Diaper rash dilemmas
What happens if you open your baby’s diaper and there is more than just poop there…but a red bottom?
Those little cheeks, so soft, smooth and darn cute! Baby cheeks are cute…at both ends! It is so upsetting when a parent takes a diaper off one day, and there it is…a little red, irritated, sore bottom. What did you do wrong? The simple answer is nothing. There are very few children that get through the diaper years without at least one case of diaper rash. Babies have very sensitive skin, that is why it is so soft and sweet! We put a diaper on that soft and sweet behind that can rub and irritate add a little chemical irritation like poop and pee and it is amazing our babies don’t have little red bottoms all the time! So what can you do to help prevent diaper rash??
- Change your baby’s diaper often. A newborn will need a change every couple of hours. As your child gets older, you will be able to change less often. Newborns will often have a poopy diaper every time you feed…change it right away!
- Clean your baby’s bottom well. Try wipes that are non scented and alcohol free if your baby is having problems with diaper rash. Sometimes good old fashioned warm water and wash cloths are the best for sensitive skin.
- If you use disposable diapers, experiment with different brands. Some diapers fit better and cause less friction on your baby’s skin, some have fragrance that irritates others just irritate. Find a brand that works for your baby.
- Use a barrier cream with every diaper change. Think “water proof” when you are putting diaper cream on your baby’s bottom. There really are 2 basic creams, a petroleum based ointment like a petroleum jelly (vaseline, A & D ) and zinc oxide based cream, think white and thick ( butt paste, Desitin). Spread the barrier cream over your baby’s bottom and in the creases with each diaper change to keep the pee and poop off the skin.
3 main types of diaper rash
- Contact dermatitis ( Fancy word for skin that has been in contact with irritating things…pee and poop!) This is the most common type of diaper rash and can be very mild looking like just a little red irritation to more severe where the skin is very red, raw, and even open areas that may bleed.
- Yeast rash This diaper rash is caused by a fungus. The yeast can either start the diaper rash, or it can grow once the skin has started to become irritated from the poop or pee. The rash looks like a solid red area with sharp borders and then little satellite bumps that spread out from the red area. Many times the rash will spread into the folds of skin where it is warm and moist. Stubborn rashes are often yeast.
- Food irritation or allergy ring Some foods can irritate a baby’s bottom, especially very acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomato based sauces. Some children will actually be allergic to a food resulting in rash, but this usually will result in eczema patches in other places on the body too. Foods that are irritating will result in a red ring around your baby’s anus. Think about the foods your child has eaten and try eliminating a food that may be irritating.
The number one way to treat diaper rash is to keep the skin clean, dry and protected.
1. Wash the area gently
- Try using water instead of wipes. If you use soap, a soap like Cetaphil is very gentle. If the skin is very raw and open, sitting your baby in a bath tub to wash is much gentler on the skin. You might even add a couple tablespoons of baking soda to the water to buffer the acid from the pee and poop.
- If you are using a thick barrier cream, pat the area clean. Sometimes the thick cream is difficult to clean off. Clean the poop and pee off of the cream and reapply another layer. The cream does not need to be totally washed off if the poop and pee is removed. It is a barrier, so the skin underneath is protected. Trying to scrub off the thick cream will damage the skin more.
2. Dry the bottom gently.
- Pat your baby’s bottom dry.
- Let your baby be naked and open to air. Place newborns on an absorbent pad. Try keeping the bottom open to air several times a day. Toddlers can be a bit more of a challenge!
- Powders are not much help. Corn starch based are the only type of powders that should be used on children. No talc!
3. Use barrier creams. Remember you are trying to keep the skin away from the poop and pee.
- Start with any cream that has zinc in it…most of the popular diaper rash barrier creams do. These creams are white and thick and have other ingredients like lanolin, petroleum jelly, oatmeal and others. Many parents find a favorite one and swear by it, there is no right or wrong one to try. Keep your baby’s bottom coated with the barrier cream.
- If you have an area that is open and sore, sometimes taking a cotton ball soaked in an antacid like liquid Maalox or something similar and covering the open area with the antacid and then a barrier cream will buffer the acid from the pee and poop. It is soothing.
4. Use Clotrimazole ointment ( generic for Lotrimin) if you suspect a yeast rash
- Use this over the counter anti-fungal cream 3 times a day and cover it with a barrier cream.
5. Use 1% hydrocortisone cream
- This over the counter cream can be put on severe diaper rash twice a day. It will decrease the redness and inflammation of the rash.
- Put this cream on first and then apply the barrier cream over it.
- Only use this cream for a few days, it is not meant to be used for long periods of time. It should reduce the redness very quickly.
There are the basics of diaper rash and treatment. Very few children get through those diaper years without at least one episode of a sore bottom. Keep the three steps in mind….Clean, Dry, and Protect!
Soon that little baby butt will be soft and sweet again….
Share your favorite diaper creams and rash solutions!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.