No one knows for sure why colic occurs. Theories include Mum's diet; breastfed babies may be intolerant to certain food or beverages, such as caffeinated drinks. Another is that young babies are unaccustomed to feeling full or gassy so they may find these sensations alarming and it may also be that they're digestive systems are still immature.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a condition that results in red blotchy patches on the skin, leaving it susceptible to surface infections. It usually appears before the age of two and shows on babies' hands, faces, elbows and the area behind the knees. Most children grow out of it by the age of six, but a small percentage of those that develop the condition in early childhood will continue to suffer as adults.
Eczema is predominantly hereditary and appears in babies with a family history of the condition, asthma or hay fever. External triggers include hot, humid and cold, dry conditions, chemicals in detergents and toiletries, synthetic fibres and allergens such as dust mites, mould, grass and plants, and pets.
Dress your baby in cotton clothes and switch to a sensitive laundry liquid or powder. Use a non-soap cleanser at bath time and apply plenty of moisturising lotion or cream – sorbolene is especially good – straight out of the bath (pat your baby dry first). Keep nails short and put mittens on bub while sleeping if needed. If the condition persists your doctor may prescribe a mild (0.5% or 1%) cortisone cream. Don't be afraid to use it liberally – it's perfectly safe for babies.