Stopping itchy skin – our bedroom solutions
There is nothing worse than seeing your baby itchy. Watching their face or hands turn red with a dry, irritating rash and hearing their cries of frustration is enough to break any parent’s heart. Australia suffers from some of the worst rates of allergies around the world. Different types of allergic conditions include hay fever, food allergies, eczema and asthma. Babies are often more sensitive to the environment than adults. I have yet to meet a parent who has not experienced some kind of rash, or skin sensitivity on their baby, myself included!
Dealing with sensitive skin needs a holistic approach, identifying potential dietary and environmental allergens. This means going through everything in the baby’s environment, and bedroom, to remove all potential sources of irritants.
One of the best ways to manage and avoid sensitive skin and baby rash, is to identify and eliminate the irritant from your baby’s environment. Common bedroom causes of irritated skin include exposure to high levels of dust mites, excess saliva or spittle accumulating on the pillow, excessive night sweating and prolonged exposure to nappy content. In addition, becoming overheated with excessive blankets and clothing can trigger eczema and irritation.
Most mattresses on the market are dust traps. The second you move the mattress or hit it slightly, clouds of dust circulate around the room. And where there is dust – there are dust mites.
The Royal Children’s Hospital lists dust mites, plant pollen and animal fur as sources of irritation to your baby. If you or your partner have asthma, eczema or hay fever, your baby is more likely to be prone to these conditions. If this is you, then eliminating dust and allergens is even more important for your baby.
For our family this is a major concern. My partner has eczema, and I suffer from (terrible) hay fever. With these factors in mind, I made some decisions on how to set up my baby’s sleeping environment-
When purchasing a mattress, I did not want a ‘dust trap’ foam mattress which provides a perfect habitat for dust mites to live and breed. Being environmentally consciousness, I also wanted to find an eco-friendly option. I ended up buying an organic, breathable mesh baby mattress. Thishas less sources for dust to hide and breed, minimising potential triggers to my baby. I especially loved that the mattress was classified as aSensitive Choice partner, ensuring it met strict health standards.
In addition to not harbouring dust mites, a breathable mattress helps air flow under my baby, so there is less chance of her getting sweaty, causing sensitive and irritated skin. If there is a bit of nappy spill, it doesn’t pool under her, and can drain and easily be cleaned up later.
As with all sleeping environments, the mattress, sheets and blankets need to be regularly cleaned. This is a breeze with this setup, and I can be sure that the mattress is actually clean – unlike with foam or more dense materials.
Taking these steps gave me peace of mind that I had done everything to reduce my baby’s exposure to potential allergens and irritants and ensure a safe sleep environment. And the biggest plus? My baby now sleeps through the night with (almost) no interruption.