A dad’s position as baby’s caregiver is often underrated. This does not mean their roles in an eczema baby’s life is any less significant than mums.
I often write and talk about how mums feel and cope with parenting eczema and allergic babies. Seldom do I ask a dad how they cope. So a month ago, I broached the idea of writing about a dad’s perspective on caring for eczema babies.
Benjamin is one of my support group (SPEAK) members who has posted some really useful tips in the group. He agreed to share his journey thus far and also shared some really useful tips for parenting eczema babies.
Dads face similar emotions as mums do when caring for eczema babies
He emailed me a heartfelt post which resonated with my own experience four years ago.
Reading his story, I felt a tinge of regret that I did not pay more attention to how my hubs might have been feeling at that point. It has also made me realise that dads face similar emotional challenges as mum do when dealing with eczema in babies for the first time.
The difference though, is that dads are at times able to cut through the emotional conflict faster than mums.
Perhaps its a left brain dominance that allows dads to shut out unhelpful data while mums tend to dwell longer in our feelings.
Benjamin’s story also emphasises the strength of a dad’s logical thought process where decisions are made after thoughtful research (and not just through emotions).
These strengths of dads’ should be leveraged upon by mums everywhere, and we could all do with learning to lean on our better halves once in a while. His story has definitely reminded me I should appreciate my husband for being my pillar and rock.
Here’s Benjamin’s email to me:
Benjamin’s Journey as an Eczema dad
My name is Benjamin and I work in the retail industry. Our lovely boy Ambrose was born in December 2019. Like all parents, having your first child is a new chapter to your life. Filled with excitement, apprehension, and constant surprises.
Everything was well till Ambrose was three months old. That was when his skin started becoming dry and rough. One morning, Ambrose eyes became swollen and rough, dry patches appeared on both his eyelids. At that point, we knew nothing about allergies or what could cause eczema flares. We attributed his condition to cradle cap, which is something common in most newborns.
His situation did not get better after two days of constant moisturising (with physiogel lotion), so we brought him to the pediatrician who first attended to him when he was born. When the doctor saw Ambrose’s condition, she said “Oh he has sensitive skin” without further explanation. She prescribed Ceradan advance and after applying for two days, Amborse’s condition worsened instead of improving. We started seeking help from google, relatives, friends, as well as seeking opinions from different paediatricians.
Along with seeing multiple pediatricians, we were subsequently introduced to mild steroid cream. When we were first introduced to steroid cream, my wife was very reluctant to apply it on our boy’s face. At that same time, there were different inputs from family members on how best to treat our son’s eczema. All kinds of theories and methods threw us into confusion. Thereby leading to heated arguments between me and my wife about the best options to treat our boy’s eczema. When nothing seemed to work, we resorted to blaming each other as well. It took a toll on my emotions and I started to get very paranoid about Ambrose’s hygiene, his surrounding environment and would even hallucinate about the different factors that could have caused my boy’s eczema to flare up. I started purchasing multiple creams to apply on Ambrose’s face and instead of seeing positive results, his eczema never recovered.
Then, we finally met our current paediatrician who specialises in allergy and immunology. Under her care, my wife and I were able to come to proper consensus on the treatment plan for Ambrose. Our doctor is very patient and has been able to calms all our fears and concerns. Being a first-time parent (with no eczema history), we never thought that one fine day; the flawless skin of our precious son will break down into red, dry, rough, and oozy skin. Initially it was quite heart-wrenching seeing our son suffering while we did not know how to ease his suffering. We broke down a few times and eventually after speaking to our current paediatrician, we came to terms with the fact that there is no miracle cure for eczema. It requires constant and consistent approach to monitoring daily diet, as well as hygiene. In short, you need to manage it religiously.
Ambrose recently had his skin prick test done and the results were all negative. I.e. no food allergy. However, his eczema is still present. Therefore we are taking this whole month to introduce high risk food instructed by our paediatrician. We hope that he will eventually outgrow his eczema one day and be cleared of any food allergy. But we now know this will not resolve overnight.
Today,Ambrose is 6 months and a happy baby. Despite the eczema, he is always full of smiles. He doesn’t frown much and is very playful. His positivity is often the drive that keeps us going. It is like his way of telling us “Mom and Dad, I will be well. Don’t worry!” He has yet started to crawl, but he is eager to stand up and jump. Ambrose is also a curious boy and he has learnt how to pass toys from one hand to another. This is something we are proud of and we are looking forward to more surprises from him in the coming months!
As for the eczema, my wife and I have come to accept his current situation and we have learnt to live and grow with him.
A few things I have learnt being a father to an eczema child:
You have to be the pillar of your household. Assure your wife and yourself that everything is going to be fine eventually.
Be on the same team as your wife as she will be the next closest caretaker of our baby. Only by coming to a consensus with your partner, will you are able to move forward with a constructive plan for your eczema child without having the stress of constant disagreement.
Always opt to see an allergist or paediatrician who specialises in allergy or dermatology. Once you find a connection with a particular doctor or specialist, stick to this medical expert rather than seeking multiple opinions. Afterall, no one has an exact answers why eczema really exists, or what leads to a flare up etc. We can’t cure it, but we can manage it.
Lastly, accept and acknowledge your situation. Rather than complaining, deal with the situation bravely and Carry on.
Happy Father’s Day to all our eczema and allergy dads!
All opinions and views expressed herein are the author’s own and not anyone else’s. Any quotes from medical healthcare professionals are written from the author’s perspective and should not be construed as medical advice. Every child and every symptom is different thus it is important to seek advice from a professional allergist or dermatologist for your unique situation. All images and pictures on this website cannot be used or downloaded without permission.
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