An eczema Mum’s review on Scratch Me Not Gloves

It is awful to watch your child scratching away at their beautiful bodies 24/7. My son suffered from severe total body eczema (now he just has eczema on his legs and face) and was nearly hospitalized multiple times.
Your heart breaks as their skin is overtaken by a crusty, weeping rash – head to toe, not even the wee pinky fingers spared.
Eczema is known as the “itch that rashes” because it is the result of an internal reaction to a trigger (food/environment) that manifests on the skin.
I can’t even stand the itch of a mozzie bite, let alone can imagine what my son put up with all day every day on his body. I used to put those footed baby pants over his arms like a cropped jacket to stop him from ripping his skin open with his hands – however the fabric was a little harsh on his open,  exposed skin.
When you are an eczema Mum, being the scratch police becomes your full time job. Tummy time becomes scratch time, car rides become rip open the skin on your face time, playgroup is cut short because your baby is using the carpet to scratch his legs on…

Washing blood out of the baby clothes you lovingly chose for your precious baby is not out of the ordinary.

Our 4mo baby ended up sleeping in the family bed so that I could hold down his limbs while he screamed as he woke up itching every 45 minutes. We had to do wet wraps to help sooth his limbs, getting up at 2am to change them so that he might actually sleep for 2-3hrs in one go.
I was also studying at the time and bloody exhausted.

Naturally, you start looking for a cure or anything to help your baby break the scratch cycle.

The cure? We have personally used a combination of focusing on gut health with the help of a good naturopath with steroids when we have really needed them to combat the eczema and it’s working well, two steps forward and one step back.

Breaking the itch cycle? I kept seeing these Sratch Me Not gloves around online, followed their Facebook page and asked in the eczema support groups I’m in if they were any good. The website has rave reviews to the effect of, “my baby slept through the night from wearing these” along side amazing before and after pictures of babies who have healed with credit to the gloves and bodysuits.

http://www.bamboobubby.co.nz/scratchmenot-scratch-mittens-for-kids

A lady in the eczema support group backed this up, saying that her 8mo slept through the night after wearing these.

It all sounds too good to be true! Here is the honest truth about what we have experienced since wearing these:

Initially, I wanted the bamboo bag sleep sack and the gloves as I put so much hope into this product but the problem was I’d quit my job to take care of my allergy/eczema baby so money was unexpectedly very tight!! We started off with just one set of gloves. They are a good design, made from bamboo and silk. The silk flip mittens go over the hands so that they glide over the skin instead of rub on it. The hands can be let out for eating and what we now call “hands time”.

Our child has slept much better in the gloves however, at 14months, he still hasn’t slept through the night.. it is lovely that he gets a better quality, longer sleep now. We have never put him down without the gloves, ever.

I love the peace of mind to know that he can’t scratch. When he turned 1 he started running into corners of the house to hide and scratch. Since buying these gloves our days of washing blood off his skin and clothes have long gone.

We have one pair that is the ‘bath pair’. The bath pair are the most worn, old looking ones and they’ve saved bath time from being a struggle. He can now play with his “terr-tull” (turtle) and other toys like a regular kid.

He wears them most of the day. If he is really distracted, like when we’re out, he doesn’t need them so much however I always keep one set in my handbag.

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We have bought 4 more pairs of the gloves as we use them all in rotation however if your baby is teething – forget about the silk hands lasting through a new tooth!! They’re the first thing he chews on until they’re ripped apart and left looking tattered and worn. At $30pp NZD a set, I hate buying new ones all the time as it has become just another expense.

This is why I am reluctant to purchase the more expensive stuff from Scratch Me Not – what if it’s not made to last?? $100NZD for one bedtime outfit seems insane but if I was desperate I’d buy one pair.

http://www.bamboobubby.co.nz/scratchmenot-scratch-mittens-for-kids

Here is a link to the website for purchase in NZ. I would recommend them, we don’t spend a day without wearing them, but I’m on the lookout for other products which my teething toodler wont chew through!

Next up to try: bam and boo. They look cool and have reasonable prices. I’m placing an order there today!

