Diaper rash can be alarming for parents to find on their baby, as it appears in bright red patches that look irritated, inflamed, and most of all, uncomfortable. Unfortunately, diaper rash can be very discomforting for babies, so it’s important to treat it as soon as it forms. In most cases, it will clear with at-home treatments, including frequent diaper changes, air drying, and over-the-counter ointments. Of course, in cases of persistent diaper rash, parents should bring it up with their child’s pediatrician who can provide stronger treatment options.
Babies with skin sensitivities, such as eczema, may be more prone to diaper rash. BabyGaga recently had the chance to speak with Thai-Anh Hoang, co-founder and CEO of EmBeba, which recently released their Don’t Be Rash Diaper Balm, a chemical, fragrance and cruelty free, all-natural diaper balm and skin protectant. “Diaper rash is caused by prolonged wetness of the skin which compromises the skin barrier, and that makes one more likely to develop rashes,” Hoang explained of diaper rash. “This happens more frequently with babies that have skin sensitivities like eczema.
However, there’s good news – and that’s that diaper rash can be prevented before it occurs. Parents can take a variety of steps to ensure their baby doesn’t suffer from diaper rash, or at the very least, if it does develop, it may not be as serious had the parents not taken precautions. Below we discuss what parents can and should do to prevent diaper rash before it forms.
Breastfeeding May Offer An Advantage
Let us be clear: fed is best. Some women choose not to breastfeed, or they aren’t able to successfully do so, and as such, they may choose to supplement with formula. However, breastfeeding has a variety of health benefits, including possible preventing diaper rash as some research suggests. Winnie Palmer Hospital explains, “Breastfed babies tend to suffer from diaper rash less than babies who aren’t breastfed (though we don’t exactly know why) so if you’re on the fence about breastfeeding, add this to your list of reasons in favor of it.” So, if you have the opportunity to breastfeed, preventing diaper rash is one of the many reasons you may be inclined to continue on with it.
Frequent (& Thorough) Diaper Changes Are Key
One of the main causes of diaper rash includes wet or infrequent diapers changes, which can understandably cause irritation to your baby’s skin. As such, an easy way to prevent diaper rash before it occurs is to make sure you’re changing your baby’s diaper as often as possible. Once you’ve noticed they’ve soiled their nappy, give it a change. If you’re questioning whether they did go no. 1 or 2 but are unsure, it’s better to play things safe and change it anyways. You could be saving your baby a lot of discomfort in the future.
Hoang emphasised the importance of keeping the baby’s bottom dry. “Based on my experience and advice from the pediatricians with whom we’ve consulted, it’s important to keep any affected area as dry as possible,” she explained. “You can do that by changing diapers more frequently in addition to using an effective diaper rash cream.”
Hoang continued, “Preventing rashes comes down to frequent diaper changes, keeping the area dry and protected, and providing an extra barrier of moisture to help with chafing and wetness.”
Additionally, it’s also important to be extremely thorough when cleaning your baby after a diaper change. This includes rinsing the baby’s bottom with warm water, as Mayo Clinic recommends. At the very least, wiping their bottom with a washcloth, baby wipes, or something of that nature can serve the same purpose. Just be sure to be delicate and use soaps or other products that are alcohol and fragrance free to avoid irritation.
Excess moisture can result in diaper rash, so even if you’re rinsing your baby’s bottom after every change, it’s still not enough to prevent irritation. Parents also need to make sure they’re drying the baby’s nether regions. As such, make sure to pat your baby’s bottom with a towel or washcloth. You can even choose to let it air dry before putting on their diaper and clothes. Whatever you do, make sure to not scrub your baby’s bottom too hard, as this can lead to skin irritation, which may include but is not limited to diaper rash.
Wash Your Hands Before & After Diaper Changes
Diaper rash can be caused by bacteria, yeast, and other substances that can transfer from a caregiver’s hand onto the baby’s body. As such, it’s a good idea to get into the routine of washing your hands before a diaper change as well as afterwards to make sure you’re not spreading anything to your baby that could irritate their skin, or worse, make them sick.
Find The Right Size Of Diapers
Diapers can cause diaper rash. Some parents think that it’s better if diapers fit snug rather than too loose in order to prevent it from falling off the baby. And while a diaper that’s too big is no good, the same goes for diapers that are too tight. If the diaper is too small, or if parents simply overtighten the diaper when putting it on their baby, it will obstruct the air flow, Mayo Clinic explains. This leads to a moist environment that is perfect for the development of diaper rash; it can also result in chafing. As such, making sure the diaper fits perfectly is an important step.
Interestingly, the publication adds that there’s no known different when it comes to cloth versus disposable diapers in terms of diaper rash. One hasn’t been proven to be better than the other when it comes to preventing skin irritation. Rather, the diaper’s fit seems to be most important.
Invest In A Diaper Rash Ointment
If your baby is prone to diaper rash, or you just want to take a preventative step, consider investing in a diaper rash ointment. Apply it to your baby after every diaper change. This can prevent skin irritation by creating acting as a barrier to protect the skin. When shopping for an ointment, it’s important to look at the quality of ingredients. Try to opt for an all-natural ointment that will be gentle on the baby’s skin.
Consult A Doctor For More Advice
If you’re taking all the precautions you can to prevent diaper rash and it keeps recurring, or your baby is suffering from a diaper rash that won’t go away, it may be time to speak to your child’s doctor. According to Washington Post, there are signs parents need to watch out for that indicate their baby’s diaper rash requires a professional’s help. These include:
- It doesn’t resolve itself within a few days.
- Red, raised bumps are visible, which can be a sign of a fungal or yeast diaper rash and may require an antifungal cream.
- The baby’s skin is tender, hard, or swelling. Especially if this is accompanied by fever, it may be sign of an infection. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
In many cases, diaper rash is preventable before it occurs. But with that being said, sometimes it’s persistent and requires medical attention. That’s okay – it doesn’t mean you as a parent are necessarily doing anything wrong. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the next best steps to take.