Did you just notice the skin around your baby’s bottom is red, sore, scaly and tender? Well this could be because of your baby’s diapers. No matter how careful you are, babies will get these diaper rashes at some point of time
What causes diaper rash?
1. Prolonged exposure. – wearing diapers for a long time can trigger and irritate your baby’s sensitive skin. They are more prone to diaper rash if they have diarrhoea or increased passage of stools as the faecal matter is more harmful than urine.
2. Tight fit – tight fit diapers tend to rub against their soft delicate skin and can lead to rash
3. Chemical reaction– each baby’s skin is different from the other. The rashes could be due to a detergent, fabric softener you have used to clean the cloth diaper. Or it could be a reaction to the baby wipes, or certain ingredients in the baby’s lotions, powder or oils.
4. Food content– once the baby starts on solid food, there is a change in the pattern of the diet and this can initially increase the stool frequency which can lead to diaper rash. If the baby is breast fed, even the food content eaten by the mother can cause diaper rash.
5. Skin type– babies with skin conditions like atopic and seborrheic dermatitis are more prone to have diaper rash.
6. Reaction to antibiotics– bacteria can be both beneficial as well as harmful. When a baby takes antibiotic that kills the bacteria, even the bacteria that keeps the yeast growth under control is also being killed during the process. And new born tends to have diaper rash due to yeast infection. Antibiotics use also tends to increase the risk of diarrhoeas.
7. Infection– urine tends to change the pH level of the skin and this allows bacteria and fungus to grow more easily. A warm moist environment with lack of any air circulation makes an environment suitable for bacteria and fungi to thrive thereby causing a rash.
The skin around the buttocks, thighs and genital are red, tender looking.
Baby seems very uncomfortable and cranky than usual especially during diaper change
Cries profusely when the region around the buttocks and genitals are being washed or touched.
The best way to prevent diaper rash is to keep the diaper area clean and dry. A few simple strategies can help decrease the likelihood of diaper rash developing on your baby’s skin.
Change-Make sure you change the diaper which is wet or dirty promptly.
Rinse– make sure you clean the baby’ bottom with warm water during each diaper change. You can also use moist clothes or baby wipes for the same. Be extremely gentle while cleaning and avoid using wipes with alcohol / fragrance or strong soaps.
Air dry– never scrub the baby’ bottom as it can further irritate the skin, either you clean the area with soft towel or allow it to air dry.
Tight diapers-avoid using tight diapers as it stops the airflow and causes a moist environment favorable for bacterial and fungal growth.
Diaper-free time– allow your babies to have some time without diaper. Exposing the skin to natural air is beneficial
Ointment- if you baby gets rashes too often apply ointment in those regions during each diaper change. The ones that contain petroleum jelly and zinc oxide are good for diaper rash.
Wash hands– make sure you immediately wash your hands after each diaper change to avoid spread of bacteria and other microorganisms to various parts of your baby’s body.
Apply ointment containing zinc oxide or petroleum jelly on your baby’s clean and dry bottom before putting the diaper.
Baby powder can be applied. But make sure it is kept away from the baby’s face as the talc and cornstarch in the powder can cause breathing problems. Hence most doctors don’t recommend it.
In case if the baby has a fungal infection, antifungal creams can be used.
Topical antibiotics can be used in cases of bacterial infection.
Avoid using steroid creams as they can further irritate the baby’s bottom if it is not used the right way.
Consult a doctor
- If the rash is very severe
- Shows no improvement despite treatment.
- Bleeding, itching or certain discharge from those areas.
- Baby cries uncontrollably while passing urine or motion mostly due to pain and burning sensation.
- Rash when associated with fever.