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Hey, you’re getting used to this stuff, aren’t you?

Have you been seeing some ugly scabs/scales on your child’s head? Not pretty, are they? But actually, they’re pretty common. And we’re now going to enter a field where mistakes often happen: the field of cradle cap.

Babies’ sebaceous glands don’t work properly at the beginning, and the grease they produce every day is not transported away, as it is later on. It tends to collect on their heads. Yellow-ish crusts appear, and parents start to worry.

No, it’s not poor hygiene. No, it’s not infectious. Does it hurt? We’ll come to that. Is it unsightly? Well, yes. Is it common? Yes!!!

Sunshine had the most common, mild form. The crusts are slowly falling away, with a little help from us (moisten their head during bath time and then comb over the scalp with a soft brush, and the crusts will slowly break off – we’re not done with it yet, but it’s certainly getting less). However, in severe forms, medical attention is required. That would be when the crusts turn weepy and become sore (the child doesn’t even notice the mild version).
Check out the Wikipedia article for some more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle_cap

Another thing you’ll quite likely encounter (we did), is a “nappy rash”. Poor Sunshine had a very nasty fungal infection on his bottom, caused by the vicious little Candida bacteria – which can occur all over. It was red and weepy and caused him serious discomfort. You can try using moisturising creams to soothe this, but you’ll really need to go to the doctor’s. They should prescribe an anti-fungal ointment for it and then patience and regular treatment are required. It took several weeks and another trip to the doctor (to get a more powerful hydrocortisone) before Sunshine’s infection went away.

Remember too, that babies have finger and toe nails. They’ll need cutting. They’re soft and you can get little scissors specially to do this. It is essential THAT you cut their nails and, with increasing age, their little fists will head for their face. Sunshine has a nasty scratch on his nose, due to yours truly missing out on a couple of sharp edges. Because the phrase “Keep still” doesn’t necessarily work, you might want to carry out such operations when they’re asleep!

Oh, and one more thing which occurs to me is the “sticky eye”. Sunshine certainly had it and it’s likely your little one will too. It’s a nasty gooey secretion which will appear in the corner of their eye. Uurgh, you’ll think. But actually, it’s just that their tear ducts aren’t yet working properly, meaning that flows are a little slower. As such, what comes out will be sticky. Just wipe away the secretion with a cotton wool bud and the condition will pass away pretty quickly.

So there are some tips and bits of advice to get you on your way!