It’s National Eczema Week and helping to stop babies (and children) with eczema scratching can be a very difficult task. Eczema or atopic dermatitis is thought to affect 1 in 5 babies in the UK so if your little one suffers with eczema you are certainly not alone.
Atopic eczema causes the skin to become dry, itchy, cracked and sore. It can occur in small patches but some can experience it all over their body.
The exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown, but it's clear it is not down to one single thing. Atopic eczema often occurs in people who get allergies. "Atopic" means sensitivity to allergens. It can run in families, and often develops alongside other conditions, such as asthma and hay fever. The symptoms of atopic eczema often have certain triggers, such as soaps, detergents, stress and the weather (NHS website).
Eczema is itchy and the temptation to scratch can be difficult to ignore. Scratching usually damages the skin which in itself cause more eczema to occur. If scratched too much it can cause bleeding and increases the risk of the skin becoming infected or scared.
One of the obvious ways to stop your baby scratching their skin is to keep their nails short. We know how that this is sometimes easier said than done and is the reason why Baby Nails was born.
Newborn nails can be extremely sharp and trying to cut their moving hands can be a big parenting challenge. Filing is the safest method and is recommended from birth to keep babies nails short and clean. Although filing does take longer than using nail clippers it will also prevent any accidents nipping your baby’s skin.
Babies finger nails grow quickly so you will need to file at least twice a week.
Scratch mittens can be used but best to keep those nails cared for underneath as they have a tendency to come off leaving the nails exposed and ready to scratch.
The idea for Baby Nails came to me whilst sat breastfeeding my newborn son. He was always lovely and calm during or after feeding, just the perfect time to sit and file. As the Thumble® is worn (on the thumb) you can file and hold your baby close making nail care a time to bond with baby too. Picking a time to file i.e. whilst feeding or incorporating it into their bath time or bedtime routine (whilst sat reading) also helps your baby come more acceptant of it too.
Eczema is usually a long-term (chronic) condition, although it can improve significantly, or even clear completely, in some children as they get older. It is therefore important to make nail care a stress-free time from birth as keeping those nails trim is important throughout childhood too.
As you become more confident using nail scissors, choose a rounded edged pair of scissors (as available in our Mixed Pack) and then use the Thumble to file away any sharp edges that the scissor may leave.