Your Scratching Baby – Tips For Soothing Skin And Stopping The Itch

One of the most frustrating situations any parent can be faced with is a baby who scratches. There are many causes for itchy skin, but sometimes it can seem like a true mystery to figure out just what’s behind the irritation your baby is dealing with. The good news is that there are some general treatments and techniques that may help alleviate or at least cut down on the itchy skin that causes your baby to scratch.

Scratching is a natural response

The first thing to keep in mind is that if your baby scratches – there’s a reason for it. Scratching is a very natural reaction to irritated, itchy, dry, or inflamed skin, so if your baby is showing the signs of scratching more that a few times a day, something is probably going on. Working with your pediatrician to rule out any easily treated skin issues is a great first step. Or go rogue, if you’ve already gone the traditional route, begin investigating what’s causing the itch through personal research! Eczema, allergies, and asthma are common with kids and are often related to each other, between you and your pediatrician, there are great resources to treat each concern both naturally and through medication.

Related: Eczema and Teething

We recommend a two part process to tracking the trouble caused by itchy skin in your baby. Number one, keep a journal and a ScratchMeNot on hand. Intense scratching can introduce bacterial to broken skin and undo any progress made to heal the skin. Trust me, gift yourself peace and your little one relief with a pair of Flip Mitten Sleeves. Now back to journaling >> This may sound silly – but journaling can create miracles in your life! Every time you notice that your baby is itching, make a brief note in a special notebook about what they are wearing, what they ate last, any products you recently applied to their skin (soaps, lotions, shampoo, powders, etc.), and anything else of importance. Maybe your memory is awesome and you don’t need a journal buttt Mom Brain is very real. No need to stress your brain to remember what a quick phone memo or journal can do for you. This can help you quickly find a pattern and handle a food allergy, detergent sensitivity, fabric sensitivity, environmental allergies or even just time of the day when things seem to get worse. Knowledge is power!

Frequent moisturizing is a must

The second step is to choose an all natural and totally gentle moisturizer that is safe for use on all of your baby’s skin. Moisturize several times a day – especially if dry skin seems to be part of the problem. Often time a little hydration can cut back on how irritated the skin feels which can help baby stop the itching and scratching cycle. Make sure to choose layer creams from light to heavy after a bath to lock in the moisture. And don’t forget the lips! Lip balm goes a long way especially if your little one loves to lick their lips or just under the nose.

For a list of what works with other baby’s, keep an eye on our other blog posts to see the suggestions posted by other parents. If you’ve found the perfect cream, lotion or emollient – share with us in the comments section below so that other parents may benefit from your experience.

Related: Cleaning Without Itching

Finally, recognizing that itching and scratching can be a vicious cycle can help stop the process all together. Often times itchy skin quickly leads to scratching, and the scratching leads to more irritated and itchy skin! Stopping the ‘Scratch-Itch’ cycle starts the victory over problems associated with scratching babies. For a simple way to stop the cycle in its tracks, get ScratchMeNots flip mittens to cover those scratching fingers in a unique way!

Increase liquid intake

Water water water is hydration to the body, but don’t forget lots of fruit which has natural water with vitamins and minerals. Look for ways to increase water intake and natural juices in non-processed form which means no added sugar and simple ingredients.

23 thoughts on “Your Scratching Baby – Tips For Soothing Skin And Stopping The Itch

  1. Tun says:

    This article is very useful. I would make a diary for my baby. Until now, I noticed that she is very sensitive to heat. Even one or two degrees is a matter for her. During the winter, she doesn’t need a sweater. A lot of people suggested me to wrap her in warm clothes. Every time, I wore her warm clothes, her eczema worsens ( I knew it later). She can wears only cotton. Even 1% of spandex in my pants made her verbal flare up ( I noticed later ). She doesn’t need organic cotton but she is good only with 100% cotton (kind of poplin). Polyester, spandex, nylon and wool are her enemies. Only those two things I did find out but I cannot control her eczema yet. Her doctor suggested me to find out the cause by writing down diary. So far, she has no known food allergy. Her scalp becomes very dry these days. I am looking for coconut oil. Most of the nights, I hold her hands while she was sleeping. I’d love to share her story more if some parents benefit from it. Let me stop here. Now my precious is sleeping she bites my little finger while I am holding her hands and my other hand writes a comment.

    • Liv says:

      For eczema we use cetaphil bar soap and cetaphil restoraderm lotion.for the occassional flare up we use elocon works wonders.we wash the clothes with white bar washing soap. This is what worked after 7 months of suffering trying a whole range of products .plus we use hypoallergenic formula n avoid sweating.hope the his helps.

    • Helen says:

      Hello, thank you for your comment. I think I have similar issue with my 4month old son. I know kids have that cap thing on their head until soft spot closes, but my son is killing himself with trying to scratch his head. We used to put olive oil, helps a bit, then someone recommended Vaseline, I think it makes it worse. Now I’m blaming the mattress that has plastic cover. I wear only cotton clothing and just very little. He is easy to get overheated. I can’t think of anything else to help him out. Any thoughts?

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  3. Tiffany says:

    my son has Eczema reallly bad and I have tried everything in the last 6 months. I started 2 weeks ago useing Rodan and Fields product the Sooth line. I have just started useing it on his face and have noticed some chenge for the better. We give him benadryl sometimes for the itching on his scalp. I need suggestions o what to use on his scalp for him to stop scratching. We currently use Aveno for Eczema on his entire body multiple times a day. He only wears 100% cotten clothes, I use dye free scent free hypoalgernic laundry detergent and I do not use any perfumes or body sprays on myself either.

