Help your baby's eczema with these easy dermatologist tips

This post is part of a sponsorship with Aveeno.

After having two kids with eczema problems, I can safely say that babies + itchy skin = no fun for the little ones or for mom. The quest to find the right lotion/cream/wash can be expensive, frustrating and seemingly hopeless.

When my son started getting red, patchy spots around his mouth and on his arms at 6 months old, I raised concern at his next well-child checkup. His pediatrician identified the skin condition as eczema, suggesting that we try an Aveeno lotion made just for babies. I was skeptical at first (because everything else we had tried failed,) but the soothing oatmeal-infused lotion did wonders for his skin.

zachmomgraduation 225x300 Help your babys eczema with these easy dermatologist tips

Poor itchy-faced guy

While the Aveeno lotion helped quite a bit, my son’s severe form of eczema required prescription medication for his face to clear up entirely. My 8-month-old daughter’s moderate eczema, however, is now completely controlled by over-the-counter products — specifically Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream.

So what’s up with eczema? Why does it happen to babies? How can parents help? I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jeanine Downie, M.D., a dermatologist with Image Dermatology in Montclair, NJ. Downie offered her expertise on the topic of eczema, providing guidance for parents to help ease their little ones’ itchy skin.

What are the signs of eczema? How do I know if my baby has it?

Eczema can strike particularly in the creases and folds of their necks and elbows and behind the knees, Downie noted — and especially the hands, arms and faces of babies as a result of drooling.

“Red, itchy, rough bumps,” Downie said, describing the symptoms. “They can be red, itchy, dry patches of skin; yellow, crusted, bleeding patches of skin. And in some people, it’s actually white patches that you’ll see especially on their face.”

There are actually four main types of eczema, Downie explained, including pityriasis alba, keratosis pilaris, papular atopic dermatitis and classic eczema, which is also known as atopic dermatitis.

What causes eczema?

“Eczema is genetic — it runs in families,” Downie said. “If it’s not in your generation of family, then maybe it skipped a generation.”

Triggers that tend to aggravate eczema include stress, hormonal fluctuations and exposure to highly-scented products, she noted.

“I have the mothers wash the clothes with Dreft, or All free detergent, or Arm & Hammer,” she said. “I have them use no fabric softener.”

Some fabrics, such as wool, can also potentially cause a flare, Downie added. For babies, drool is often a trigger, too.

What can I do to ease my baby’s eczema and discomfort?

The first order of business, Downie stressed, is to trim baby’s nails.

“And then the second order of business is hydrate the skin,” she said. “Because a lot of times, if you just take away their ability to scratch the heck out of themselves and hydrate their skin, you’re doing a ton.”

“I do love a lot of the Aveeno Baby stuff for children,” Downie said. “Especially the Aveeno Skin Relief Shower and Bath Oil. I have my patients use it all of the time for their babies, kids and even young adults. And put that in and then put the Aveeno oatmeal bath in. And I have them use the unscented Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash to bathe their children, and that works out as a fantastic combination.”

Why are Aveeno Baby products so effective for treating eczema?

“They provide a great barrier,” Downie said. “They’re very, very soothing because of the oatmeal in them. They don’t have a lot of other chemicals and byproducts in there. They don’t have any scents, so they’re very pure products.”

When should I consult a specialist?

“So you trim the nails, use the Aveeno,” Downie said. “If that’s not working, see a dermatologist because it can get so much worse, so quickly … If it’s not going away with simple, over-the-counter procedures, it’s time to see a board-certified dermatologist.”

aveeno baby logo1 Help your babys eczema with these easy dermatologist tips

This post is part of a sponsorship with Aveeno.

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Mombies: They're real in this funny Thriller video parody

It’s close to midnight and someone little is lurking in the dark. Doesn’t it always feel like 30 seconds after you slip into a nice, peaceful slumber you hear someone whisper “Mommy!” two inches from your face? I’m convinced my kids knew the precise moment I lost consciousness and waited to capitalize on it. My friends who did the Shake it Off parody a few weeks ago are at it again. This time they’ve taken on two favorite topics – potty training a toddler and sleep deprivation. They put a Halloween spin on it and give us Mombie realness to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Hello, nod to my 80′s childhood!

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I can relate to the crazy hair and dark circles under my eyes. My girls are older now and I don’t get many sleepless nights, but I remember them well. My first would sleep in 90 minute stretches with a 45 minute nursing session in between. Yawn. That same child didn’t sleep through the night until she was nearly two and a half. Her baby sister gave me eight hour stretches well before big sis. And I don’t mean just in chronological age. I mean I was literally getting up with my toddler while the baby sleep peacefully! Oh well. It’s all in the job description. Thankfully, so is caffeine and napping when the baby naps. I will say, however, that middle-of-the-night sheet changes will forever remain on the “least favorite night-time activity” list. It doesn’t matter what bodily fluid is on them. It’s never fun! If I could somehow confirm that one of my mom friends is up at that hour, I’d definitely meet in the middle of the street, do a fun dance, and then rant!

Photo: Machel Green

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Why do we lie to our kids about Columbus Day?

Today is Columbus Day. Maybe you have this day off. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you even live in an area that swapped out Columbus Day for Indigenous Peoples Day. Wherever you live, if you’re an American I can bet that your introduction to this day probably involved hearing some sort of rhyme about the date of Columbus’ famous voyage and the color of the ocean. It probably didn’t involve mass murder, children being sold into sexual slavery, or the simple fact that people in the 15th century did not in fact believe that the world was flat.

Columbus Day comes from a variety of different factors, including the fact that he was a source of pride for those with Italian heritage, the fact that poets and politicians alike used his voyage as a way of pushing certain patriotic ideals, and the fact that religious groups such as the Knights of Columbus had a vested interest in making sure that nobody associated them with a guy who was directly responsible for the murder and enslavement of thousands of people.

