Makeup & Beauty Monday: Skin Crack Care 

This is not exactly a glamorous topic for Makeup & Beauty Monday — but if you have a kiddo like mine who has really horrible skin cracks in the wintertime (this is the third winter it’s been an issue), I recommend this product. My son says it stings a bit, so it may or may not work for kid who’s very sensitive to that sort of thing, but if it’s a really painful crack they’ll just feel a momentary sting and then their skin can heal. (It does say “no sting” on the package, and I’ve used it myself a couple of times and I think it’s just fine.) We also put Cerave on his feet at bedtime, but I see that Amazon has a whole bunch of other balms specifically for cracked skin, so if you have this problem yourself or your kiddo or another family member does, I’d love to hear what you guys are using as a solution. Nexcare Skin Crack Care

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Is there anything to do about baby stranger anxiety? Baby just hit the stranger anxiety/separation anxiety phase at 8-9 months (right on time…). My MIL basically implied that she’s not around enough people since its just me, DH, and daycare. Alternatively, my SIL had her kids around a bunch of people at a young age because their deadbeat dad wasn’t a reliable caregiver, so his family members stepped up. I disagree since we take her everywhere with us out and about and also sees family/cousins about every 6 weeks.

    • AwayEmily says:

      I think the answer is to just wait it out. Our daughter’s stranger anxiety peaked at 11 months — right when a whole bunch of family was visiting. She would refuse to interact with them at all…just sat on our laps sucking her thumb looking terrified, which was super awkward because normally she was a really happy, chatty baby.

      But by the time she was around 18 months it vanished almost completely. We hosted family for Thanksgiving last month and she was running around showing them her tummy and ignoring her parents completely.

      And your MIL is being unfair — it is normal and healthy for babies to go through this stage. And certainly daycare should be more than sufficient in terms of providing her with new interactions!

    • Yeah, and I have to caution you that maybe that’s just your kid’s personality. My daughter DOES NOT like strangers, or even acquaintances. You really have to spend time with her for her to open up – and she’s 3. Has been that way all along. My son on the other hand has never met a stranger and never had that anxiety period. I think this is the first of many moments where you have to accept a stage and also just start to accept that kids will develop their own personalities and it’s a little outside of your control!

      And you are right, your MIL is wrong.

      • LegalMomma says:

        I agree – my daughter at 2 1/2 needs a solid hour (or more!) to warm up to people, and this is people she sees fairly regularly, as in every couple of weeks. My in-laws who drop in every 4 months or so can’t seem to understand why she doesn’t immediately warm up to them. She has been like this since she was about 6 months old . . . Meanwhile, my son, who is a year doesn’t know what a stranger is.

    • We went through this a couple weeks ago with our very social/outgoing 9 month old boy. He has always been around lots of different people, so it was confusing for him to be clingy and afraid. He was even hesitant to go to his day care caretakers, whom he’s been with since he was six weeks old! It only lasted a couple of weeks though. Now he’s slightly more cautious around true “new” people, but he’s back to being friendly and letting people hold him. When he was clingy, I didn’t push it. I just offered to let him go to other people and if he didn’t want to I said “oh that’s ok; he’s a little shy right now” and held him. I know it seems weird but this too shall pass!

    • My bff’s baby just went through this. She turned 1 year last month. I have another friend with a two year old with a similar personality. The key to both of them is to ignore them. It feels cruel. I just 100% interact with mom or dad. If I make eye contact and start talking the baby cries and the 2 year old runs and hides. If I ignore them, the 2 year old eventually sits next to me on the couch and wants me to read to her. The baby will let me play with her after she has been watching me for a half hour or so. It’s similar to getting a stray cat to trust you. :)

      • AwayEmily says:

        +1 — it goes SO much better if the shy baby/toddler can come to you on their own terms.

  2. I went to my office Christmas lunch today, without a baby! First time away for more than 90 minutes. Not sure if I am feeling sentimental or giddy with freedom.

