Tiffany is a sleep-deprived mom to a teen, a toddler, and a newborn. You can catch her blogging over a cup of coffee at Lattes And Life. You can also find her Twitter feed @give_me_a_latte.
How to Treat Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is a condition that most mothers are well aware of. Somewhere in the vicinity of half of all babies have cradle cap in the first few months of life.
Although not pretty, and annoying to deal with, cradle cap isn’t harmful to your baby and can be easily treated at home. Here’s a quick rundown on this common condition and how to treat cradle cap.
What is Cradle Cap?
Cradle cap looks like dandruff on an infant’s scalp. It can also appear as yellow, oily, scaly patches of skin. The dry rash often extends to the area around the ears and the eyebrows.
What Causes Cradle Cap?
Medical professionals think cradle cap is caused by hormonal fluctuations after birth. Maternal hormones circulating in the baby’s system cause glands in the scalp to go into overdrive. These glands release a sticky substance, which makes it difficult for old skin cells to be shed, so they pile up on the scalp. Cradle cap is NOT caused by poor hygiene, infection, or illness.
How is Cradle Cap Treated?
There are many home remedies for cradle cap. Often it takes some experimentation to find which method will work for your baby. Some moms swear by rubbing baby oil on their baby’s scalp, letting it sit awhile, and then using a comb or soft-bristled hair brush to loosen the flakes. You could also use olive oil as a more natural alternative to baby oil. Be sure to shampoo after using this method, as residual oil can clog the pores and cause buildup.
Another home remedy is simply to wash baby’s hair. There are mixed opinions on this method; some people say more frequent shampoos help, others say less frequent. Regardless of how often you shampoo, be sure to use a gentle formula designed for babies. Don’t use dandruff or medicated shampoo unless directed by your pediatrician. Rinse well, and use a soft-bristled brush or comb to loosen the flakes.
There are also many products on the market today designed to treat cradle cap. Many of them can be helpful. If the cradle cap becomes especially bothersome, seek the advice of your pediatrician, who can prescribe medicated shampoos and other treatments.
If the dry patches extend to the eyebrows and facial area, apply a baby-safe lotion to those spots as needed.
How Long Does Cradle Cap Last?
Cradle cap usually clears up by the time a baby reaches six to twelve months of age. Rarely will it persist into the toddler years.
Stay tuned for Life with a Newborn next Thursday for “The Real Deal with Cereal in Baby’s Bottle”.
Disclaimer: The previous article is not medical advice from a medical professional. Always consult your physician for medical advice in the health care and treatment of medical concerns with your baby.