How our son's eczema journey led us to Tiny Leopards

How our son's eczema journey led us to Tiny Leopards

According to the National Eczema Association, approximately 9.6 million U.S. children under the age of 18 have atopic dermatitis (eczema), and one-third have moderate to severe disease. 

My son is in that third. In fact, he's one of the worst cases his doctors have ever seen. But let me rewind.

I had cursory knowledge of eczema prior to becoming a mother. I had had it on and off throughout my life, mainly triggered by antibiotic use. It was mild, I'd put some lotion on it, and it would go away. Problem solved. What I hadn't realized at the time was that my genetic predisposition towards eczema and allergies, combined with my husband's, would form into a catastrophic combination in our firstborn.

Rowan was born on a bright Monday. He had a wrinkle between his eyes as if he was born worried about something. When his papa first took him into his arms, he smiled. He detested pacifiers and made it a point to dramatically spit out each one he was given. And we were smitten. 

One day, at 10 weeks old, he woke up with a rash all over his body. At the time, doctors felt confident that they could get it under control quickly, but as months went by and his condition worsened, we were told his was a severe case of early onset atopic dermatitis. We dragged him from office to office, consulting with practitioners across every type of practice. Sometimes he would get better, then he would get worse again, and it always felt like one step forward and two steps back. Months turned into years.

We took turns sleeping with him because he would scratch incessantly. I became an expert at sanitizing and bandaging wounds, at identifying food or environmental triggers, at preparing recipes that didn't have common allergens, and at arguing with allergists who knew so much more than I did about his condition but who couldn't tell me how to treat the root cause of it. It was a difficult and humbling time for my husband and I. 

I had tried every product for eczema children on the market—you name it, I probably have it in a box somewhere. What shocked me was the lack of children's wear that didn't look like a pajama version of a medical device but delivered on the same value. None of the so called "clothing for eczema" did what it needed to do—mainly, protect vulnerable and itchy skin from scratchy hands. I started sewing gloves onto my son's pajamas and then one day, an idea for a pajama design was born.

Rowan tested every prototype that came in the mail. And there were many.

In fact, it's been almost two years since the first time we held a Tiny Leopards pajama in our hands and I can honestly tell you, he's never slept in anything else since. On bad days, he would spend the whole day in the pajama because we could easily open and close his hands in between scratch attacks. On good days, we could leave him in his crib to sleep, knowing that we wouldn't wake up to fresh wounds. It was a game changer for us. Today, he's almost 4 years old and barely squeezing into the largest available size I have. Today, his eczema is almost entirely gone thanks to a handful of medical providers who worked tirelessly to help us manage it.

I've been so inspired by his resilience in the face of this chronic disease. As Tiny Leopards grows, I continue to meet and get to know other parents dealing with the same. Their journeys feel personal to me. 

Today, I'm excited to bring this product to all of you. I hope it helps your children sleep better at night and I hope you're able to do so as well. Some day, we'll know how to beat eczema for good, but until then, I hope you know you're not alone in this.

With love,

Katrina (a proud eczema mom)