Diaper rash (or nappy rash, as it is called in some countries) is one of the most common baby problems, and most babies will have it at some time.
Red, inflamed skin in the diaper area, sometimes raised and blistered, is diaper rash. Your baby may be more unsettled than usual and may cry when you change the diaper.
The problem normally starts when your baby begins to have solid food, but the baby’s skin can also react to certain foods the breast-feeding mother has eaten or when the baby has been prescribed antibiotic medicine.
As your baby grows older, the problem lessens, and by the age of 15 months, there should be no more diaper rash.
“Prevention is the best cure” as the old saying goes. Try these easy natural ways to help keep your baby rash-free:
- Try to give your baby 30 minutes of diaper-free kicking each day. Put baby on a soft mat on the floor with a waterproof sheet or towel underneath. Even quite young babies revel in the freedom of being unrestrained by a diaper. Make sure the room is warm and the baby is not in a draught.
- Natural sunshine is a great healer. Let your baby kick in the sun, even if it is indoors, for about 10 minutes, without a diaper on. Make sure the sun is not too hot for baby’s tender skin in hot climates; in cold climates, make sure baby is warm enough while having the “sun bath.”
- Change diapers often and promptly after baby poops in the diaper. Urine and feces irritate a baby’s sensitive skin very quickly. Make sure you completely clean the skin, using plain, warm water on the diaper area. A spray bottle is great for this job. Then wipe the skin dry with a soft towel before putting a clean diaper on.
- If the skin is too sore to dry properly, use a hair dryer on the ‘cool’ setting.
- Be careful not to have the diaper too tight around the baby’s tummy and legs. Allow room for some air flow to help keep the skin dry.
Don’t use diapers, wipes or products on baby’s skin that contain fragrance or alcohol. Both are known irritants to a tender skin. An ordinary damp washcloth works as well as expensive wipes.
Experiment with different types and brands of diapers. If your baby is getting lots of diaper rashes, change brands of disposables or try cloth nappies until you find a brand that doesn’t contribute to diaper rash for your baby.
Treatments are readily available for diaper rash, with most over-the-counter ointments containing zinc oxide. Vaseline, a petroleum product, is popular with some people. Olive oil and a few drops of water, whisked together, soothe baby’s skin.
A warm bath will soothe the discomfort of diaper rash, especially if you add a cup of oatmeal under the running water. Let baby kick without a diaper to help the affected skin dry out and heal.