Toddlers with Eczema: 9 Ways I Taught Myself to Take Care of My Daughter’s Rashes

Toddlers with Eczema: 9 Ways I Taught Myself to Take Care of My Daughter's Rashes | mrsmommymack.comAlmost exactly a year ago, we FINALLY figured out what was going on with my daughter’s skin. Since birth she had crunchy skin. It started as cradle cap and blossomed across her body. Specifically, she gets very red, cracked ankles and knees. I spent months carting her from pediatrician to pediatrician who were very eager to dole out steroids without giving me a REASON for her painful skin. She kept herself up at night scratching, dug in her poopy diapers to itch her butt and I was not going to let my peach keep hurting. I needed answers.

She was finally diagnosed with eczema after breaking out in hives from eating eggs. The doctors finally put two and two together and realized that her skin rashes were from allergies (eggs, peanuts, dogs, cats, soy, dairy and dust to name a few). This is after me questioning them on allergies and our pets since she was born, to which they all poo-pooed me saying that her having allergies is very uncommon. Needless to say, once I left with her laundry list of allergies I was fuming. Why doesn’t anyone listen to moms?!

With this new diagnosis, I had no way how to deal with it. I needed guidance. What can she eat? Will it go away? Does she need an epi-pen? All of which were answered with, “We don’t know. It’s all trial and error and you’d be better off researching this online and finding out what she can and cannot have.”

WHAT?!

So, after a year of raising a toddler (two in November) with non-stop eczema, I figured I would give some pointers out there for parents who are as dumbfounded as I once was.

1. Facebook groups are great. There are TONS of groups out there for parents of kids with allergies and you will need a support system. Get following them ASAP and don’t be afraid to ask ANY questions you might have. We have all been there. A few I recommend are: Kids with Food Allergies Foundation, Allergies (egg/milk) Parent Support Group, and National Eczema Association.

2. Get an epi pen. While eczema isn’t always caused by allergies, if you’re concerned, get at least a few. Keep them at your home, train all grandparents and caregivers on using them, get spares, and keep on top of expiration dates. Note: When you pick them up at the pharmacy, check the expiration date ASAP. I have gotten burned on getting ones that expire in a couple weeks.

3. NO SOAP. My heart broke into a thousand pieces after getting home from the allergist and realizing I had been rubbing milk-based soaps into my daughter’s open sores. We don’t use soap unless it’s critical (spaghetti night). Then, it has to be unscented and very small amounts. No bubble baths or scented lotions!

4. Oatmeal baths. This was a huge win for us. Aveeno makes a oatmeal bath for eczema, but for $10 a package, we really couldn’t afford to do this each night. So, my amazing mother-in-law ground up oatmeal and packaged them in pantyhose for individual servings and MUCH less expensive!

5. Cortisone cream. I spent months fighting this battle. I have a closet full of creams, lotions, ointments and salves. The only cream that even remotely soothed her was cortisone cream. I don’t like using this regularly, but after her baths and before bed she gets lathered to avoid scratching until she bleeds. EDIT: Thank you to reader Tikeetha T who said this tip might not be a good avenue for African American children since she experienced lightening of her son’s skin when treating his eczema.

6. Swimming pools! Well, this is my most favorite treatment for my girl. Chlorine cleans and soothes eczema like a dream! Slap on that bikini and have her swim until she’s a prune. Makes things clear up wonderfully.

7. Keep antihistamines everywhere. I’m talking: diaper bag, car, grandma’s, campers, daycare… every where you take your child you’ll need some. It never fails you’ll forget it and need an emergency drugstore run. Our favorites are Zyrtec (if she’s badly broken out, she gets some in her sippy cup at bedtime to help her not scratch in her sleep) and Children’s Benadryl.

8. Teach your other children and family the triggers. My three-year-old son has no allergies or eczema. But, he understands that he canNOT give his sister his cow’s milk, cheese or eggs. He is very cautious with giving her food because he knows she can get sick and sees her sore legs. Family members are much to eager to dole out baked goods to my daughter and have been reprimanded enough times to know that permission needs to be granted before she can have ANYTHING.

9. Be prepared. This is one I am going to reiterate. Having a child with eczema or allergies can make you want to batten down the hatches and not move from your home in fear of a breakout. That’s no way to live your life. Just prepare yourself for breakouts. Know what soothes your child the best and quickest and learn the early signs of a breakout. This helps avoid the overwhelming parental guilt that comes with those itchy little fingers.

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Don’t Give My Kids Ideas

I get it, sometimes it's hard not to swear in front of children. But, if you say the words: ice cream, park, toys, prizes, treats, candy, cake, soda, or adventure in front of my kids and don't have one in your pocket, I will unleash the fire of a thousand suns. {mrsmommymack.com}

One of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, hit the nail on the head when talking about children and their one-track minds. He joked about how he and his wife were nonchalantly talking about ice cream and his child screamed “CHOCOLATE!” for the remainder of their road trip. Despite their desperate pleas, the child never stopped.

This is what it’s like having a toddler.

Every.
Single.
Day.

I don’t know if this is something new for us Millennial Parents, because my mom seems to have completely gone off the tracks when dealing with my sons leech-like mind. For example, we took a trip to the zoo recently. Boy were we excited! After an an entire morning packing, a half-hour drive and a good 20 minutes getting us out of the vehicle, we arrived! My mom, my 3-year-old son, one-year-old daughter and I grabbed our tickets and headed in, right past the gift shop.

“PRIZES!” My son exclaimed at unnerving volumes.

I began my spiel of, “Oh now, nice! Aren’t those pretty? Look! I think that LION KNOWS HOW TO TALK!” In a 100% effective way to distract him from the fluorescent monkeys.

