It’s been a couple of months and you’ve been enjoying everything about being a mom to a brand-new baby. The coos, the tiny clothing and even the drool bring you endless amounts of joy. But lately you’ve noticed something happening on your baby’s perfect skin. Dry yellow patches have been appearing on your baby’s scalp and the “mommy worries” begin to creep in. Your girlfriend notices the patches and says those dreaded words:
“It looks like cradle cap.”
Your mind starts to race:
What is cradle cap exactly?
Will she have this forever?
Is it hurting her?
Will it get worse?!
Rest assured momma, it isn’t the end of the world; and your precious bundle will not have this affliction for long. Read on to find out the ‘what’s’ and ‘why’s’ of cradle cap and discover what you can do to help speed along the healing process.
According to the Family Physicians Inquires Network, cradle cap is a form of seborrheic dermatitis – Basically, a skin fungus caused by oily skin and yeast. It shows as greasy patches of scaling on the scalp of infants between the ages of 2 weeks to 6 months. (It can happen in children up to age 4 but it is less common.) It’s an ailment that’s actually quite prevalent in African American infants.
The description sounds way worse than it actually is. Even if you don’t treat the cradle cap, it usually clears up on its own after 8 months. Not only that, but it normally doesn’t bother the baby at all. In other words, it’s more of an aesthetic nuisance that stresses mom out more that the little one. But no worries – There are a few options you can choose from to cure cradle cap in your baby fast.
*The following should not replace advice and recommendations given to you by a pediatrician.
Option 1: If your baby is younger than 6 months, many have found using a dime to quarter-sized amount of [wpcmtt id=”9010″]mineral oil[/wpcmtt] along with a gentle brushing to remove flakes to be an effective way to treat the issue. If it’s a really stubborn case, use [wpcmtt id=”9016″]coconut oil [/wpcmtt]or [wpcmtt id=”9017″]olive oil[/wpcmtt], (a small amount) and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before brushing out.
(*I’d recommend doing a patch test first with a tiny amount prior to treating the full head in order to check for allergies.)
Option 2: If your little one is 6 to 8 months; you may want to try using an [wpcmtt id=”9018″]anti-dandruff shampoo[/wpcmtt]. The shampoo should contain the ingredient ketoconazole (Nizoral) which has proven effective on cradle cap.
Option 3: Talk to your pediatrician who may prescribe an antifungal. If the cradle cap is severe and has spread to the neck and ears, an antifungal may be in order.
Option 4: Just leave it alone. There hasn’t been a single reason established as to how cradle cap starts. A baby’s adjusting hormones, a particular off-brand formula, or even the weather have all been identified as culprits. The reality is that it’s, most likely, just a “growing pain” happening within your little one’s ever-changing body. Leaving it alone and letting it run its course may save both you AND your little one from extra stress; and then you can save your sanity for the next parenting challenge ahead.