I want to preface this by saying that I never want to be one of those moms who acts like a total know it all and thinks that what worked for my kid will work for everyone else’s.  With that being said, Austin had a pretty heinous case of cradle cap that I tried everything to get rid of and I finally found something that worked, so I wanted to simply share with any other mamas who may be battling the same with their little one!

I remember when Austin was about 4 weeks old, I was in a store and saw a baby whose head was covered in these painful looking, scaly patches. Not going to lie, my first thought was “Ew, what the heck is that?!”  Fast forward to a couple of weeks later when one morning out of nowhere I woke up and saw that Austin’s head had the same exact scaly patches (mom karma). I whipped out my laptop and after a few Google searches determined that he had cradle cap. The good news was that everything I read promised babies with cradle cap are not in pain from it, despite how uncomfortable it looks. The bad news was that I also read that it can last up to a year and could be a pain to get rid of! Yikes.

After speaking to his pediatrician and reading some blog posts on it, a lot of people suggested olive oil and a daily bath with gentle baby shampoo.  This certainly did help, but it did not get rid of it completely.   In fact, weeks later when I thought it was finally “under control” (aka not looking as frightening but still visible), it came back with a vengeance.  His entire head was covered in scales, and even his eyebrows had it.  To be honest, I was slightly embarrassed by it and found myself pointing it out to people I was with so that they wouldn’t have to wonder what it was like I had the first time I ever saw a baby with it.  Upon passing by a Walgreens, I decided to go in and ask the pharmacist if he had any suggestions, telling him that I had tried almost everything and was running out of ideas.  He suggested I try Aquaphor Healing Ointment.  I was skeptical, but willing to try anything, so I bought a jar of it for $12.99.  Let me tell you, I bought it on a Monday and his cradle cap was COMPLETELY gone by Wednesday of the same week.  Like I said before, the other remedies I tried like daily baths and olive oil certainly helped, but it never completely got rid of it like Aquaphor did.  Now I know that it’s highly possible that it could come back, but for now, his head looks as clean as a whistle and I am happy with the outcome!

Here are some suggestions if your baby has cradle cap.

You will need:

  • A gentle baby shampoo (click HERE for the one I like)
  • A cradle cap brush (you can buy HERE)
  • A jar of Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy (BUY HERE)

1.) Put the Aquaphor on your baby’s head at least one hour before his/her bath so that it will help to loosen up the scales.

2.) Bathe your baby with a natural baby shampoo, making sure to gently scrub their head.  Spend a few minutes doing this because it will help to loosen up the scales even more.

3.) While your baby is still in the tub, use the cradle cap brush to comb out the scales that came loose.  I often use the brush while the shampoo is still in his hair after I have massaged the scalp, then I rinse his head with water, use the brush one more time to get out any remaining flakes, and then rinse one more time.

4.) After you have taken your baby out of the tub and dried their head off, make sure to apply more Aquaphor wherever the cradle cap has been.  This will help moisturize the skin and hopefully prevent the scales from coming back after just a few days of doing this routine!

A few final things on cradle cap incase your baby has a case of it and you have more questions.

What is cradle cap?

Also referred to as “seborrheic dermatitis”, it’s basically a fancy name for baby dandruff.  If your baby’s head has flakey patches that look like dry skin and/or have yellowish, sometimes oily looking scales or crusty patches on their head, it is most likely cradle cap and VERY common.

What causes it?

From the Babycenter website: ” The cause is unknown. But we do know that cradle cap is not caused by poor hygiene or allergies. Some experts believe that the hormones a baby receives from his mother at the end of pregnancy overstimulate the baby’s oil-producing (seborrheic) glands, resulting in cradle cap. Irritation from a yeast that grows in the sebum (the substance produced by the glands) is also thought to be a possible culprit. But there’s no consensus on the cause.”

So don’t worry mamas- it’s nothing you did wrong, I know the mom guilt is real sometimes 🙂

Is it contagious?

Nope.

Can I pick the scales off with my fingers?

Although there is something so satisfying about picking off the big, dry sclaes (I know, I’m disgusting, but seriously it kinda was great), DON’T do it!! I did this a lot as I was breastfeeding him and think I actually made it worse, plus it can lead to infection (luckily this did not happen to Austin, I would have felt terrible!) Moisturizing the scalp before a bath will loosen up the scales so that they come off much easier without force.

Is it painful?

As I mentioned, babies do not feel pain from cradle cap, so even if it looks hideous just know they are not suffering.  If it becomes itchy, starts to bleed, looks infected, definitely take your babe to see their pediatrician!