I was a lot more calm than I thought I would ever be if something were to suddenly happen to Declan. I wondered if I would be the mom that flings him into his care seat and goes zooming off to the emergency room the minute he had a scrape or sniffle. Last month he got what seemed like his first cold. Sniffles, a cough and no fever. I was pretty level headed. Sifting through a few trusted mommy sites I determined that the Doctor would merely send me home with written instructions and nothing more. I hesitated going to the doctors office because I didn’t want to expose him to even more illness if it wasn’t necessary. There isn’t much to do for babies under 6 months old for a simple cold especially if there isn’t a fever. So I gave his bed a slight slant, hooked up a warm steam humidifier and gave him all the love I could.
Now it seems 16 weeks, aka month 4 and counting, is filled with skin issues. From the start Declan had very dry skin, I would smother him in coconut oil but it seemed to soak in so fast that it would still leave him dry without a layer of moisture on top. So I thought I would try some baby lotion. I picked up Aveeno Baby, no fragrance and tested his leg one evening after a bath. The next morning his leg looked good. No rash or bumps, no redness and his skin looked nice. So I applied some lotion to his belly and arms which had the driest skin. Big mistake. Perhaps it was just time for him to break out or maybe it was the lotion that pushed his system over the edge but as you can see his body was not happy.
I felt horrible. I broke my baby. But I didn’t panic. I gave him a lukewarm bath to wash off any lotion that was remaining on his skin and drenched him in coconut oil, dressed him in light cotton onesie and grabbed my computer again.
The results were mixed, could be heat rash, allergic reaction or eczema. Heat rash and allergic reaction would work themselves out. He was breathing fine, didn’t seem to be in pain or itchy, so keeping his skin cool and keeping him calm was all that could be done. Then a few days went by and the irritation was still there. He wasn’t getting worse but his skin wasn’t looking better. This required a doctors visit now just to confirm my suspicions. Mild case of baby eczema. The hard part is not knowing whether this will work itself out over the years or if it will be a chronic condition he will always have to handle. My mommy guilt was kicking in. Was there something I could have done sooner to prevent it? Was using that lotion what started it and of course because it was me who applied it, was I still to blame?
Becoming a mother has changed me in some pretty powerful ways. I have never felt stronger and more determined to be great for someone else ever. I love my husband and I want to be my best for him but this, mothering, was so much more. And I have also never felt so unsure about my abilities as a capable person until becoming a mother. It is amazing and fucking scary at the same time. So to have Declan with something visible on his body that marks him that shows quite possibly that I have failed in someway, cuts me pretty deep, no matter how illogical the thought, it is still there.
I decided that if I was going to blame myself for “breaking” him then the only thing I could do was fix him. Back to the computer I went. Searching baby/mommy sites and googling eczema the most common solution was a natural one that would not remove the problem but would ease the visible signs, make him more comfortable and if it wasn’t eczema quite possible resolve it completely. The solution was a Calendula Salve. Does anyone else say salve 10 different ways with funny accents when they read the word too, I can’t help it, it’s like a tick. To the store and then to my kitchen I went to create what I hoped would be my redemption for hurting my baby.
I am still working on my own recipe and perfecting it but this one here was a good start for me. The outcome for Declan is still in the works but he has less flare ups and more smooth baby soft skin because of this natural solution. My mommy guilt is calming down and my super powers are starting to build up again. The Salve is so nice that I have started using it myself and it has cleared up tiny bumps that I had on my outer thighs and backs of my arms, plus is smells great. I loved making it so much that it has me contemplating making it to sell. I suppose I should look at Declan’s little, tiny in the grand scheme of things that could happen to a baby, problem as a blessing and possible money making business.