Every child will experience a diaper rash at one time or another. Even if you constantly change your little one’s diaper, a rash is bound to appear sooner or later. A newborn dirties an unbelievable number of diapers and requires a clean diaper every time they eat. In the early days a newborn can go through at least 8-10 diapers a day! That said, it’s difficult to keep their skin dry because they have no control over their bladder or bowels. Here are some tips to help you recognize diaper rash and know how to prevent diaper rash as well as help it heal when baby has diaper rash.
What Is Diaper Rash?
Diaper rash is inflamed skin that appears as red often bumpy patches. Diaper rash is a common skin irritation in babies. Both urine and stool are acidic and cause skin to become irritated, resulting in red, blotchy patches. Although you will feel terrible that a diaper rash has formed, there are measures that can be taken to prevent spreading and speed healing.
How Can I Prevent Bad Diaper Rash?
The best way to avoid bad diaper rash is by keeping baby’s skin clean and dry. This means plenty of air time in between diaper changes and making sure to wash baby’s skin before putting on a clean diaper. If you are running short on time, try blotting baby’s bottom with a tissue to ensure that there is no moisture left on the skin after cleansing. You can also use a barrier cream to help keep baby’s skin dry and protect against diaper rash. The most popular diaper rash creams contain zinc oxide and/or petroleum jelly. They essentially act as a barrier between the skin and the irritant (urine and stool) and also offer some degree of absorbency as well. If you use a thick diaper rash cream, it is recommended that you apply it as if you are icing a cake. It’s not necessary to remove the cream after every diaper change because contact with the skin can cause further irritation. There many other types of diaper rash cream that are a little easier to use. Some of my favorites are Sudocrem (seems to speed healing) and Burt’s Bees (naturally wax based). You’ll have to try out different creams for yourself to see what works best for your baby.
Diaper Rash Healing Time
You might want to start the diaper rash healing process by switching to “sensitive” baby wipes and diapers. They are free from perfumes and claim to be hypoallergenic. You can even take it a step further and wipe baby’s bottom with a clean cloth and warm water (no soap). Cloth diapers are said to be best to prevent diaper rash but keep in mind that barrier creams are not recommended for cloth as they can reduce the absorbency of the fabric. I’ve had varying success with cloth diapers. If my baby’s skin shows any signs of a rash, I like to switch from cloth to disposable so that I can treat with diaper cream. My baby has really sensitive skin and even cloth diapers can sometimes trap excess moisture. I always like to wash the diapers using a “sanitize” cycle about once a week to ensure that they are bacteria free. This is followed up with a vinegar rinse. Another trick that I use is the hairdryer. I set it on the lowest setting and use the cool option. I “air dry” my baby’s bottom for about 10 seconds and any diaper rash blotches of irritated skin quickly disappear.
Diaper Rash in Boys VS Girls?
If you’re wondering if diaper rash differs depending on the sex of your baby, the answer is no. It can be treated in the same way using the same creams and methods. However, if you have a boy, you might notice a sore on the tip of his penis. This is probably the effect of a localized diaper rash caused by frequent urination. You’ll want to treat this rash as soon as possible because there’s a chance that it may cause swelling and affect urination. If you have a girl, always wipe her bottom from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria.
Why Won’t The Diaper Rash Go Away?
If a diaper rash persists despite your best efforts, your baby may have a yeast infection. It’s very common and can be treated with anti-fungal over-the-counter medication. You can distinguish a yeast infection by its well-defined borders. It’s a bright red rash that looks slightly raised along the borders and can also take on a scaly appearance. If the rash lasts longer than a couple days and doesn’t respond well to diaper creams, than it’s probably a yeast infection and your baby should see a doctor for treatment. I’ve also heard that pharmacists can mix up an anti-fungal cream without a prescription but I would still recommend a visit to the pediatrician.
When your baby develops a diaper rash, don’t panic. Just follow your instincts, make use of these diaper rash tips, and have patience. Babies heal fast and with the proper care, the diaper rash should disappear within a couple of days. If the diaper rash persists, make an appointment with your doctor just to make sure everything is okay.
Which suggestions are your favorite to help avoid bad diaper rash?