Pool

Here you see a very happy baby playing at the pool, and the next?

Fallen ill with stomach flu

That happened TWICE to my baby girl Marcie, as she always thought it’s funny to drink the pool water. Marcie has eczema and we brought her to the swimming pool from about nine months old, at the advice of her doctor. It didn’t do much good nor bad to her skin till one time when the baby pool was closed, we brought her to the 1.0m pool. Her skin improved markedly every time we brought her to the deeper pool and we thought it might be due to soaking in a deeper pool versus just standing mid-waist in the baby pool. But Marcie started getting more at ease in water and dared to walk off the pool into her daddy’s arms. That, on top of always trying to drink pool water, could have made her ill. So while it is good to go swimming with your baby, here’re the do’s and don’ts.


Check with your baby’s doctor (I’ve read that some severe eczema babies not recommended for swimming)

Check with the pool staff on how they disinfect the pool if you’re really concerned (chlorine is supposed to be the least irritating of the disinfectants)

Apply sunscreen lotion before swimming (choose one suitable for baby)

Shower immediately after pool and apply moisturizer generously


If your child has not recovered from cold/fever  for more than 10 days or has not recovered from stomach flu (i.e. solid stool) for more than 48 hours, don’t bring your child to the pool.

Don’t leave your child alone, drowning or water intoxication (swallowing too much water) is dangerous.

Don’t continue swimming if your child is shivering (hypothermia is a risk); bring baby out of the pool and wrap in warm towel.

Don’t swim for too long, limit to no more than 30 minutes for child below 1 year old

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When Innovation is born from Adversity – Eczema Moms make baby clothing

Have you seen those rompers that has a mitten over the long sleeve to reduce damage from baby scratching? Recently, I keep coming across parents recommending such clothing as it worked for their children. So, I googled and the interesting thing is almost all of the companies that retail these clothing were started by moms desperate to find a solution for their babies scratching at night. That, to me, is quite inspiring, making something good out of managing eczema, which we all know is something we don’t wish on any child (AND it is the moms!). Below are some of the price comparisons (I haven’t bought any for my baby, so I can’t comment on the product; I also don’t get paid for this post).

Clothing with the ‘sewn-on mittens’

Pink Firefly from

US$19.95 – made in USA, 96% Bamboo, Cotton, Silk & 4% Lycra

Pounds 30 for a Poplin Sleepsuit – (can’t find made where, company based in UK) 100% cotton with 47th Element Silver Technology (according to their site, silver can prevent secondary infection and remove bacteria overgrowth). Clothes made with mid weight cotton, not too warm nor too thin to be scratched through. Tear-off labels on outside and no seams inside.

Pounds 7.50 for sleeves to be worn over normal clothes – (can’t find made where, company based in UK)

Has dual layer: inner layer cotton move with baby’s fingers while outer silk layer stays stationary with skin

Pounds 17.99 for a full suit romper – (can’t find made where, company based in UK)

Uses Okeo-tex 100 cotton which reduces chances of allergy from dyes

Clothing using bamboo

Quite a few online shops selling organic baby clothing uses bamboo as the main material, citing that bamboo is hypo-allergenic, soft, breathable and thermal regulating. Also supposed to be 3-4 times more sweat absorbent than cotton and that since bamboo is not prone to pests, no pesticide is sprayed on bamboo and that there is anti-fungal property.

As a guideline, avoid wool and synthetic fibre. Wash new clothes to remove chemicals from manufacturing. If you are currently tying mittens on your baby, well.., one of the site wrote that it’s not recommended as it is the hand/eye coordination practice time for baby development and squashing the fingers together, make them even hotter and itchier and and the knot may lead to skin damage if baby uses it for scratching. Also, that it creates stress.. that I think is quite hard to avoid!

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Is Eczema affecting your Child’s Sleep?