    • avocado says:

      Hooray for freedom, and congratulations on your defense (saw your post on the main page a few days ago)!

  3. Cracked ears? says:

    The back of my toddlers ears crack like crazy and then get all red and crusty. It is an endless cycle. I have tried vasaline, cortizone cream, neosporin…nothing has really worked. This probably would not be the right produce. Any ideas on what works?

    • Pigpen's Mama says:

      Have you tried an ointment with an anti-fungal? Maybe a diaper cream with an anti-fungal. Or could it be psoriasis?

    • anne-on says:

      Definitely check with a doctor – maybe a dermatologist if you can get one.
      Otherwise, I’d try what our dermatologist calls the saran wrap method – a thin moisturizing serum (squalane or Hyaluronic acid) – this sinks in very quickly, then a moisturizer on top, and THEN an occlusive like vaseline to seal it all in (like saran wrap). Vaseline (or any occlusive) seals existing moisture in the skin, but it WILL NOT add much moisture by itself, so putting it on top of dry skin without moisturizing the skin first won’t help as much as you need it to.

      • Anonymous says:

        FWIW, i’ve been using this basic method on my extremely dry shins and it’s working really well. Vaseline on top of the moisturizer seems to be the key.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, this sounds like a skin condition. I had something similar as a kid – seborrhea I think? — and used Zincon shampoo to clear it up.

      I would also consider whether cracking feet are related to some kind of fungus too.

    • I had that as a child too – an anti-fungal would have been a blessing rather than all of the other ointments tried. I still have to put a little anti-fungal cream on earrings before wearing them because it causes a breakout otherwise.

    • Anonymous says:

      Does kiddo’s hair touch his or her ears? My son had weird cracked skin on his ears for a while. we cut his hair so it wasn’t touching his ear skin at all, then used Neosporin and Vaseline for a few days and it cleared up. I think the hair would get stuck in the crust a bit and keep it from healing well.

  4. Legally Brunette says:

    Any fellow vegetarians raising vegetarian kids dealing with packing lunch in nut-free classrooms? My 2 year old is transitioning to a nut-free class in January (ALL nuts, not just peanuts). I have posted here before how he is a pretty picky eater and has a limited diet. I end up packing a lot of nuts for him (cashews and raisins mixed, peanut butter sandwich, pistachios, etc.) because he likes them and it’s a great source of fat/protein for vegetarians.

    I need to figure out good substitutes for nuts. I tried sunflower butter a few years ago and personally found it disgusting, but if there are specific brands I should try please let me know. In terms of other protein sources I pack yogurt, and cheese sticks and those go over well. He’s not crazy about tofu (but if you have a great recipe please share!).

    • Momata says:

      I am not a vegetarian, so I can’t speak to the specific protein levels of the following items. But my kids love edamame (just shell first and sprinkle with salt), hummus (they eat it straight with a spoon), guacamole (I know this isn’t a protein but it’s got tons of “the good fat”), hard boiled eggs, chili mac (i.e., bean chili), pasta salad with kidney beans and black beans, and this amalgamation of black beans, corn, red pepper pieces, and cheese that I make – like nachos without the chips.

    • We are veg and kiddo eats a lot of beans (and hummus) and eggs.

    • My kid loves lentil anything – lentil salads, soups, spread (yummy on sandwiches).
      Also hummus is pretty good for this sort of thing.

    • AwayEmily says:

      I also find sunflower butter super gross but my toddler likes it, so maybe yours will too? We use the Trader Joes brand.

      We make a fairly well-received bean dish– caramelize some onions, then put in black beans, then roughly puree. The caramelized onions add a ton of sweetness. Can be used as a dip, on its own, or as a sandwich filling. I think in general, figuring out whatever variations on beans your child will tolerate is worth the experimentation. We’ve also done a sweet potato/bean burger that has gone over well. What about roasted chickpeas?

      Agree with Momata on the edamame. We cover ours in melted salted butter, which makes them extra delicious.