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Inside the mind of an allergy Mum

Only allergy mums will get it. It’s impossible to understand the stress, anxiety, social backlash, hurt, joys and fears of the allergy Mum unless you are living the life of one.

Something as simple as eating, as ‘normal’ as food becomes strictly monitored and controlled, researched about and talked about constantly. You can’t control every meal though. Some days I feel like it’s all I think about.

“What has caused these hives and that swelling, was it the bagel… but the bagel was said to be egg free… maybe it was cross contaminated? Also, he did just come back from Grandpa’s house, I should ring and check the ingredients in everything he ate.” While holding and consoling an upset child, arching his back uncomfortable from a reaction, which you feel helpless to stop. Please antihistamine, kick in soon. His eyes swell more and you worry his throat might close but at least the hives are calming down a little. When it’s all over and he’s sleeping it off, a mountain of emotion comes down heavy on your shoulders – tears are the only response to how overwhelming that was.

Your child. The need to protect your child is huge. In my son’s worst eczema moments I felt useless to help him and evil for holding all his limbs down while he screamed, in an effort to get him to sleep. When those big eyes look up at you, as if pleading with you to make the itchies go away, you crack. You crack every single day because it is a daily battle until you find the trigger of the eczema. What a long winded guessing game that is!

I have most certainly learned a lot in my son’s allergy and eczema journey. Learning how to deal with these negative moments has been key to living with them.

My ‘philosophy’ comes from my health coaching/helping others with weight loss. I teach WHY people should do things. The WHAT is not strong enough to work for you mentally in the long term. E.g. you all know WHAT not to do to lose weight but do you know WHY your body stores fat or WHY your body loses fat? Once you hit the WHY, you unlock the code for success.
It’s the same with managing anything in life – always come back to the WHY rather than the WHAT. Here’s how I apply it to being an allergy Mum:

When you dwell on the future, you create anxiety about things that haven’t even happened yet/might never happen/are very unlikely to happen again. We are very smart as humans and imagining situations which might occur in the future is something we can use to our advantage (e.g. it might rain today so I’ll take an umbrella) but worrying about the worst case scenario will only help you and your child/children if it helps you to be prepared with practical things such as buying an epipen for future events. When you spend your time in your head stressed out by your own imagination, you are not doing yourself any favours. So, the next time you worry about little Johnny eating something he shouldn’t and the reaction, do three things.
1) Catch yourself – stop and realize you have made up a scenario from your imagination which is causing you real life stress.
2) Acknowledge your fear. Say to yourself, yes that is scary.
3) Wash it away to let it go. Consider taking a deep breath and even physically washing your hands. Complete the sentence from above “Yes, that is scary but it isn’t happening”. On the out breath, let it go. It will only pop back into your mind if you allow it.

Don’t dwell on the past. When I think of the suffering my first child has been through, I get depressed. I stop breathing, my tummy tightens and I fight back tears. You can’t change the past. Don’t live in the past because you are not headed back that way. Ever. You have learned so much from the past which you now use for a better today.  An exercise to do is whenever you think of a negative past experience, replace it with a positive – remember that time you both laughed hysterical at something silly your child said? Or the first time he called you Mum??

Naturally, this leads to making a conscious effort to live in the present moment. It sounds very Buddha like! Buddha was onto something here. Allergy Mums, take it one meal at a time, one day at a time. Appreciate the good times by acknowledging them out loud, say to your husband or your Mother “Johnny had a great day today” and take pride, feel happy for him. Goodness knows this is something you deserve to enjoy after all the times you have felt awful for him!

Lastly, your child is learning how to be a human from you (scary thought!). So be sure to model to them how to deal with allergies. When they’re older, they’ll be using the strategies you taught them to cope. This is not to say never be sad/angry/overwhelmed – these are normal emotions – it’s just to not get lost in the downer moments and to deal with them appropriately.
A true mental battle, they’ll wallow in their own self pity or take allergies in their stride with your guidance.

You can do this, Mumma. You are already doing a wonderful job. Remember that.

Love Aleshia Dearlove x