Taking a nap

About 60 to 80 percent of children with eczema suffers from sleep disturbance, resulting in about 2.5 hours less of sleep per night. As you know, as a parent of eczema child, our sleep is affected too! (and usually we get cranky, tired, irritable when sleep is disturbed for consecutive days, usually days when there is an eczema flare, resulting in more itch and more scratching)

I have often wondered if my baby has enough sleep and how does a lack of sleep affect her?

Number of Hours of Sleep for Your Child

There is no standard must-sleep-how-many-hours and if your child is putting on healthy weight gain and alert and happy during the day, you should not be unduly worried. My baby girl Marcie has always slept 10 hours per day, no matter what different routine we adopt to increase her sleep. The rough guide for a new born is 16 hours per day, 3-6 month old is 13 to 15 hours/day, 6-12 month old is 12 to 14 hours/day and 1-year old onwards is 10 hours/day.

How a Lack of Sleep affect Your Child

Sleep is important and a lack of sleep results in:

–          Low weight gain, due to less growth hormones (lack of sleep may also lead to obesity and diabetes due to imbalance of hormone that regulate hunger and metabolism of sugar)

–          Slower healing of the skin  and aggravate eczema, lower the immune system (haven’t we fall sick before when burning the midnight oil?)

–          Behavioral disturbances such as irritable, impatient, fussy, moody, hyperactive and impulsive

–          Difficulty in concentrating, poorer memory (as long-term memory improves with adequate sleep)

–          Accident-prone (think overnight drivers who suffer from lack of sleep)

–          Tired (If possible, send your child to school later when sleep is badly disturbed by eczema flare)

All is not lost though, since (keeping my fingers crossed) eczema child is brighter (see this post) and the better the eczema is managed, the better the sleep will be. Read my 5 tips to help your child sleep better (I co-sleep with my baby and I think I will as long as she wants to and still scratches at night…)

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Saying (or shouting) “Stop Scratching!” to your eczema child

Scratching Head at Night

Pause for a moment and think how many times you have said “Stop Scratching!” today. I used to keep saying that to my baby girl Marcie until I read that it is not the best way to get her to stop scratching. There’s little research done in this area available online, but supposedly, asking your child to stop doing something is less effective than rewarding him/her for not doing it. Also, it can annoy/upset your child to be told consistently to stop doing something that they can’t control. My own guess is that they are smart enough to know that scratching gets our attention and even do it more when throwing tantrum.

Here are a few tactics for teaching our children not to scratch that I read online, some which I use:

1.      Get your child to hold the itchy part tightly (supposed to help relieve some itch, but I don’t practise it as my baby is too young and likely result in her to focus more on the itchy part)

2.      Distract the child (that’s what I do all the time, check my post on keeping fingers busy, coloring and I also learn sign language with my baby. Sometimes, at night, when she scratches while trying to fall asleep, asking her to show me a sign works)

3.      Set up a reward chart with stickers to reward not scratching

4.      Try wearing eczema clothing (I haven’t tried this but a parent have recommended to me)

5.      Cut nails short (I haven’t cut Marcie’s nails for more than half a year cos she “files” them herself)

Read this A to Z compilation of distraction from scratching eczema tips. Of course, the eczema needs to be treated, do read my tips and Marcie’s doctor’s skincare tips.

What is most important to me is to stop remarking to my hubby that it is his bad gene and also to banish the words “bad skin”. I noticed that my baby scratches even when alone, as scratching feels good, so I am also very careful not to imply she’s doing it on purpose.

I have drawn a picture book (published as e-book, “A to Z Animals are not scratching!” to teach young children not to scratch and also starting a support group for moms (and dads) who need people to understand what we are going through (and hopefully, we can reduce the inadvertent “Stop Scratching!” to our children!).

