One minute your baby happy and the skin in the diaper area looks great; the next he’s sad and red…
Diaper rash can come really quickly! And if your baby is crying and you know that he’s not sleepy or hungry, checking the diapers both for their content and your baby’s skin might show you the answer to his fussiness.
Here, I will explain what diaper rash really is it and what is the best way to treat it. Obviously, it is something that makes a baby very uncomfortable and you want to get it cleared up as soon as possible.
How To Deal With Diaper Rash
- Causes of diaper rash
- How to detect nappy rash
- What to do about it and How to prevent it
- When to call a doctor
Causes of diaper rash
The medical term for diaper rash is “Irritant diaper dermatitis”. It simply means a condition that irritates the skin in the diaper area.
You must remember that a baby has very sensitive skin and that it really doesn’t take much for the skin to become red and irritated. I am telling you this because there are many causes of diaper rash.
Anything from the baby’s own urine to a new food that has been introduced, to oral thrush (yes!), can cause the rash.
Here are the most common causes of diaper rash:
- The combination of the bacteria from a bowel movement and urine can lead to the production of ammonia. This is incredibly rough on the delicate skin of a baby.
- Diaper rash can also be the result of the diaper rubbing on the skin. This is commonly known as chafing.
- There is also chemical sensitivity if you are using a scented lotion, body wash, cleansing clothes or the diaper themselves can also cause redness and irritation. Here is an example of a rash that most likely is caused by the diaper; Pampers in this case.
- Food is also a causative agent. New foods, particular solids, change the composition of the baby’s stool. This can also cause more bowel movements.
- Yeast infections are also common causes of diaper rash.
- Finally, a baby suffering from oral baby thrush can get a nappy rash from this if it spreads from the mouth to the rest of the body.
How to detect nappy rash
The best advice I can give you about how to spot nappy rash is if the diaper area begins to look red and irritated you will want to take steps to get rid of diaper rash. Know that not all rashes appear the same, the skin can actually be slightly puffy and warm, or tender to the touch.
The diaper rash can also vary in intensity. It can be mild, where it looks like small little spots in a small area. The diaper rash can also be so extreme that the entire area is red, swollen and tender. It can also be anywhere in between.
What to do about it and how to prevent it
The severity of the nappy rash will dictate which remedy is best. But here is a breakdown of remedies.
- Bare bottom as much as possible. Allowing your baby to sleep with a bare bottom when he has a rash is a good idea. Just use a plastic sheet in the crib to protect the mattress. Obviously, if you have floors that can be easily cleaned that is ideal. When it is warm outside, let your baby spend time outside without diapers too. The goal is to get the fresh air to the baby’s bottom. This is also the perfect way to prevent diaper rash!
- Changing the baby’s diaper often is also a good idea. Even if it means that you are changing baby in the middle of the night. Make sure that you clean the diaper area well and also dry it carefully afterward.
- There are also diaper ointments that can be applied to baby’s bottom to help heal the diaper rash and prevent it from getting worse. For example, ointments with white zinc oxide are usually very effective.
- Sometimes changing to another diaper brand can prevent and heal the rash.
- If you are in the process of introducing new foods to your baby, you can test to take away some of the newly introduced foods too and see if it helps. This should of course only work if your baby happens to be sensitive to any of these new foods
- Make sure your baby is not suffering from thrush since this can lead to diaper rash in severe cases. Learn more about baby thrush symptoms and remedies here.
- Consider using cloth diapers. For some babies, cloth diapers are the only way to get rid of the rash. Learn more about how to use cloth diapers here.
When to call a doctor
Calling the doctor is usually not necessary unless the area looks infected. If there are blisters or any oozing areas you need to call the doctor and get baby in as soon as possible.
Also, if the rash doesn’t go away, but rather gets worse, despite doing all you can to get rid of it, talking to a doctor is a good idea. If a yeast infection, including oral baby thrush, is the cause, the rash won’t go away without medical treatment.
In a few cases, milk intolerance or some other food allergy may also be a reason for diaper rash, but before experimenting with your own or your baby’s diet, you should consult a doctor.