Itchy head, eczema/milk allergy?


Hi I’m very new to this so apologies if I waffle on but I’m at my wits end and so frustrated and upset that I really just need advice now!

My 4 month old has always rubbed at his face and head since I can remember and so we had to swaddle him to assure he would get the sleep he needed otherwise he would just keep himself up rubbing/scratching at his head. The swaddle worked amazingly, of course he would moan at first as he couldn’t rub but eventually he settled off to sleep. As he’s reached 4 months though he’s just too old for the swaddle now and constantly breaks free which is just becoming more of a hassle than its worth.

So I ordered some scratch sleeves with the silk designed for babies with eczema etc. These keep him from scratching his face but they do not really help other than that. I’ve been to the docs and spoken to the HVs more times than I can count and these are the following things I have tried so far-

tried lots of different moisturisers (child’s farm, aveeno, even Vaseline, and currently using eucerin that has oatmeal in) the Eucerin seems to smooth the bumps and decrease redness on his face but doesn’t stop the itching. I was prescribed hydrocortisone which only helped again with his eczema not the itching :(.

tried different shampoos, childs farm, aveeno, just plain water, Dentinox cradle cap shampoo as he still has cradle cap. None of these has helped. I’m now putting coconut oil on his head which seems to help the itching for about 20 mins.

the doc now thinks that because none of the above has worked it may be a milk allergy, we put him on Aptamil Pepti and he was on that for around 3 days but still no difference to his itchy head and because the milk is much thinner he was more unsettled all night as he’s always been a hungry baby but this milk was just not keeping him full at all. He’s only ever needed 1 night feed from 1 month old but on the new milk he was doing 2/3.

I’m currently trialling Hipp Comfort as this is partially hydrolysed with no milk in but tbh it’s the same as the Pepti. We’ve just got 13 tins of prescribed nutramigen so will be starting this when the comfort has ran out. But I’ve got no hope on it as I’ve not really seen any difference with anything and the nights have seemed to got worse :(.

sorry for the essay but I’m really just not convinced anything will work at this point and I just want my baby to get some sleep as I feel so bad for him so any advice I would greatly appreciate. Thank you!!



i cant offer too much advise but just what we went through, we also were on aptamil pepti and it really did help but only after about 8 days on it, just long enough to get the old milk out of his system, it is really thin so we buy carobel from the chemist to thicken the milk which helps keep it down.

This helped loads with his upset tummy from cmpa but the eczema got so bad it took a good 3 weeks of using cream morning noon and night for it to clear up, we used children’s farm and steroid cream in the tough places, then we didn’t bath him too often so we didn’t dry out his skin and made sure we only used liquid washing detergent as it doesn’t cling to clothes as much as powder, think we used an eco one from Tesco so it was really pure no chemicals.

All I can say is keep at what your doing and make sure you give everything a good chance , like a week before writing it off as sometimes it takes a while for things to make an improvement

hope he gets sorted soon! Plus take comfort in the fact he’s only young and he’s not used to this big world yet as he gets older it will all get better, keep in there! Chloe xxx


Thank you so much for the advice and suggestions. I will definitely be giving the carobel a go as he’s always suffered with silent reflux too! But I’ve never even heard of carobel so thank you very much :).

Hopefully things will get better soon and I’ll be taking on board everything you mentioned and trying to not let it get me so frustrated. Again thank you xxx


I discovered it when my son had reflux but never needed it until he had the aptamil pepti as like you say it’s soo thin, it used to just come straight back up

my doctor didn’t even know what it was, it’s by cow & gate and once I told him what it was he agreed it was ok to give him as it was helping him stay on the milk so it was a god send! It’s about £4 a box but you have to order it in at the chemist as they don’t have supplies of it xx


Hello love. I’m Lisa, one of the trained parent helpers here at Channel Mum.

I am sorry to hear your little one is struggling and a huge thank you to anon for replying to you as she’s been brilliant.

I would have recommended carobel myself. It’s not something I’ve used but heard so many good things about it.

As anon also pointed out, it takes several weeks for the CMP to leave the system. Some say as many as 6 weeks to fully be flushed out but a minimum of 8 days so I would not expect it to have stopped then itching just yet I’m afraid. Stick with CMPA type milk for a few weeks and I hope that it works with time. And the carobel will help with the mild reflux and also to stop him being so unsettled.

I really hope the change helps you as I’ve seen so so many babies change with CMPA milks from wing eczema plagued and itchy to being such happy souls with clear skin. As it’s mainly his face and head I would assume it’s comsumtion based rather than an allergy from something environmental or washing powder etc.