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Colouring Page that cost 40 singapore dollars

ABC Coloring Page

It almost felt like we paid 40 dollars for a coloring kid’s menu as the food was bad. Marcie’s eczema is triggered by heat and so we have limited restaurants to go to on a crowded weekend (and even more limited as we wanted to get fish for her). The poached cod fish in chicken broth was dry and tough while the danish fish and chips was way too salty to feed a young toddler. The only saving grace – Marcie loves to color the kid’s menu and was occupied the whole time without scratching.

That got me thinking that coloring page is incredibly useful to bring out over meals, even more so for an eczema child who needs to be distracted from scratching. I bought a box of crayons for Marcie and downloaded an ABC coloring page for her. Here is a compilation of A to Z Distraction tips for your eczema child.

Below are the links to find some nice coloring page printables for your child.

Woojr – Nice design, easy to print (that’s where I got the ABC coloring page) – There’s A to Z animal on each page

Educationalcoloringpages – Great selection to learn ABCs, 123, shapes and colors!

Below are pictures of Marcie’s first coloring experience with crayons and eventually, everything ended up thrown on the floor!

Marcie opening crayon box
Marcie choosing her crayon
Marcie coloring her ABCs (actually Marcie Mom did most of the coloring!)
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What happens when an eczema baby get HFMD

Since last Friday when my baby girl Marcie’s teachers called to say they suspected that she has hand-foot-and-mouth disease (“HFMD”), my life, my hubby’s and Marcie’s have been miserable. Today is the 6th day of her HFMD, counting from Friday, 1st day where red bumps showed up on her hands and in her mouth. Here are some quick questions answered on HFMD, especially what happens when a baby with eczema has it (btw, Marcie is 17th month old).

1. How do you know if your baby has HFMD? Will it be confused with eczema rash?

When I brought Marcie to the doctor to verify if she has HFMD, the doctor did seem to take longer to check but made the diagnosis of HFMD when he saw ulcers in the mouth. Below are some pictures taken from the Singapore’s Health Promotion Board’s website, provided by KK Women’s and Children’s hospital.

HFMD on non-eczema child

2. What is the difference when HFMD happens to a baby with eczema?

In Marcie’s case, it didn’t look much like the above but instead the HFMD red bumps appear where she has been scratching most frequently, like her hand and her foot. I’m not sure if the degree of ulcers got to do with the immune system of the baby, but Marcie, fortunately, did not get red sores on her tongue but her tongue seems to be swollen and she drooled a lot.

HFMD on baby’s eczema foot

3. Did the scratching get worse on the eczema skin patches?

It didn’t for Marcie and instead got less scratching, until when the red HFMD bumps subsided, she started scratching again.

4. Will a parent get the HFMD from the child?

Yes! Especially as I co-sleep with my baby, I actually got flu (fever, sore throat, running nose) a day before the ulcers showed up on my baby.

5. What food does a baby take given there’s ulcers in the mouth?

Hydration is key as a baby drool a lot when the mouth has ulcers. If you google, every child seems to have their own preference in times of HFMD. It was traumatic to come up with ten different meals/food just to get Marcie to eat some, here’s what she did eat if it helps:

a. Hard-boiled egg

b. Steamed bun

c. Yoghurt (she only ate when I let her explore the fridge!)

d. Noodle

e. Baby rice cereal with strawberry sorbet (even then the trick didn’t work after 2 meals)

She did drink her favorite pear juice, some chocolate milk and Vitagen. For the past 6 days, she lost 1 kg, and I’ve lost 2kgs taking care of her!

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Top 10 Cooling Places to go with your child in Singapore

Having fun at Sentosa

We all love a good weekend outing and I’m sure if you are parenting a child with eczema, you would have figured that the stress level can hit sky high if your child is scratching.

First and foremost, you would have to figure out what triggers your child’s itch. For my baby Marcie, it’s the heat and sweat and Marcie’s doctor has told us to keep her fresh all the time. So a cooling place, well ventilated, preferably air conditioned is my top priority. After bringing Marcie out from one month old till now, 17 month old, here are my top 10 cooling places to go.

