Helping Baby's eczema

Baby and I have been battling his eczema for pretty much forever. Mostly for my own reference, here are some things that seem to help. Baby is much better when I consistently do these things. Unfortunately, I often get busy or distracted and miss baths and greasing-up sessions. I will keep trying.
  • Daily baths. Many people say less frequent baths help, but that is not true for us.
  • Petroleum jelly. Use it generously. Don't wear anything you care about during and after application (I change into my pajamas first). We do this right after the bath, just before bed, so the grease will be contained. Slathering up immediately after the bath helps retain moisture. Using it on the head helps cradle cap immensely but it is kind of gross (wait at least overnight before washing out). Wash greasy laundry in hot water with plenty of stain remover or dish soap applied to grease spots.
  • Long-sleeved cotton footed pajamas. Cotton breathes well, and the full coverage prevents scratching. I keep Baby in these day and night when things are bad. They can be hard to find in sizes over 9 months, but The Children's Place sells them in up to size 3.
  • All-cotton clothes and bedding. I only dress my babies in cotton. Polyester doesn't breathe well and is more likely to trigger eczema. If we must wear synthetics, I try to at least keep a layer of cotton next to the skin.
  • Prescription hydrocortisone cream. Apply under petroleum jelly or other lotion. Regular OTC cream is no good: the base dries skin out. Our prescription cream has a greasy base.
  • Cetaphil cream. Just right for putting on several times a day; not greasy like petroleum jelly.
  • Short fingernails. To prevent scratching damage.
  • Socks over the hands. See above. Also great for when I put hydrocortisone cream on his hands and I don't want him to eat it. Baby can actually scratch—rub—a bit with socks on but at least he can't draw blood.
  • Spoon-feed. Even if Baby is not allergic to a food, it can still irritate his skin when he picks it up and rubs it all over his face. Biggest triggers so far: tomato and chili powder.
  • Wash up. Clean Baby meticulously after meals. Also during meals if necessary.
  • Special soap. I have found two soaps that Baby can tolerate: this and this. I can count on one hand the different soaps and creams I will put on baby's skin: even all-natural products like Burt's Bees can turn his skin bright red in an instant. Some people say don't use soap, but I like to wash off the daily layer of grease, which can also attract grime.
  • Special laundry detergent. I use a natural, fragrance-free detergent to wash all our clothes. It helps.
  • Don't stop when it gets better. Keep treating or it will get bad again.
  • Figure out food allergies. Baby is sensitive to milk and it does make his eczema worse.

Ideas I haven't used much, or at all:
  • Bleach baths. I may try these at some point, but I don't love the idea of putting my splash-loving baby into a tub of bleachy water.
  • Benadryl. Our doctor approved it to help stop itching, but it does make him sleepy. I have used it exactly once, and that was before bed anyway. I like to have it on hand though in case things get out of hand.
  • Wet wraps. What a pain! I'm glad I know about this, but I hope things don't get bad enough to have to do it. 
  • Mineral sunscreen. I tried this at the doctor's recommendation, and it dried out his skin, leading to a rash. Perhaps because it was in stick form? Surprisingly, greasy No-Ad works better for Baby. Mostly I just try to keep him out of the sun in the middle of the day and use a hat if we must. 
  • Essential oils. Many friends have recommended them, but I just don't do essential oils and I'm pretty sure they won't magically cure Baby's eczema. I am not averse to the idea that they could help a bit, but I'm already pretty busy doing all the other things I've found that do help.


  1. I'm presuming that you don't use any fabric softener, in the washer or dryer? I have found that using 1/2 cup of white vinegar in the final rinse gets out any detergent residue from the wash. I pour the vinegar into the place where fabric softener would normally go. Have you explored food allergies? What a challenge to have to deal with. Good luck and God bless.

  2. I am so sorry Baby is having so much trouble with eczema. One of my granddaughters did too. She is 16 now.. and it is better, but she has to go to the doctor for it and treat it still.. so frustrating.
    You are doing the things that I remember her mom doing..
    One thing that her new dematologist told them, was to not use fabric softner on her clothes, as it was one thing that made it worse??
    Sending prayers for Baby...

  3. Thank you both. We don't use fabric softener, just vinegar.

    Baby had a food allergy test and the only thing that came up is that he is slightly allergic to milk. He is not having any milk right now, nor am I. I hope it helps. I don't know how long it takes.

  4. One of our little ones we're adopting has truly dreadful eczema--weeping, open sores. It hurts my heart to look at his poor skin. Thank you so much for posting this information!!!!!!

    1. Poor thing! I hope that good care will improve it.

  5. I thought you had to be at least 4 to take benadryl?

    1. The package does have a higher age, but the doctor told us it was okay for Baby to use. We dose by weight. I use it only as a last resort.

  6. Poor baby! I have a large patch on my leg and the itching drives me nuts so I cannot imagine it for a baby. The two things that help mine are coconut oil since it is healing and a natural peppermint lotion that I order from Heritage Essential Oils . com. The peppermint lotion is soothing because it is cooling but I would not put it on the entire body. It really calms the itch at bedtime for me. Praying for your sweet little one.