    • Anonymous says:

      My kid LOVES black beans with white quinoa, topped with a little seasoned salt. Can be eaten cold or warm.

    • mascot says:

      Will he eat Greek yogurt? You can get the plain whole milk version and add your own fruit and sweetener of choice. How about roasted pepitas as a nut substitute in trail mix?

    • We’re not vegetarian, but I’ve made some amazing mushroom quinoa burgers, and quinoa has plenty of protein…

    • Anonymous says:

      Son isn’t vegetarian, but I am, and he has a peanut-free classroom. We like black bean burgers (purchased frozen, 2 minutes in the microwave), faux sausage/veggie chicken nuggets, hard boiled eggs, etc. He doesn’t really care for tofu. I also pack greek yogurt + cut fruit and cheese sticks as protein sources.

      • My kids eat greek yogurt and string cheese for lunch every single day. One picky kid means they all get the same lunches :).

  5. Anonanonanon says:

    Would it be crazy to pack adult diapers in my labor and delivery bag?! The commercials have convinced me they’re so sleek these days!

    With my first, most of my memory is of so.much.bleeding. afterwards. I hated that it kept leaking out of the pads, that it would run down my legs when I stood up, that it kept leaking into my gown and sheets. It made me hate having visitors because I felt trapped so no one would see the blood.

    Has anyone tried adult diapers instead of pads for the first few days post partum? Advice on a brand/style?

    • I packed Depends for both deliveries, and would highly recommend. I felt much more comfortable getting out of bed wearing them then the pads from the hospital, and they were useful in those first few days when I never knew if I’d get trapped under a sleeping baby (or actually fall asleep for more than an hour!) I cheaped out and got the drugstore brand the second time around, and didn’t notice a huge difference from the name brand.

    • AwayEmily says:

      this is brilliant. Definitely packing them when I go to have my baby who is due in A MONTH aaauuughhhh I am so unprepared.

    • I used the Always underwear (basically adult diapers) and loved them. Those mattress-sized postpartum pads are the worst and the underwear are much easier.

    • I used the fancy Depends and loved them. They are SO much better than the mesh underwear + huge pad combo and allow you to feel more like a normal human being.

      • I loved fancy Depends. Seriously. Also, if you doing padsicles, it’s a great way to hold them in there. The fancy Depends seriously just feel like underwear.

  6. cradle cap? says:

    We use the mustela religiously but cannot seem to get rid of our 18 month old’s cradle cap. Anyone else have this issue?!

    • Do you leave it on for a few minutes? I used it at first without letting it sit for 2-3 minutes, and it didn’t do anything.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      My daughter didn’t have a bad case of it, but we actually used olive oil, let it see for a few minutes, and then used a fine toothed comb. It worked! It would sometimes come back, but we just kept at it, and it was resolved after a few rounds of this.

    • I had to comb out my daughter’s cradle cap, while her scalp was wet. I’d wash her hair, then let her play while I combed, then wash again. After that, what helped the most was getting her scalp dry. She has lots of thick hair, and the cradle cap was worst under the areas that stayed wetter longer. If you can blow dry, that’s best, but really good towel drying helped too.

    • Anon CPA says:

      Dandruff shampoo. I know it’s not natural, but it works, and came highly recommended by both pediatricians we’ve used.

    • Yes! And my Dr was hardly any help. One thing they told me was that it will go away when he grows out of it. So if I don’t want him to have it before that happens, I have to keep up with the regimen to minimize it. I got the best results from a combo of washing it every night with Selsun Blue (Dr recommended) and using a little comb to first exfoliate it, then comb it out. The comb is white plastic and has a blue scrubber on one side of it. I think the brand is Safety First. Sometimes when it was really bad, I put a little bit of hydrocortisone on it, which really helped, but the Dr said that is only for times when it looks like it is bothering him – my kid got itchy sometimes and would scratch at it.

