4 Things You Can Do About Your Baby's Diaper Rash
As a parent, you’ll most likely find a diaper rash on your baby’s bottom at least once. While they are rarely serious, they can be stressful for you and painful to your baby.
Parents are often surprised at how quickly a diaper rash can show up. One moment your baby’s skin looks as smooth as, well, a baby’s bottom. A couple of hours later, an angry red diaper rash may appear, leaving you feeling guilty and frustrated.
What’s behind a diaper rash
In order to prevent and treat diaper rashes, it’s first helpful to know what causes them:
Irritation – Diapers can hold a baby’s urine and feces for an extended period of time. If a diaper is left on too long, it can cause skin to become irritated and inflamed.
Sensitivities – For some babies, diaper rashes can be from allergies or sensitivity to things such as soaps or diaper wipes. They can also be due to increased stools caused by allergies to food products.
Infection – The moist environment of your baby’s diaper area is prime breeding ground for bacteria and fungi to grow.
Treating diaper rash
To prevent diaper rash, it’s important to keep the area as dry as possible and to change diapers often. I tell parents to set a goal of changing a newborn’s diapers every two to three hours. When changing diapers, keep the following four things in mind:
- Clean the diaper area well after each change. If diaper wipes are irritating your baby’s bottom, use either a soft washcloth moistened with plain water, or wipes that contain only water.
- Make sure to pat the area dry. Rubbing can cause irritation and break down the skin.
- Apply a thick layer of diaper cream or ointment. The goal of these creams is to protect the area from moisture.
- Avoid putting the diaper on too tightly. A diaper that is too tight can cause skin irritation.
When to seek help for your baby’s rash
Despite all of your best efforts, there will probably be a time when your baby gets a diaper rash. Although most diaper rashes can be managed at home, contact your pediatrician if:
- The rash is worsening or not getting better after a few days of treatment at home.
- Your baby develops blisters or open sores.
- The skin is raw or bleeding.
- Your baby has fever or other signs of illness with the diaper rash.
These signs may suggest that your baby has a diaper rash caused by a yeast or bacterial infection. In these cases, an alternative treatment may be required for the rash to improve.
If you have questions about your baby’s rash, set up an appointment today with your Methodist Physicians Clinic pediatrician.