Eczema, Face Scratching, and Sleep

Peggy Y. recently reached out on Facebook and asked,” Is there any advice on how to sleep train/stop swaddling a 6 month old that scratches her face until she bleeds? My daughter has really bad eczema on her face and one night she broke free and I found blood all over her. I don’t want to swaddle forever, but she scratches so much. Please help/advise.”

My oldest child still deals with eczema flare ups from time to time, so I know first hand the difficulty associated with trying to keep a baby from incessantly scratching at those itchy patches.

The best solution I’ve found to deal with this particular reader’s problem is to sew the ends shut on your baby’s long-sleeved shirt/pajama/onesie. This may not stop the scratching, but will keep the nails from breaking the skin.

If like me you’re not very crafty, then consider purchasing something from Bamboo Bubby. They have specially designed sleeves and sleep sacks in natural fabrics that can keep the itchy to a minimum.

In addition to physically covering the hands, make sure to:

*Keep your baby’s fingernails short;

*Maintain your baby’s room at a cool temperature (body heat rises at night and the hotter the body is, the more eczema will flare up);

*Use a dermatologist approved and baby-safe moisturizer right before bedtime;

*Use only 100% natural and non-irritating fabrics for sheets and pajamas.

Hopefully with a few changes Peggy’s baby can soon sleep soundly through the night.


  1. Fairlight March 2, 2015 at 10:13 am - Reply

    Our son had bad eczema when he was younger, too. Gets it on occasion now. We didn’t want to take him out of the swaddle either. When we did transition, we used something called the ZippadeeZip. It’s like a wing-suit for babies. It really helped with the scratching (and the sleeping). Also, we kept him in a zipped up sleeper (PJs), so he couldn’t reach in and scratch the skin directly. And, I feel like we are cutting his nails all the time, but it’s important to do so. We also only use California Baby’s Eczema wash. It seems to keep some of it bay. Hope that helps.

    PS: We love Natalie and our lives are forever changed because of her counsel and services. We recommend her to all of our friends in need of sleep.

    • Natalie March 2, 2015 at 10:29 am - Reply

      Thank you, Fairlight! I always welcome direct experience with this as it’s something neither of my kiddos really dealt with personally.

  2. Kristen Lee June 10, 2018 at 5:29 am - Reply


    My baby is 4.5 months old. He can sleep through the night since early on but it took us couple months to realize the Love to Dream swaddle, while allows him to soothe himself back to sleep in the middle of the night, was also the cause of his facial rash/irritation. After each nap and night sleep, his face would turn very red and sometimes even a little bumpy.

    We tried one night not swaddle his hands in and of course he woke up in the middle of the night needed to be fed instead of normally rubbing himself back to sleep.

    Would you have any advice on how we can help him to continue to sleep through the night yet not having to be in the swaddle that is causing bad facial irritation?

    Thank you!!

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