One of the hardest things about parenting a baby with eczema are the sleepless nights; babies can be distressed, uncomfortable and itchy all night long. In this blog we look at whether what they wear to bed can help them - and their parents - get a better night’s sleep.
What a baby with eczema wears to bed needs to tick certain eczema-friendly boxes, because sometimes bedding and sleepsuits can be the cause of a great deal of itching and distress.
Here’s a checklist of what to consider:
Sleepsuits and bedding should be detergent free: washing powders are responsible for a huge amount of eczema flares! Even apparently gentle, non-bio detergents can trigger the itch. We’d recommend finding the gentlest eco-friendly laundry liquid you can, and running your baby’s bedding and clothes through an extra cycle without detergent, to make sure they’re as free as possible from potentially-irritating residue.
Making sure sleepsuits or sheets won’t flare-up your baby’s sensitive skin means picking fabrics that are natural and non-irritant. Try unbleached cotton, silk, hemp or bamboo against their skin, rather than polyester. But beware of wool, which might be natural but can also trigger flare-ups in sensitive skin!
FREE FROM CHEMICALS
Brand new clothes or bedding can contain chemicals from the processing of the material; pick organic versions if you can, but give anything your baby will wear or come into contact with a warm wash in the machine without detergent before they wear them.
Make sure you’re not overheating your baby at night: eczema-prone babies can get hot and bothered very quickly, and that can set off a fit of itching.
Use loose-fitting, fine clothes or bedding and adjust temperature to suit them, rather than thick one-layered clothes.
Be aware of tog ratings for baby sleeping bags so they don’t overheat, and never put hats on full term babies indoors.
Often the simplest, easiest thing for a baby with eczema to wear at night is a thin all-in-one cotton sleepsuit or babygro, which can be quickly removed if it gets wet, or oily from emollients.
If you’re using wet wraps, then you can use a dry sleepsuit as the top layer. See our Wet Wrapping Guide for more information.
Some little babies with eczema benefit from wearing scratch mitts or scratch sleeves overnight, to stop themselves from scratching and damaging their skin. (Scratched skin is vulnerable to infection, and perpetuates the itch-scratch cycle.)
Many tiny babies love the feeling of being swaddled; it can calm them down enough for them to fall asleep, and keeps hands from scratching their skin. Pick a light swaddle - there are some lovely cool merino wool swaddle blankets available - and keep the room cool. Make sure you practice safe swaddling: here’s a good article from the NCT about it: Swaddling a baby: the benefits, risks and seven safety tips.
Recommended products for babies prone to eczema:
Balmonds Skin Salvation
with hemp and beeswax
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream
with shea butter and calendula
Bath & Body Oil
with lavender, hemp and olive
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.