1. IMM – Apart from free parking for the 1st 3 hours, the place is huge enough that even on a weekend, the crowd has not ‘crowded out’ the cool air. There are also bookstore, toy stores and children stores with children rides around the mall. The latest addition is a 7-meter tall tree house playground at level 3. Fish & Co and Café Cartel have aircon that is cooling enough and also serve kids meal.

2. Libraries – Here you have to try out which library is cooling enough. For me, Bukit Banjang and Jurong West libraries have strong aircon but Jurong East’s aircon is too warm plus the children section in the basement have quite stale air. One drawback of libraries is that there is no diaper changing area.

3. Tanglin Mall – This mall is not crowded and have many children stores plus an organic shop that also sells baby food. Marcie could even eat in the food court as it is well air-conditioned. From Tanglin mall, you can walk to Forum the Shopping Mall which also has many children stores and Toys R Us.

4. Ikea – Though crowded over the weekend, Ikea has shopping trolleys that have child safety belts. Marcie loves sitting in the trolley so even if it is crowded, she can be distracted enough not to scratch. The dining area is always crowded but fortunately, there is a mini playground to keep Marcie busy.

5. Vivocity – Marcie loves the fountain and we let her play in it once. There is a baby changing area inside the female toilet, located very near to the entrance facing the fountain. The food court is far too stuffy and warm, don’t venture there if your baby itches when hot.

For outdoor places, it really depends on the weather. So far, we have brought Marcie to the following places where she didn’t scratch much.

6. Singapore Zoo – We went on a rainy Saturday and though it’s crowded, Marcie was attracted to the animals and the show and didn’t scratch.

7. Sentosa

Playing with the mist at Sentosa

We went on a crowded flower festival event over the Chinese New Year. It turned out well as we took a break in the air-conditioned visitor centre plus let Marcie play with the mist that comes out from the ground. The climb up to the cable car station is torturous though with throngs of people wanting to go up the escalators.

8. Qian Hu Fish Farm – This is cooling since the fish need a cool environment. Everywhere is sheltered and your child will likely be amazed with the range of fish. Some will even follow your finger on the tank and it’s quite fun for Marcie! The canteen can get fairly warm on a hot day though, so don’t plan your meals there.

9. Hay Diaries Goat’s Farm – The goat farm has milking time in the morning when the goats will be brought up a ramp to the milking area where the staff will pump the milk. It’s fascinating to watch and it’s also sheltered with a ceiling fan. Feeding of goats is no longer allowed but you can still walk around to view the goats from a distance.

10. Jacob Ballas Children Garden – There is a little fountain for children to play but it’s not shaded. Though suitable for kids who can walk and climb very well (there is a tree top house), I suggest giving this a miss on a hot day.

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Help! What moisturiser to use on your eczema baby?

Choosing the right moisturizers for your baby

Navigating through all the moisturizers out there to find the right one for your baby can be a nightmare.

My baby Marcie has tried various lotions and creams (I remembered when the household budget burst due to many trial and error purchases and our cabinets stacked full of different moisturizers) and finally settled on using Physiogel AI cream, Physiogel body lotion and QV body lotion. As you are figuring out which moisturizer to use, it is important to remember the one advice that I had from Marcie’s doctor, “You Can’t Moisturize too Much”.

The Undecipherable Information out there on Moisturizer

Whether over the internet or on product labels, I have this conclusion after trying to no avail to sum up the pros and cons of different moisturizers – We, as parents and layman, can’t figure out from reading the information available. I have tried at least 3 times to make sense of all the information out there, including comparing all the ingredients, and given up (all three times). I can only let you know that Physiogel and QV work for Marcie which are also recommended by Marcie’s doctor (I didn’t accept any advertising fees from these two brands and neither do I see these brands sold at the clinic that Marcie’s doctor works in).

