Having a baby takes a lot out of you. It is not just the physical exertion of dealing with a newborn, but also the mental and emotional tolls that are the challenge. Mentally, you are having to learn as you go, mostly through trial and error, how to soothe your little one and keep him happy. As every baby is a unique little personality, it doesn’t get much easier with second or third children either. The emotional part of being a new mum may possibly be the worst for some. Not only are you an hormonal wreck, but your newborn’s crying is biologically designed to cause a response in you that is beyond your control.
Advice for Helping Stop Scratching
Not only does a baby cry when he wants a fresh nappy or a feed, but sometimes his cries mean he is uncomfortable or in pain. These are the worst because we can feel the clock ticking as we desperately try to figure out what is wrong with our baby. As babies grow, they become quite good at gesturing and then making sounds we recognise. But it is the newborn phase that worries us the most as they seem so tiny and vulnerable, and completely dependent on us.
Baby’s skin is incredibly fragile, but is also full of strange sensations that can upset your baby. Drafts, heat, liquid and fur can all overload baby’s senses. A lot of babies enjoy feeling all these different sensations, but some start to react by scratching. With such fragile skin, the scratching can cause damage that then will itch even more. This cycle of scratching needs to be stopped immediately to prevent further damage and a potential infection.
There are several things you can do to stop scratching. Some mums like to swaddle their little ones while others try distraction techniques like games of peekaboo. Ensuring that their nails are kept short and that all sharp bits are buffed away is a super way of helping prevent accidental scratches. ScratchSleeves and scratch mitts can be very helpful too, and enable a full range of mobility at the same time. Also consider topical ointments and creams or bath oils to soothe sensitive skins. If you are worried your baby’s skin has become particularly sore, speak to your pharmacist, the clinic, or visit your GP for further advice.
Over time, scratching can become a habit for your little one, so it ideally needs to be nipped in the bud quickly. Some children scratch as a self-soothing mechanism. Others do it unconsciously because they have always done it. While it is unlikely to cause any harm, red scratch marks on a child’s body could also lead to some questioning from your other caregivers, so try to let them know if your children are habitual scratchers to ease their worries.
Looking after kids can be hard enough without them picking up funny habits. Scratching is nature’s way of encouraging you to remove an irritant from the skin but, like thumb sucking, it can lead to a habit that may cause lasting problems. For very fragile skin, like that of a newborn, scratching can lead to infection, so must be treated if possible. If nothing else, it will give you one less thing to worry about.