Much love to you both. I really hope you come back and are able to tell us about an improvement. X


Good morning

My name is Maggie and I am a health visitor and sleep and parenting specialist who works with ChannelMum. Rhian asked me to drop be to see if I could offer some help. I am so sorry to hear of your tale of struggling with this. I am very puzzled that the GP has not prescribed creams for his eczema. Perhaps I have misread your post and you have been prescribed creams and emolients for the bath. The way the prescribing pyramid works is that they always stat with the cheapest option first so you do need to keep going back if what is prescribed is not being effective. In tis way you start to work up the pyramid until you find a cream or emollient that works. You do need to get your GP to prescribe the infant eczema emollients bath oil and emollient for use on his skin.

Have you had a low dosage steroid cream prescribed for his face? Your GP or HV should be actively managing his eczema not leaving it to you to sort out.

The National Eczema Society (NES) have great information and factsheets you can download on the best way to manage and treat eczema see here—eczema have a look at the infantile seborrheic and cradle cap fact sheet which examines the causes and treatments of this type of eczema in babies. Do not be fobbed off by your GP or HV.

The treatment for Cradle Cap as recommend by the NES is as follows

If the cradle cap does not clear by itself within a few months, or if your baby has any symptoms other than those due to seborrhoeic dermatitis, consult your health visitor or GP. If your baby is itchy or the cradle cap persists, it is more likely that your baby has developed childhood atopic eczema. Although there is no need to treat cradle cap, the following suggestions may be helpful:
  •  Frequent, gentle shampooing of the scalp will remove crusts and excess scales.
  •  Use a mild baby shampoo and tepid water to wash the scalp daily, but do not rub vigorously.
  •  Gentle brushing with a soft brush will help to loosen the scales.
  •  Do not pick the scales as this may increase the risk of infection. If the scales are not removed with the simple measures recommended above, soften them prior to washing with emollient (medical moisturiser) or unperfumed mineral oil or vegetable oil, such as coconut or sunseed oil (olive oil is no longer recommended as it has been found to damage the skin barrier).
  •  If any hair comes out with the scales, don’t worry as it will grow back.
  •  If your baby has childhood atopic eczema, shampoo is not recommended for babies under one year.
Do not use soap, baby wipes or baby bath products or biological detergent to wash his clothes or sheets.
  • Bathe your baby each day, adding an emollient bath oil to the water, or use an emollient soap to loosen the scales. Moisturise the skin with an emollient to help prevent further skin flaking and infection.
  •  Use a non-cosmetic moisturiser (i.e. an emollient/medical moisturiser available on prescription), rather than commercial baby products (including those described as ‘natural’ or for sensitive skin), which may contain fragrance and other ingredients that can irritate the skin. Take extra care when lifting your baby out of the bath as their skin will be slippery!
    •  Avoid using soap or baby wipes – use an emollient soap substitute (or wash your baby using cotton wool and their regular leave-on emollient) instead.
    •  If the skin looks sore, your doctor or health visitor may prescribe a mild topical steroid cream – apply it very thinly once or twice a day, as prescribed, only to the sore areas of skin.
    •  After bathing is a good time to apply the emollient, followed 30 minutes later by the topical steroid. It is important to leave a gap between the two applications to avoid diluting the steroid and/or spreading it to areas where it is not needed.
    •  Keep the nappy area clean and dry. Check nappies frequently while the skin is sore and change as soon as they become wet or soiled.
    •  At each nappy change, apply a water-repellent emollient as a barrier to help protect the skin (ask your pharmacist for a suggestion). Don’t use plastic pants over cloth nappies as these can make the problem worse.
I hope this helps. your HV should also be able to prescribe for this. Anecdotally a bag of oats tied to the tap so the water runs through it is said to have a calming effect

I in 5 children in the UK have eczema so it is not necessarily a sign of allergy but could be indicative of this see below… Thinking about possible CMPA can I ask you about the following?

When to suspect food allergy

Family history (65% of cases) 50-80% if both parents have history of allergy

55% of allergic incidence is diagnosed in children whose parents do not have a history

Common symptoms:

Dermatitis/eczema/rashes in 50-70%

Wheezing/coughing, runny nose/eyes 20-30%

Reflux or regurgitation 42%

Stool irregularities, they can be loose and frequent (including blood or mucus in an otherwise well infant) 50-60%

Faltering growth 25%

Excessive crying/irritability 27%

Perianal redness (red napkin area)


Food refusal or aversion


I hope this helps a bit. Do come back and let us know the answer to the above questions and then we can progress further

Take care

Maggie xx