What Moisturizers worked for Marcie’s Eczema

Physiogel AI cream works quite well but due to its high cost, S$35 for 50ml, I only use it on her face and after  swimming. Physiogel AI cream is able to neutralize free radicals which when produced in excess, damages skin cells. Physiogel body lotion also works for Marcie but also due to its cost, I use when her rashes are affecting her badly (on top of using mild steroid). On a daily basis, liberal amounts of QV body lotion is slathered on Marcie and her infant care teachers have also been reassured not to worry about slathering too much.

What has not worked for Marcie’s Eczema

Aqueous cream which contains emulsifying ointment, paraffin and preservatives – I tried this as it was recommended by a friend’s dermatologist but it hasn’t worked for Marcie. She scratched the area and was crying with frustration the two nights we applied for her. Also read that some doctors say this cream will cause thinning of skin over long period of use.

California Baby – no improvement and my hubby who has eczema felt that it stung on his eczema skin

Gaia Natural Baby – no improvement and too expensive to use liberally

Both the organic cream, California Baby and Gaia Natural Baby, are gifts from friends. Read that organic does not necessarily mean non – allergenic as some people can still be allergic to the organic ingredients. Also the use of the word ‘organic’ is not regulated.

Calamine lotion – not suitable as told by a doctor whose kids have allergies. I think it’s because one of the key ingredient, zinc oxide, absorbs moisture and that’s why it doesn’t help to moisturize the skin but helps to dry up weeping wounds.

Prickly heat powder– not suitable as told by same doctor above. My own guess is that it doesn’t have any moisturizing function.

Some common items to look out for in labels

  1. Hypoallergenic – means less chance of developing allergy
  2. Suitable for eczema baby or child
  3. Free of fragrance and perfumes
  4. Free from dyes, colors, conventional emulsifiers, preservatives, mineral oils, paraffin

In general, lotions are more easily absorbed but not as long-lasting as creams. For me, I prefer lotion as Marcie is too fidgety for me to have the time to get the cream from the tub (and ensuring no contamination) and apply over her body.

Do persevere in moisturizing as dry skin leads to itching and do so liberally all day and immediately after your baby’s shower.

Update: Almost a year after writing this post, I’ve interviewed a dermatologist Dr Verallo-Rowell for a 13-part Sensitive Skin Product Series, and in this post, she provides the list of ingredients and their different names to avoid. 

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Is Co-Sleeping good or bad for eczema baby?

Sound asleep baby

There is a whole debate out there on whether co-sleeping is good or not. Generally speaking, the ‘against-side’ has more support citing early independence for the baby. Personally, I am for co-sleeping with my baby, mainly because A LOT of scratches have been prevented as I can hold her hands anytime she scratches at night. Of course, the sacrifice is huge – lack of good sleep for me and almost no couple time with my hubby. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons in the context of taking care of eczema children:

For Co-Sleeping

1. Help baby sleep better. I believe this is true and especially important for an eczema baby whose itch may be preventing her from sleeping well.

2. Help build a stronger bond with parents. I think this is true too. When I was a stay at home mom and my hubby worked, after a few months, Marcie didn’t seem to get too excited when daddy came home. But if daddy co-sleep with her for two nights in a row, Marcie would display much more warmth towards daddy. For me, I just love to look at my baby’s face when she’s asleep and smelling her milk-breath!

Against Co-Sleeping

1. Risk suffocating baby. The verdict is still not out on this one. Some say the risk is higher while some say lower. My personal suggestion is to let your baby sleep alone in a very cool air-conditioned room but wrap her up to prevent scratching. When Marcie got too big to be swaddled, we tied her hands to her legs for a few nights but she couldn’t sleep well. That’s when we decided she’s big enough to not get suffocated/ crushed by us on our bed and it’s also the only way we know whether she’s scratching. Marcie started scratching ‘covertly’ at about 7 months old, when it became more difficult to know that she’s scratching as practically no sound was made. So the only way I knew was sleeping with her and detecting her scratching fingers move.

