The skin of a new baby is flawless; soft, supple, and very sensitive.
The sudden appearance of diaper rash can be a real annoyance for both you and your baby and can become a nightmare if not dealt with swiftly.
All babies will experience having a diaper rash at some stage, so it is best to get educated and equip yourself with the necessary remedies so you can act fast and soothe the irritation.
What is Diaper Rash?
Diaper or nappy rash is a skin inflammation commonly found in the baby’s diaper area. Usually along the inguinal region and the baby’s bottom.
It is a condition that is most common for newborns up to 12 months.
Types of Diaper Irritations?
You may encounter multiple forms of nappy rash, and without treatment, it is unlikely the irritation will just go away.
Being able to identify the correct one will assist you in treating the symptoms and soothe your baby sooner.
Contact Diaper Rash
This is the most common rash and is characterized by red and irritated skin.
It is important to note that it is flat as compared to other types of diaper rash.
This type of rash is typically found between the folds and creases of the skin of the baby in the genital area.
This is caused by bacterial, fungal or viral infection. It is almost reddish-brown in color and can get very itchy.
Sometimes it can be oozing fluids and emits a foul odor.
A severe nappy rash can result in infection. The most common infection is the Candida albicans infection or yeast infection.
Urine and stool are the primary cause of infection of a diaper rash.
A yeast rash is patchy and will often result in swelling.
The irritation, or patch, is not concentrated in one area only. It is scattered across the affected area and raised in some areas.
What Causes Diaper Rash?
A baby’s skin is quite sensitive, and when it is exposed to urine and stool for long period of time can result in skin irritation.
This is more prevalent when your baby has frequent bowel movements or diarrhea.
Compared to urine, fecal matter has more pathogens that can cause skin infection.
Skin Irritants from Products
Be careful of the products that you are using for your baby. A baby’s skin is pure and untainted, harsh chemicals can cause irritations that can result in diaper rash.
It can be unpredictable what could cause a reaction so if you notice a recurring irritation it may be time to switch to a different brand of a product you have been using – or stop using the product altogether.
Some trial and error may be necessary to identify the culprit, and when you encounter problems look for alternatives with fewer or no chemicals.
New Food or Diet
When you start introducing solid food to your baby, the composition of your baby’s stool changes.
This can lead to a burning sensation when going through change that can heighten the irritation to your baby’s skin.
If you are breastfeeding your child, any change in your diet can also affect the stool of your child.
Friction and Tight Clothing
Tight-fitting diapers or clothing can rub up against the skin of your baby.
This can lead to a chafing irritation and eventually to nappy rash. The effects can be more noticeable in warmer weather.
Urine, sweat, plus friction, create the perfect recipe for diaper rash.
Signs and Symptoms of Diaper Rash?
Changes in the Skin
Nappy rash is red and can be tender to touch.
It usually found in the genital areas, and through to the buttocks and thighs.
Increase in Irritability
Babies with diaper rash are will get uncomfortable quickly and become irritable.
You will notice a change in the behavior of your child and no amount of feeding and carrying can console your baby when the discomfort sets in.
How to Prevent Diaper Rash?
As a general rule of thumb a newborn should be changed every two hours.
This is dependent on the type of diaper that you are using, but regardless you should change immediately after a bowel movement.
If you are using cloth diapers then it can irritate the skin quicker than a disposable and must be changed more frequently.
For disposable diapers, it will largely depend on the quality of the diaper that you are using.
To be safe, check it frequently if it is leaking or if the skin of your baby is wet. This habit will prevent the occurrence of diaper rash.
Check for Allergic Reactions
If it is your first time to use a specific brand of a diaper, check for any skin reaction.
To ensure you are not wasting money you should always have some experience with a brand before buying in bulk!
For those who use cloth diapers, make sure that the detergent that you are using to wash it is hypoallergenic. Avoid anything that contains any harmful chemicals and potential allergens.
Add half a cup of vinegar to your washing machine for the rinse cycle when washing your cloth diapers. This will help rid the fabric of potential irritants.
Be sure to clean the genital area, buttocks, and thighs after every diaper change.
For a newborn baby, it is best to use cotton soaked in plain water to avoid irritants.
It does take more time, but the effort will save you from a crying baby later on.
If you are using wet wipes, use unscented ones because they contain lesser chemicals. You can also try rinsing wet wipes with water to remove any chemicals.
Use Diaper Cream
Not all babies will need this, but for an extra preventative measure, you can apply diaper cream after every change.
This will serve as an additional barrier on the skin to protect from urine and stool.
4 Tips to Effectively Heal Diaper Rash at Home
1. Prevention is Better than Cure
A proactive approach to your baby’s care will minimize the chances of irritation forming in the first place.
This will save you a lot of trouble (and sanity), and your baby from that discomfort. So read, and re-read the tips above!!
2. Diaper Creams and Ointments
It is best to use creams and ointments that contain zinc oxide. This is the main ingredient that creates that barrier of protection against wetness.
Preventing further irritation is critical to a fast healing process. Further aggravation can be quite painful for your baby, so the right cream or ointment is a must.
3. Soak in a Warm Bath Daily
If your baby’s skin becomes raw and red, you can soak it in warm water with baking soda.
Just add two tablespoons of baking soda in a tub of warm water and wash the area with diaper rash.
Allow your baby to sit in the tub for a few minutes. It can help soothe itchiness and tenderness.
4. Avoid Powders
Powders usually absorb moisture. This is the last thing that you want if your baby already has diaper rash.
The powder can accumulate in skin creases, worsen the problem.
When to Call the Doctor?
A typical diaper rash will usually subside in 24 hours. There may be times when medical attention is warranted if the irritation persists beyond this.
- No improvement after 2-3 days.
- Worsening of the irritation
- If your baby exhibits additional symptoms such as fever. This could be a sign of infection.
- The presence of pustules. It is usually yellow in color and is filled with fluid. This can mean that there’s a presence of bacteria and additional medication is needed.
- The presence of white scales and lesions in addition to redness along the skin folds. These are signs that there’s yeast infection and again, you need additional medication to help it heal.
Diaper rash is very preventable. Remember that it may be necessary to undergo a trial and error phase until you know what works for your baby.
Reactions to diapers, detergents, and fabric softeners can be unpredictable. So no need to stress.
Always keep cream or ointment ready so you can treat symptoms as they arise, and eliminate the problem before it progresses.
Diaper rash is manageable and with the right method, your baby is going to be happy and comfortable again in no time.