      • Oops, I forgot that I would also put coconut oil on it before I washed it. So the steps are: (1) coconut oil (or any kind of oil); (2) scrubber brush; (3) fine tooth comb; (4) wash with Selsun Blue.

    • Anonymous says:

      it could be a symptom of a food intolerance (not necessarily a full-blown allergy, which you would have caught by now), especially if it has persisted for 18 mos. Cradle cap completely disappeared within 5 days when we realized my son had a dairy/soy intolerance and cut it out of his diet.

  7. Please help me with night waking!

    I’m deep in the throes of the 12 month sleep regression. For the past four weeks, we’ve had night wakings more often than not, and they regularly last approx. 2 hours. We let her fuss for 10-15 minutes, but there’s usually at least one time a night — either 12:30 or 3 — where it escalates to full-on crying and we go in. The baby will calm down pretty quickly if I (and only I) am holding her, but she’ll cry if she’s put down. There has been sickness, teething, learning to walk, and a growth spurt in there, so she usually gets at least two of the big three about 20 minutes in if she hasn’t fallen back asleep: bottle, tylenol, diaper change. Sometimes she’ll then go to sleep in my arms, and I can successfully put her down after 20 more minutes. Sometimes I can put her down and she’ll fall asleep after crying for a minute or two. Sometimes nothing works and I take her to bed. There, sometimes she goes straight to sleep, and sometimes she yanks on my hair for an hour before she goes to sleep. Last night, she wouldn’t even lie next to me; it had to be on me, and she cried when my husband tried to take her even though I was approximately ten inches away.

    Right before this started, she also dropped her morning nap and moved from formula to milk. She usually sleeps 7:30 – 7 at our house and 1-3 at daycare. I’ve moved her bedtime a little earlier to 7:15, but it hasn’t helped

    This has been her worst sleep stretch ever, and I don’t know how much more I can take. I don’t want to re-Feberize her right before we travel for Christmas, and I can’t cancel that trip without devastating my stepdaughter. But even with going to bed at 9 myself, I spend my days feeling like I’m hungover, have the flu, and have been run over with a truck.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is she hungry? The move from formula to milk can be hard if they aren’t great eaters. Supper with lots of healthy fats (avocado, nuts, olive oil) might help fill her up. Or teething?

      To get more rest, change up night duty. DH and I have turns being ‘on’ and ‘off’ at night. We didn’t CIO but we always told the kids whose turn it was to get up at night. They knew to expect Dad on his nights. In bad stretches, I would sleep in the guest room with ear plugs during my nights ‘off’ and DH would comfort baby. They were pretty accepting that Mom wasn’t available because they were used to having one or the other of us but not both. My six year old still asks who is ‘on’ at night even though she always sleeps through the night. Currently I do M/W/F nights, he does T/TH/S and we alternate Sunday nights.

      • I don’t think she usually is… she’s always happy to eat, and she’s not a slim child. But except for a few nights in a row a couple weeks ago, she’s not particularly interested in the middle-of-the-night bottle.

        I’d really like to trade off, but she just won’t calm down for my husband these days. The crying continues at the same pitch until I get up and take over. I had thought that she’d started to prefer him when I went back to work at 10 months, because he picks her up early a couple of days a week, but she’s in a phase where she has no interest in him when she’s tired or upset. I’ve tried to do more drop offs/pick ups in case it’s separation anxiety, but that hasn’t worked at all. And today I was so tried I forgot to tell her I was leaving.

  8. Apartment dwellers, any tips for managing noisy neighbors and sleeping babies? Our upstairs neighbors are so sweet and quiet and respectful. But! they go to work really early (up around 4am, out the door by 5am). Our baby’s room is directly under their hall stairwell and it is so noisy when they go up and down the stairs, especially now that we have snow and they go up and down a couple of times to clear off and warm up their car. It’s so brutal to have to wake up in the 4 o’clock hour and put the baby back to sleep when he would otherwise sleep until 6:30 or so. We’ve got a white noise machine in the room and it’s up pretty loud. I thought about paneling the ceiling under their stairs with some sort of sound absorber (but what?) but am not sure that would work on creaky stairs and pounding feet. I really don’t think they can do anything differently, so I am hesitant to bring it up with them. What else can we do besides move the baby (not really an option in our small apartment)?