2. No good sleep for parents. That is so true especially when Marcie has eczema flare or teething which causes her body temperature to rise and somehow causes her skin to be more sensitive and itchy. For me, it’s a sacrifice I make and I compensate by sleeping earlier with Marcie.

3. Increase heat to baby. That is also true. I give off less heat compared to my hubby and I’m more aware when Marcie scratches. So I co-sleep with Marcie more often. Regarding the additional heat, you can compensate by turning the air-con cooler and dressing your baby light.

4. Make it difficult for baby to sleep if parent isn’t co-sleeping. Good news is babies adapt quickly and Marcie has no problem sleeping at infant care now. This was a great relief for me as I was worried whether Marcie could nap in school.

5. Prevent baby to be independent. No research results cast in stone for this one. Some studies now believe that making babies feel more secure will enable them to be more independent at an older age.

6. Prevent parents from their own couple time. This is true. Again we compromise by letting Marcie sleep alone first, and when she wakes up, I will then stop whatever I’m doing (usually watching dvd with my hubby) and quickly hop into the bed with her. We used to put Marcie in her cot but realise that she sleeps better on our bed.

I do take precaution though. Marcie likes to lie flat on her stomach but she has good neck muscles at an early 3 month age. She’s always in the centre of our bed, without the possibility of wedging between the wall and the bed and our bed has no bed frame that may trap her.

There’re also going to be a lot of objections from people around you if you choose to co-sleep. I think for parents with eczema children, it goes back to being confident about how you are helping your child with her eczema.

& always believe that You are the Best Parent for your eczema child

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10 reasons why parents with eczema child have a tougher time

Stressed out Mom

How often do you feel like tearing your hair out? Pretty often for me, especially when Marcie was between one to ten months old. Her eczema was all over her body, scalp and face and she didn’t know how to distract herself from scatching.

Having been both a stay-at-home and a working mom, I fully understand the additional demands of taking care of children with eczema, whether or not you’re working. I didn’t have a helper or another adult to help out during the day. I was alone at home, trying my best to stay calm taking care of my baby and to be a good home maker. The stress level was sky high, knowing that any attention lapse could result in scars/broken skin on my baby.

If your spouse/ family member is taking care of a child with eczema, do emphatise with them as you can see below it’s a lot tougher to care for an eczema kid.

1.       Not even a minute’s break. A child with eczema will scratch when the skin is ‘triggered’, tired, sleepy, hungry or for no reason at all. Marcie scratches whenever she’s not occupied or when left alone. At one point, I couldn’t go to pee or poo or bathe until my hubby return from work.

2.       Fatigue from lack of sleep. A child with eczema tends to wake up in the middle of the night and scratch. I am still co-sleeping with Marcie so that I can hold her hands whenever she scratches. Lack of sleep leads to fatigue which also raises the stress level. Since Marcie was born, I haven’t slept throughout the night (but I’ve got used to it).

3.       No time to eat! If the restaurant is not cool enough or contains allergens that a child is sensitive too, the child will start scratching soon enough. I lost more weight than my weight gain during pregnancy plus, I’ve got into a habit of gobbling down my food as I know I only got a few minutes before Marcie starts to scratch.

4.       No time for exercise! It is extremely difficult to gather the energy to exercise when (and that is a BIG WHEN) there is a little free time. When I do have the chance to jog, the exercise routine only last for 2 weeks before my baby changes her routine. Most days, I choose to chill with my hubby ‘cos we have so little time to ourselves.

It’s no wonder why you or a parent with an eczema child is so high-strung. The basic needs of sleep, eat, exercise, pee & poo can’t even be met properly. There is this study that concludes the stress levels in mothers caring for young children with eczema are equivalent to those mothers of children with severe disabilities. Below are some other emotional issues that you or the parent may face.