    • Lin says:

      My baby girl cannot even use the aveeno eczema therapy lotion. It turns her skin bright red. Her pediatrician recommended Eucerin cream and so far it has helped a lot. She’s still scratching her face and head a lot in her sleep though. I have to hold her hands down to get her to sleep. We have an appointment with the dermatologist next week. If they give us any useful advice I will be sure to post it here for you ladies.

      • smn says:

        Thanks Lin, we’d love to hear any advice you find along the way to help others on this eczema journey! We’ve found that all natural oils like olive oil, coconut oil really help lock in moisture. Or creams that calendula work well. Aquaphor, though not natural, has helped seal in the moisture and allow eczema to calm down. We hope you’re able to figure out what’s causing the eczema to flare! For us it was food allergies…once we figured this out, removed them from the diet, the eczema was greatly reduced. Thanks again for the comments!

    • smn says:

      Hi Tiffany,

      I polled some of our families who have experience with itchy scalps and here’s what they suggested:

      *Coconut Oil, Cervae Cream, No to Aveeno due to an oat allergy,
      *Change out everything that has any parabens or SLS in your home. Hand soaps, body lotions, creams, dish soap, dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent etc. in case of allergies.
      *Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera Juice
      *Aquaphor / Vaseline
      *T-Gel Shampoo
      *Coconut Oil & Lavender Oil

      The options above are great to choose from, especially if you prefer a 100% natural approach. Hope this helps!

    • Marj says:

      Hi. Was the rodan & fields recommended by the pediatric derma?y LOs face is almost burning coz he scratches it against the sheet at night. I’m desperate to help him with the itching. He’s only 5.5 months

  4. precious says:

    Hi I’m on the verge of giving up. My 1 year old is constantly scratching. It gets worse at night while she sleeps. She has eczema and after months of begging her doctor for a stronger cream they finally gave it to me. It helps a little but not enough. Now shes having problems with her scalp. She scratches her head and ears to the point where she draws blood. She also has a lot of scabs from scratching. I’ve tried reaching tea tree oil, medicated shampoos, and less hair washes. Your advice will be appreciated

    • Andrea says:

      Hi Precious,

      I’m so sorry to hear of the hard time you are having :/ With knowing a lot of background, have you been able to figure out what has been triggering the eczema? Many times it is food allergies, such as milk/dairy, citrus, nuts… those are some big ones. May want to try to eliminate these from her diet and yours (if you are nursing). The crazy thing about steroids is that they work for a time, then stop, requiring you to get even stronger steroids / creams .. It’s a vicious cycle. First things first, keep her hands covered. Whether ScratchMeNots (mittens or socks may work) will really help stop the scratching to the point of bleeding. She will still be able to rub and try to scratch but the damage won’t be caused. Try to eliminate a food for a few days to see if the itching and flares subside. Other causes could be detergents, fragrances, or teething! Yes, the stress of teething can trigger eczema.

      From my experience with eczema on the scalp is to wash it and not put ANY creams on it. It sounds crazy and like it won’t work but between changing the diet and washing with no creams (scalp only) worked for us. Mind you, it wasn’t overnight but took a week or so.
      Also, if she’s miserable, Benedryl will help calm down the itches for a little bit. Consult your doctor about the dosage.

      I also posted your question on our FB page and here are other parents suggestions!

      I hope this helps!

  5. Colleen says:

    Hi. My 1 year scratches her bum, vagina, under her chin and sometimes her ears. As soon as I take off her diaper she is scratching. Her skin is clear and looks like all of her other skin and yet she only scratches under the diaper. I have used creams, prescribed creams, different diapers, no soap and nothing helps. She wakes up in the middle of the night because she is do itchy. I don’t know what to do anymore. Has this happened to any one else’s children?

    • Andrea says:

      Sometimes the mixture of diaper dampness and/or heat irritates the diaper area. If you can do a different brand or give her a chance to air dry in between diaper changes. That may help!

  6. kat says:

    My grandson is 3 months and he scratches his face hand’s and legs I wonder can I give him a little benadryl ? He gets me to scratch his legs and he scratches my hands.

  7. Kineshw says:

    This our life every night. My daughter has horrible eczema. We have been to a dermatolgist and had an allergy test done. She is allergic to wheat, eggs, and peanuts, so I have cut all three out of my diet since she is breastfed. Her eczema is definitely better on her body but she still scratches her face like crazy at night if we are not holding her. We spend most of the night holding her hands.

    • Maria says:

      I have the same issue with my 6 month old and she’s been doing this since she was 2 months old. I was told that she has eczema and she developed cradle cap which caused her hair to fall out. I used t gel shampoo every night and them put raw Shea butter oil on her scalp and brushed it and it seemed to have worked it healed the cradle cap fairly well and now she just has a few dry spots but her hair is starting to grow in. I’m wondering if she has a food allergy because I’m breastfeeding but she constantly scratches her neck and face all the time and I’m monitoring it daily to see according to what I’m eating. I spend most of my time rubbing her down in Shea butter and coconut oil to help with the itching ( I guess it’s helping) and holding her hands to keep her from scratching until she bleeds. I have to cut her nails every 2 days. Her skin doesn’t look irritated but the scratching continues I just need to figure out now why that is .

  8. Anne says:

    Hi! My baby is now 5 months old and eczema free, yehey!!! Ask your doctor to prescribe you 1% hydrocortisone cream… But be sure to apply it twice a day for 7 or 10 days (depending on doctor’s orders) even the rashes has disappeared…
    As for my baby’s cradle cap, i tried coconut oil… It did help but did not totally clear my baby’s scalp… Tried washing his hair every 2 days, everyday, once a week but still the same (he has lots of hair). He is scratching his scalp to the point that it bleeds so i just spend my nights holding his hands… But not until I used WITCH HAZEL, i use moistened cotton ball with witch hazel and gently rub it against his scalp and after few minutes, the redness of his scalp is gone!

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