Person A: Oh your baby is so chubby! (pause as person looks closer at my baby)
Me: Yes she has a rash on her cheeks. It’s called a milk rash but isn’t due to milk. It won’t clear for months because it’s caused by hormones…
(My monologue gets cut short by person A)
Person A: Have you tried this cream/seeing this specialist/this herbal homemade remedy? I/my so-and-so family member/relative/colleague tried it on their baby and it cleared immediately!
My baby has a milk rash. It also flares up and gets bright red when she’s hot. It also usually happens when someone comes by and sees her. This conversation happens so often it stopped being funny. Person A has been a family member, a relative, a friend and even complete strangers who only met us 3 seconds before that conversation happens.
Fact is, her rashes have irked me long before anyone else because I felt it was caused by me and my milk. I still carry that guilt as I tried cleaning her face constantly with sterile cotton balls and water, applied expensive hypoallergenic creams, washed her face with soap for sensitive skin. But nothing worked. Like her dr said, it’s a hormonal reaction, and creams won’t cure it. Even steroid cream won’t cure it, it only reduces its occurrence. The rashes itself will clear by the time she’s about 10 months.
Have I tried explaining this to everyone who tries to recommend me a cure? Yes. Have they listened? No. Everyone thinks they must know better than the dr.
This isn’t even the first time this has happened. The first was when she had jaundice. A common ailment yes, but everyone had their own ideas about how long it should take to clear, which must have been no longer than 2 weeks. Am took 2 months.
For those two months, all I ever heard was, “Oh, she’s very yellow. Have you tried giving her such-and-such soup to drink?” “Are her eyeballs supposed to be so yellow?” “Maybe you can bring her to see another doctor for a second opinion.”
I tried my utmost to explain that babies who have jaundice will have yellowing at the whites of their eyeballs, giving baby anything that isn’t breastmilk or formula will result in water intoxication. It also didn’t help that her jaundice took so long to clear because hers was caused by breastmilk and she was also fully breastfed. Her dr told us we could continue bf as her jaundice wasn’t serious and told us to be prepared for it to take 2 months to clear fully. He was right.
I’m not sure how I am going to tolerate this for the next 5 to 7 months until Am’a rashes go away. In the meantime, just to stop people from asking, I have tried to keep her in her stroller with a cover so no one can see her, and I have tried using the steroid cream sparingly because it’s the only thing that makes her look like she is getting better. Are these ideal solutions? Certainly not. Especially when family members comment about how the rash is getting better, I smile back meekly while in my head I am screaming, “IT’S NOT GETTING BETTER, I PUT STEROID CREAM ON HER TO DECEIVE EVERYONE!”
You get the idea.
Once, Am had an umbilical hernia which made her belly button bloat. It was harmless of course. Fortunately no one could see it except the few of us who actually bathe her. The hernia grew larger and then deflated quietly without any incident because no one knew about it. Unlike milk rash.
I really wish people would quit asking about it as if it were the only thing that matters. I mean look at her. Just look at her. She’s beautiful! She has bright eyes and she responds so enthusiastically to her surroundings and to people. She has a wonderful innocent smile. She has started babbling to me, Aaron, her own kor kor, and our close family members, and her bff, Naomi too!
And most of all, she is a healthy chubby baby! After her tumultuous life in utero, never asked for anything except that she would be healthy. And that, she really is. Living up to her name of being as positive and full of hope as a new day.