7 Things No One Tells You About Diaper Rash!
1. Don’t let your baby sit in a dirty or wet diaper.
The most common cause of diaper rash is irritation from sitting in pee or poop. You can easily check a disposable diaper for pee by pinching it to see if it’s wet. And we all know babies usually poop during or soon after eating. Stay on top of it, especially with toddlers who may not like to be interrupted during play. Better an interruption than a case of painful diaper rash.
2. There are a variety of causes for diaper rash besides just contact with urine and poop.
These include bacterial or yeast infections, new foods in the diet, antibiotics, irritation from wipes or detergent, and already sensitive skin (eczema for example).
This is an important take-home message: while your garden-variety diaper rash is caused by a baby who sits too long in pee or poop, there can be more serious infections caused by bacteria or yeast. More on this in a minute.
3. Apply a barrier cream or ointment.
First, clean the area well with warm water or a diaper wipe. Allow baby’s bum to dry, then apply a thick barrier to the entire rashy area. Replace with a clean diaper.
A good piece of advice from the Mayo Clinic web site on diaper rash: “Don’t try to scrub off this protective layer (of cream or ointment) completely at the next diaper change, as that could hurt the skin more. If you do want to remove it, try using mineral oil on a cotton ball.”
4. Air out your baby’s bum.
Don’t rush to put baby back in a diaper if you don’t have to. Let them hang out au naturelle for a bit. Some parents will even use a hair dryer on the coolest setting to dry baby’s skin before re-diapering.
5. Avoid powders.
Yes, you may have seen babies get “powdered up” with talcum powder or cornstarch, but that practice is a thing of the past. Doctors warn that babies can inhale the powder, leading to breathing problems and other health concerns. Bottom line: no baby powder.
6. Some “natural” solutions do work.
Try aloe vera or lanolin (you may have some left over from nursing). One suggestion: Corona Ointment, which is made of lanolin. Dr. Ari Brown, pediatrician and co-author of Baby 411, notes that even though Corona Ointment is made for horses, the ointment’s active ingredient (lanolin) has worked well for her patients. It’s relatively inexpensive and Corona’s 14 ounce jar is also handy, compared to lanolin designed for babies that usually comes in one ounce tubes.
7. If over-the-counter remedies don’t work, see your doctor to call in the big guns.
“Not working” means your baby’s rash doesn’t get better after a few days using an over-the-counter creams or ointments. Or the diaper rash gets more severe, bleeds or oozes, causes pain when baby pees or poops—or if baby has a fever. These are red flags—it’s time to call your doc.
When treating diaper rash, the natural assumption is baby’s diaper rash is caused by pee and poop in contact with skin. But if barrier treatments don’t improve the situation, you should check in with your doctor to see if the rash is caused by yeast infection or bacterial infection. Your doc may suggest a prescription medication to clear it up.