    • Anonymous says:

      They need to put carpet on their stairs.

    • Anonymous says:

      Definitely look into adding some soundproofing panels in baby’s room. I don’t think there’s a lot that they can do differently so I wouldn’t raise it unless you have a specific request as to what they should do.

      • Any specific recommendations on panels? There are a thousand products at HomeDepot of varying cost.

    • AwayEmily says:

      We recently got the LectroFan white noise machine and it’s astoundingly good at masking noises (much better than the Dohm we had previously), so maybe consider an upgrade and/or doubling up on the machines?

      • We just use an app on our phones, so maybe a “real” machine would be better.

        • Walnut says:

          We have a real sound machine in each kid’s room and use it to disguise the sound of our super creaky stairs. We have probably 80% success with kids staying asleep after we go downstairs in the morning.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Is there a meaningful difference between now and in the warmer months (does it seem louder now?)?

      If yes, can you ask them to not wear shoes going up and down the stairs at that hour? That’s assuming that they have some sort of foyer/landing where they can take shoes on and off. Or, can you ask them to be a little more mindful of walking more gently on the stairs — I can stomp down a flight of stairs, but I can also walk more softly, even in shoes.

      If they are owners, you can also offer to pay to install carpet/mats on their stairs (my family had something like this for our basement steps — almost like car mats but on the stairs), which should blunt the noise.

      • These neighbors are new as of this fall, but yes it does seem worse than the previous neighbor (who also got up early, but not this early!). These are good concrete asks, thanks. I actually don’t know if the stairs are carpeted or if they have a landing. The neighbors work on a military base, so probably they are wearing boots, so asking to take shoes off on the stairs might make a lot of difference in this case!

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Does baby’s room have carpet or wood floors? My apartment is carpeted, and my neighbor’s is not, and it’s amazing how much louder sounds are in his apartment. Literally, the same slamming door will be 10x louder in his apartment than in mine. Which is just to say – if kiddo’s room doesn’t have carpet, consider putting a thick, plush rug down. I’ve also hung quilts on kiddo’s walls to absorb some sound.

      Carpet on the stairs (or those cork stair tread things) would also help. Also, I think it’s OK to ask them really sweetly to do you a favor and keep their boots/shoes off until they get down the stairs (you could even gift them a nice shoe mat to keep at the bottom of the stairs) and explain why – they may not know where kiddo’s room is, and are just banging their way out the door in the morning. I would be willing to do that if it might help new parents sleep for another couple hours.

  9. Anonanonanon says:

    RE: CRADLE CAP (don’t think I can nest on my phone)

    I tried the olive oil and fine tooth comb method as well and it worked wonders. I honestly didn’t think it would but I had those items on hand and didn’t want to go to the store, it almost completely cleared up my son’s cradle cap! (This was 7.5 years ago to safe to say it works?)

  10. When should my baby start wearing shoes to daycare? We’re in Texas, so not really a cold weather issue (and I put shoes on him when we go out, I’m asking more for day to day).

    He’s almost ten months, crawling and pulling up, kind of standing and balancing, but no steps unless he’s holding onto something. Shoes now, or when he actually starts walking? Or do I just wait for daycare to tell me?

    Reqs for the best first shoes? We have some freshly picked knock offs that he wears normally, but they are kind of stiff and I’d like something softer. Anyone have a brand that is good that isn’t as $$$?

    • Redux says:

      Robeez are the best for beginning walkers!

    • mascot says:

      We had good luck with the Robeez knock-offs from Target (mini-star?). Once he moved into the one year old room, daycare required shoes with a real sole even if the kids weren’t really walking. Stride-Rite worked. I also liked See Kai Run.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      Honestly, the real Freshly Picked ones are so, so much softer than the knockoffs. I would totally buy the real thing, possibly from eBay, if stiffness is an issue. Otherwise, Robeez are great too. It’s the real leather that makes the difference.