5. Guilt. It is easy to feel guilty when you are the only care giver and your baby ends the day with blood. I remembered feeling guilty when I dozed off for a minute and heard my baby scratching her neck. I remembered checking on her when I finished cooking and saw that she woke from her nap and scratched till blood from her ears run down to her face. I remembered checking on her when she was in a baby chair and realized she scratched her neck against the metal frame till bleeding. I remembered questioning myself if it was right to tie her up for a few minutes when I prepared her milk. It took me some time but I know now that I’m the best mom for Marcie and there’s no reason for guilt.

6. Isolation. A stay-at-home mom has no one to share your day and you lost your work status. For parents with eczema kids, it is very difficult to share with people who have not gone through the same. Worse, you tend to get suggestions that somehow point to you ‘mis-caring’ for your child.

7. Anger and blame. Eczema is an immunology disorder and it is half the time inherited. It took quite a few months before I stopped accusing my hubby about him passing on his ‘bad gene’. It does no good and doesn’t help our relationship.

8. Almost no time with spouse. That’s a big issue when the child takes so much attention, from both parents. I have yet to learn to enjoy the moment with my hubby when our baby is with us.

9. More housework. If the trigger for your child’s eczema is dust mite dropping, then you may spend more time vacuuming the house, changing bed sheets and cleaning the toys. More housework again means less time with spouse (and seldom both agree on how much housework to do!)

10. Less money. Moisturisers, bath oils, steroid, specialist appointments all don’t come cheap. Financial burden may place additional stress on the couple relationship.

One thing I’m glad to report though, it is possible to manage all of these better overtime. One good that comes out of taking care of Marcie for the past 15 months is that I’m proud of myself, my hubby for managing it so well and is more confident of our ability to weather difficulties together…

& always believe that You are the Best Parent for your eczema child

Support Group

Go Swimming with your baby

Marcie’s First Swim

Try it if you haven’t. I was advised by allergy specialist to bring Marcie for a swim and she’s a water baby! Pool water contains chlorine which may irritate the skin. I brought Marcie for her first swim at 9 months, bathed and moisturized her immediately. There’s no problem with her skin after every swim though she caught a cold twice!

I also heard from another talk by dermatologists that you may want to literally “test the waters” because your child’s skin may react differently in different pools, due to the different way of cleaning and treating the pool water. Other advice given in the forum (read my forum notes here) was to use SPF50 sunscreen, try not to go once the pool has been chlorinated nor before the pool is due to be clean (too strong chlorine or too much bacteria), always shower immediately and moisturize thereafter! Also good to find out cleaning schedule and the percentage of bacteria or amount of chlorine used.

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Turning Blues to Bliss

Marcie’s Mom

Hello to all parents out there, particularly to stay at home moms raising kids with eczema or allergies.

It’s nice to meet you here and I hope your day has gone on well – no emotional breakdown, no shouting/crying. And you have got your toilet break and time to grab a glass of water and lunch.

I know what you are going through as I have gone through the same. It’s no joke to take care of a baby diagnosed with chronic eczema – apart from the already heavy workload required to take care of a newborn, there is the struggle with getting baby to drink the less tasty hypo-allergenic milk and preventing baby from scratching her skin/scalp. My baby Marcie has eczema from 2 weeks old and I quit my job to take care of her. Staying at home also give me the blues, surrounded by four walls with noone but a contantly irritated and ‘scratchy’ baby to talk to.

I’ll be sharing my journey with you, hoping to offer some real-life tips to deal with eczema rather than giving you tons of facts and figures. I know how you feel sometimes, looking at all the facts, googling into the middle of night hoping to find a cure, but all you get seems to make you more fearful of what you could possibly be doing wrong. This blog is meant to do the opposite, to provide a light-hearted and heart to heart sharing with you, hoping to inject some blissful moment into your day when you know things are still on track.

& always believe You are the Best Parent for your eczema child

Keep in touch.