I am not going to delve into Christopher Columbus’ many sins, but I am going to question why schools routinely gloss over this part of history. Why should a comic strip from the Oatmeal or a clip from Last Week Tonight be more accurate than years of public education?

Is it because we don’t think kids can take concepts like slavery and genocide (even though we bring that stuff up when teaching about the Civil War or that the founding fathers owned slaves)? I guess I can kind of get that, although it seems cowardly of us as a society to want to whitewash our own history and disrespectful to kids to think that they can’t handle truths about our past.

But let’s set aside the bloodier parts of Columbus’ legacy and stick to something simple like the “people though the Earth was flat” myth. Why do we need to push this concept so hard when just about every scholar from that period knew the Earth was round? Promoting the concept that the flat-Earth view was the norm is like saying that the majority of people nowadays don’t believe that evolution is a thing – you might be right about a small minority of people, but most of our populace is more educated than that.

Columbus Day isn’t the only holiday where we encourage our schools to flat out lie to kids. Thanksgiving is coming up, and it’s in the same boat. I’m not saying that we need to turn fun holiday time into gruesome tales about the Trail of Tears, but some acknowledgement of the fact that the image of Squanto bringing maize to some happy and strangely tolerant pilgrims is a myth would be nice.

I guess my request would be that if we’re not going to teach kids the truth about our holidays that we don’t teach them anything at all. That way there’s at least a chance they something through independent study instead of getting their heads filled with falsehoods.

Whether Columbus Day continues to be a thing, disappears from our calendars, or becomes Indigenous Peoples Day across the country, can we at least cut down on teaching the “people thought the Earth was flat, the Indians were happy to see Columbus, and everybody lived happily ever after” myth in school? The less I need to tell my kids that what they’re learning is completely wrong, the better.

Pic: Alex Gruchenko

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Should all births be considered 'natural' births?

The other day my husband and I were bickering at each other while cleaning up the kitchen. Everyone in the house was on edge because Daniel, Frankie, and I were all crabby and under the weather with a nasty head cold.

I honestly cannot even remember what we were nagging at one another about, but one of Ryan’s comments was a low-blow. I said something stupid like, “Well, I was the one who gave birth to them, so I know what they need more than you do.” Then came the stinger – “You had C-sections, so that doesn’t really count.”

Coincidentally, I found this piece of writing the next day. While the author of the article titled Why Having an Epidural Should Count as Having a Natural Birth was talking more about medicated child birth than cesarean sections, so much of what she said resonated with me.

Mehera Bonner mentioned that it is particularly in vogue with millennial moms to try for natural births. And while this is mostly a good thing, it can leave moms who choose to have epidurals or end up having C-sections feeling like second-class citizens. Bonner states,

By classifying Cesarean and medicated vaginal births as unnatural, mothers who prioritize natural delivery are potentially put in a position of feeling inferior if their birth plan is unexpectedly thrown out the window. An unplanned emergency C-section is stressful enough without worrying that your birth experience was somehow less legitimate and authentic than you’d hoped.

While I did not have any of my C-sections by choice, I still feel a little bit guilty and embarrassed that I was not able to pull off a “natural” birth. I have so much respect for women who are willing and able to go through the birth of a child au natural. That being said, I don’t think having a child any other way should be looked down upon.

And while I’m sure my husband didn’t mean to hurt my feelings, and later apologized, it did feel good to put him in his place by saying, “Yeah and it was a real dream to be strapped down and have half of my organs removed just to avoid having ‘real’ birth.”

In the article mentioned above, Bonner states that we should eliminate the word “natural” in describing child birth and instead go with “medicated” and “un-medicated.” While I’m not as particular on my wording, I do feel we need to recognize that every child’s birth is special and unique. And maybe we need to be a little bit more understanding of the mothers who end up having more medical assistance in their labor, whether it is by choice or not.

Check out these unique and special birth stories:

Photo credit: Lou Bueno, Flickr.

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Simon Cowell is "not exactly a hands-on dad"

Simon Cowell is perfectly fine with letting hired helpers do the lion’s share of caring for his son Eric. The television mogul, who became a first-time father in February at the age of 54, has opened up to Hello! about his family by sharing he may someday marry Lauren Silverman.

“I’ve never said no to marriage, but then again I couldn’t imagine having a kid at one point and now look at me,” he explained.

“I guess I was always nervous I may not end up getting on particularly well with the person I was going to have a kid with and I didn’t want to make the wrong decision. The fact is, our baby wasn’t planned was actually the best thing for us to have done and we’re very happy now.”

Simon Cowell fatherhood Simon Cowell is not exactly a hands on dad

“I’m probably in a far better position to be a father now than I would have been ten years ago,” Simon Cowell went on to say. “That’s the way I’d look at it. And at the end of the day we have really great nannies that are bloody amazing so I don’t have to worry.

“I’m going to be honest — I’m not exactly a hands-on dad. I want to fast forward a few years so I can take him go-karting and then introduce him to women. There are a few years to go yet.”

In a time when baby-wearing, stay-at-home dads are getting high praise it’s a bit unusual to hear a man be so open about not taking on childcare duties. Frankly, I appreciate his honesty and can’t say I wouldn’t be tempted to take the same approach if I were in his shoes.

Although there are perks to being the one who does the diaper changing (such a prime opportunity for grins and giggles!), feeding and bathing, those things do tend to lose their charm when done day-in and day-out. The idea of working at a fulfilling career and bonding with baby during the best bits, but being able to pass them off to skilled hands as needed, sounds quite tempting.

Photo: PR Photos

A look celebrity kids out with their caretakers:

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