    • avocado says:

      Wait for day care to tell you. Ours required real shoes, not Robeez, in the toddler classroom starting around 12 months. I had to buy Stride Rite high-tops because they were the only shoes my kid couldn’t pull off and eat.

  11. EB0220 says:

    Going into next year, I’m thinking about a job change. I’m a manager in consulting, so 80% of my day is conference calls and meetings. I’m an introvert, and find it hugely draining to be talking to people constantly. Before kids, I was a consultant so I did a lot of technical work on my own, with fewer calls. Now that I’m a manager, I do much less technical work and many more meetings. When I’m home with the kids in the evening, I’m so tired from all the talking that I want to zone out for a while. But I can’t do that when I only get an hourish of quality time in the evening. I do love my job and think I’m good at it, so I don’t necessarily want to switch gears if I can find a way to make it more enjoyable and manage my workday more effectively. Ideas?

    • What’s your commute like? Is there any way to turn that into some kind of you-time/unwinding ritual? Or maybe something you can do at home like changing clothes or taking a five minute shower so that you get to physically switch gears?

      • EB0220 says:

        My 3 year old goes to daycare at my office, which is mostly awesome, but does leave me less time to decompress. There may be something to the shower/changing clothes thing though. That might work!

        • Anonymous says:

          Depending on how long your commute is, could you do a sing-along, dance party kind of thing on the way home where you and your 3 year old are just singing and you are kinda zoning out (safely :). I don’t have children but I assume you are having conversations on the way home right now.

          • NewMomAnon says:

            Do people talk with their kids in the car? I have such a hard time understanding kiddo when she is in the back seat and mumbling that I tend to turn on music so I don’t have to talk with her while I drive….she doesn’t object. I think she likes getting a chance to zone out too.

          • Redux says:

            oh yes. my three year old asks 1 million questions and demands i tell her 1 million stories. my attempts to get her to spot red cars out the window or look for christmas lights rather than me talking talking talking always fail. it’s actually really tiring!

    • Anonymous says:

      My kids go to daycare where I work. DH does half the pick ups so I can get a few minutes at the end of the day to myself. I always change clothes when I come home. The biggest thing that helps is that after the kids go to bed, DH leaves me alone for a half hour. He doesn’t talk to me or otherwise try to engage. Knowing that I just have to get through until they are in bed to have an ‘incommunicado’ half hour really helps. Recharges my batteries to engage with DH again.

  12. PSA for anyone like me who did now know this – you can buy holiday photo cards on Amaz o n, delivered via prime. There is a 60% off coupon code today – my holiday cards were total under $40. No comment as to the quality, but the design looked great and I am just happy to not spend so much money on cards – I always thought it was a ridiculous amount of money (especially since I am normally paying for expedited shipping because life).

    • rakma says:

      THANK YOU!

      I had a card sitting in another photo service cart, but I wasn’t in love with the cost or the overall design. I’m in the middle of making one on Amazon and I’m already happier with it.

    • Thanks! I just ordered cards yesterday and am still annoyed at how much they cost, especially because apparently today is some kind of shopping cyber holiday and now there seems to be a better promo and because, of course, Shutterfly is super misleading and when I ordered yesterday thinking it was “50% off” it was actually not 50% because that only applied to “premium” cards and somehow the cards I ordered were more expensive even though I still can’t figure out how that is because they’re actually more basic in design. I think the fact that they have a section labeled “affordable cards” is all that really needs to be said. Never again (I say again). Please report back on quality for your amazon cards!

    • I am apparently a dummy and can’t find the code. Can you link to it? I see one that expired yesterday, is that the one?

  13. Lisa M. says:

    We struggled with painfully cracked skin on my daughter’s hands for several winters until our pediatrician recommended No Crack cream. It worked and doesn’t sting.

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