My mother, however, apparently had a stroke on the trip over and blurted, “I will get you one of those prizes on the way back, my dear, sweet baby angel!”

I whipped my head around in hopes my son was (temporarily!) missing and did not hear my mother’s pirate mouth. No such luck.

From that moment forward, no matter how many white lies I told about the animals abilities to talk/walk/play poker at night, my son was over it.

“Yeah, I’ve seen enough animals. Time for a prize!” He said after merely passing a chipmunk on the way to the first animal exhibit.

That was it. That’s all we heard. Every step we took further away from the gift shop, the more my son hated animals for even existing. So, the trip lasted a quick lap around the zoo and my son raced into the gift shop. My mom then proceeded to tell my children they could have anything they wanted because, Lord knows we should give the little hustler the Taj Mahal. After careful, intricate, meticulous, hair-pulling deliberation, my son chose a pen. That was his prize. My daughter “picked” a monkey (she’s 1, let’s face it, I handed it to her and it was the best thing that ever happened to her) and my son could have had anything in the store and he picked a pen. Priorities.

So, after the zoo trip, I have been coaching friends and family not to speak of anything children might even fathom to enjoy unless you have it in your pocket and don’t ever want to see it again. Things have been moving smoothly, until today.

You see, I just got myself a double stroller and my husband has been taking our car to work. That means: anywhere we want to go is by foot with me pushing 60 pounds of toddler through 85 degree weather. Today, we had to drop some paperwork off at the insurance office. It was only a little over a mile away, but it’s hot, my kids and squirrely and I’m fat. By the time we got there, I was red as a plum, we were all out of water and I had to shit. In other words, we were done.

The receptionist decided she wanted to strike up a conversation, however. She was: talking to the kids, advising me on putting some more sunscreen on myself due to the fact that I looked like I was melting and then asked if we WERE HEADED TO THE PARK NEXT. 

Instantly, I had visions of taking her padded headband and shoving it down her throat. But, there were too many witnesses.

My son instantly shot up, “YEAH!!!! The park!!! Let’s GO!!!!!!”

Mind you, the park is three miles away and I’m nearing cardiac arrest. So, don’t judge me for not schlepping us across town.

After shooting the deepest death glare I could muster at Little-Miss-Parky-Pants, we left. I tried so hard to change the subject. So fucking hard.

I pointed at a seagull, “Hey buddy! Look! It’s an eagle!”

“Cool mom! Maybe he wants to come to the park with us?”

Next attempt, “Aren’t you getting thirsty? I bet you can’t wait to get home to have some SODA! What a treat!”

“No thanks, Mom. I will be thirsty at the park!”

Again, “Don’t you want to wash down that soda with some ICE CREAM! You can have Mom’s special ice cream she hides in the ice maker for after you go to bed!”

“Hmmmm, maybe later, Mom. We gotta go to the PARK!”

Finally, I shot it to him straight, “OK, Mom didn’t want to tell the lady at the office this, but the park is closed today. We can’t go there! But we can go tomorrow and you can tell DAD all about it when he gets home from work?”

Pause…

“OK!!!! Now, let’s go have soda and ice cream all day!!!!”

So, now I have to deal with the guilt of: not killing myself trying to get them to the park, LYING to a CHILD, and the fact that my husband will have to hear about the park for an entire two hours tonight when he gets home.

Looks like tomorrow I’m getting a workout.

Back to My Favorite Place on Earth: Turd Island

For the majority of the past three years, I have been a working mom. I have had several different jobs — trying my hand at: insurance, investments, bank, selling homes and call centers. Nothing had the “joie de vivre” to keep me from having mental breaks after a few months away from my two turkey muffins. Like clockwork, I would slowly feel the gusto fade into the mist with each place of employ and feel that same jubilee turn into a deep, dark pit of despair.

Once I was in this place for the umpteenth time in the past few years, my husband decided he’d had enough of seeing me struggle to stay happy. He was going to head out into the world of 401(k)’s, PTO, meetings and office drama. It was my turn to be the stay at home parent. HIP, HIP, HOORAY!

I was over-the-moon proud and grateful to my husband. To celebrate, we decided to have a little family pool party at my mom’s house. We: raced over, splattered on sunscreen, shimmied into our swimsuits and filled a bag of water balloons. This is the life!

After a couple hours slip-sliding, my son came running over…

“Poop!” My three-year-old son screamed while running through the backyard. Since my son likes to announce every Lincoln Log my pug deposits in the lawn, I thought nothing of his poop declaration. That is until I saw him tug at his butt crack through his trunks…

Sure enough, a sopping shart had soiled his trunks and Dad quickly ushered him to the bathroom to be hosed down. I took the time to sip my ice cold beer and giggle to myself how I dodged quite the messy bullet. Well, until I saw a rock hard bulge in my one-year-old daughter’s bikini bottoms. Luckily, I was able to slide them off of her and fling the turd in the garbage without much shrapnel on the scene. While I happily sprayed her bottoms and smiled at my fortune for getting the less disastrous of the two crime scenes, I saw something fire like a green shooting star across my mom’s patio. The speed and velocity of this mass of diarrhea was not something I had ever mentally prepared for when entering motherhood. This cherub-esque doll of a child didn’t even stop playing kitchen for a beat while firing on all cylinders across the concrete.

Looks like Karma is a very, very mean bitch. Now I am pretty sure my mom’s neighbors think we were cleaning up criminal DNA all afternoon with all of the hose spraying, bleach dumping and whimpering screams of disgust.

Needless to say, my kids quickly reminded me that my rose-colored outlook on being the stay-at-home parent isn’t going to be just smelling their sweetly sweaty heads all day. Sometimes, shit is going to get real and I am 100% over the moon, nonetheless.