My guess is that is NOT just chaffed skin. My son's eczema started at 3 months just exactly as you have described. STOP the baby lotion--perfumes only make it worse. I'd like to say there is an easy cure--but there isn't --and it is NOT going to go away. My son just turned two and it has been a DAILY CONSTANT STRUGGLE since he was 3 months old. He still does not sleep through the night b/c he wakes up scratching. He scratches himself to bleed even though I try to keep his nails down to nothing. I do not say all this to depress you but to give you an idea what you are in for. You need to get a mind set now how you are going to handle it on a daily basis and just keep at it. It does SLOWLY improve with age (around 2 years) but does not go away. There has not been a day since he was 3 months old that I haven't treated his eczema. I will tell you what I have learned.
1) Seek your doctors help immediately. I will tell you that he/she will probably prescribe very mild topical steroids. They will tell you it is safe--you may want to research and make your own decision. I used the topical steroids in the beginning--only on his "hot spots" and no more than twice a day.
2) STOP using perfumes of any kind!(Both you and your husband)
Switch your laundry cleaner to one that says ALL clear--no perfumes and don't use dryer sheets that have perfumes.
3) You are right about bathing every other day and sometimes only in those areas that really need it. The longer they stay in the water the worse it gets. Make sure the water is lukewarm--almost cold. I also put oil on him within 3 minutes of bathing. I don't use baby oil--does that have fragrance in it? I use a body oil formulated for babies by Arbonne (I can get you the number of a girl I know who sells it--I'll have to look it up) The oil is called ABC (Arbonne baby care care) body oil. They also have lotions (all natural) but b/c my son's skin is so cracked --it seemed to burn him.
Also, you can get an oil at Walmart called RoBathol. It contains no Lanolin, dyes, Mineral oil (which supposedly clogs the skin--Arbonne doesn't use mineral oil either) or perfumes. You actually put the oil in the bath and let them soak 15 minutes. You have to go to the pharmacy and ask them to order it--it's around $16 but you just use a small amount so it lasts a long time.
Lastly regarding bath--my husband found a product on the internet while researching homeopathic cures (they are totally against steroids). It is called FreeDerm. We bought the Non-Medicated Herbal Shampoo and Herbal conditioner. Your baby may not really need a shampoo but you could bath his body with it also. I've even put the Herbal conditioner on his body. They also sell soap--but Dove's Sensitive Skin is just as good. Our whole family uses the Dove sensitive skin soap so that our bodies don't have any lingering perfume on them. I even put the dove sensitive skin soap in the hand dispensers in every bathroom for washing hands. I wouldn't use Johnson and Johnson--I think they all have a fragrance. We also bought the FreeDermHC Eczema Cream(which you use immediately after a bath on his worst spots) and the FreeDerm Intense Daily Moisturizer. The website is www.freederm.com. I will warn you--it's not super cheap--however it is well worth it.
The FreeDerm has not "cured" my son's eczema--but within a week of using it--even the checkout lady at the Kroger we go to mentioned how good he looked. I was using topical steroids on a daily basis before and now I only use it if a spot gets so bad he is scratching to the point of bleeding.
4) Almost everyone I have spoken to (and believe me--you need a support group!) has found that certain foods and dyes in foods make it worse. Our next step is to have my son tested for food allergies. At 3 months I don't know if there is much you can do. My son was on formula and when he switched to whole milk at 24 months it seemed to clear up but then it got bad again. We have taken him on and off whole milk and I can't tell a difference.
5) We also visited a pediatric dermatologist for about a year. Our son was so severe she sent him to a doctor at Texas Childrens Hospital. He said the same things she had and prescribed the same steroids--so we eventually quit going. If all they are going to do is prescribe steroids--his pediatrician can do that. I just showed him the prescriptions the dermatologists had given me. However, my husband and I were determined to get him off the steroids--that's when we started researching homeopathic methods. I would highly recommend you look into that as well. There is a lot about it on the internet.
5) The sunshine can actually help--so I would NOT quit the walks. Expose as much of his skin for short periods of time without sunscreen (except for the face). You want to look for one that is Hypoallergenic that contains Titanium Dioxide(advice from the dermatologists)
6) I also have had some luck with Desitin with zinc oxide. It's great for diaper rash but it also helped on his ankles. My son has eczema really bad on his ankles. Recently they flared up again and he would not stop scratching. I put the desitin on him b/c that's what I had on hand at the time. I had to put his socks on also b/c the Desitin with Zinc stays white and it will rub off on the furniture. The next morning the ugly redness and "hotness" was gone.
7) I found that treating once or twice a day (especially when it was on his trunk) is NOT enough. When my son was 3 months up to about 18 months--I would completely undress him everytime I changed his diaper and cream him up. The changing table that had once been a happy place became not so happy.
8) I know I am leaving something out but this is getting long. In summary i would say seek a doctor's help immediately--definitely look into the FreeDerm and research homepathic natural healing agents. Start researching immediately. We went through 18 months of hell before we found FreeDerm. Whatever you do--you can't quit--as soon as you do the ezcema comes raging back. Remember it is the "itch that rashes"--your son is probably itching on parts of his body that look perfectly okay.
Please feel free to send me a private message if you have any questions. I'm not a doctor I'm just a Mom, like you, who has been through the long road of ezcema and is still traveling--learning as I go.
About me: I graduated from Texas A&M with an education degree. I taught middle school math/Algebra for 17 years before I quit to stay home with my daughter when she was 18 months. In 2004 we had our baby boy. Our daughter is now 4 1/2 and our son just turned 2 years old. This March my husband and I will have been married for 10 years.