In my entire existence, I’ve come to realise that there’s nothing softer than a baby’s cute, little bottom. That incredibly flawless skin covering two perfectly moon-shaped mounds is a sight to behold. So imagine my horror, shock and dismay when one day, I carefully unwrapped my son out of his diaper, only to reveal angry red skin covered in bumps. My son’s first diaper rash has made an appearance, and it felt like a punch in the gut.
As moms, our kids’ adorable bottoms are our pride and joy. But that delicate, tender skin can rupture easily if not cared for properly. As a first-time parent, there is a deep learning curve. And like everything else in child care, once you figure out what causes diaper rash, you also learn how to heal it and prevent it from recurring effectively. Soon, your little one’s sweet little behind is restored to its former pristine glory.
The causes of diaper rash
There are a few reasons that cause your baby’s fragile skin to get inflamed.
- Friction from tight diapers or clothes: Your baby’s skin can repeatedly rub fabric or diapers again, if not worn properly
- Chemicals in disposable diapers and wet wipes: Your baby’s skin could be allergic to harsh chemicals in these products that are touching his skin, or else prolonged use can also trigger a reaction
- Your baby’s diaper isn’t changed enough: If you take too much time to check the diaper, and the stool or urine is just sitting in the diaper, it could cause a rash.
- Your baby has diarrhoea: If your little one is suffering from frequent bowel movements, that can also trigger a rash. Always keep an eye out when introducing a new food. Diarrhoea can be a sign of a food allergy.
- Your infant has sensitive skin: If your child has skin issues like eczema or sensitive skin, the skin can get frequently inflamed.
5 ways to prevent diaper rashes before they happen
The best way to deal with diaper rash is to act before they happen. Here are some tips towards preserving your baby’s fragile skin.
1. Give diaper-free time often:
Your baby doesn’t really need a nappy. It’s more for you than him. Airing your child’s bottom, by allowing him to go nappy free can help prevent rashes. Wait for your child to pass a stool or urine, and then let him go bottomless for some time. Ideally, aim for 2 or 3 hours every day.
2. Use cloth nappies more:
The chemicals and plastic material used in disposable nappies can chafe the skin. Nappies made from soft, natural fabrics help your baby’s skin breathe. Check out our post on cloth diaper brands here.
3. Change the soiled nappies often:
Don’t let your child sit in a wet or heavy nappy for too long as it can affect the skin (replace a poop-filled diaper immediately to avoid the possibility of UTI and other infections).
4. Apply coconut oil:
You can massage your baby’s skin with it or dab a small amount post-bath or before changing into a fresh diaper. Coconut oil has many therapeutic properties. It acts as a skin barrier between the nappy and your baby. It is also antibacterial and antifungal. It’s suitable for all Indian seasons, whether hot, humid or cold.
5. Diaper rash treatment:
The prevention techniques listed above can also work as diaper rash remedies. In addition to them, you can get over-the-counter cream or gel-based ointments that protect your baby’s skin from further aggravation, while gently healing the red bumps.
You can consult with your doctor or look for ointments that contain:
- Zinc oxide (popular creams like Sudocrem and Sebamed)
- Aloe vera
- Shea butter
Things to avoid to prevent diaper rash:
- Added fragrances (as these tend to irritate the skin further)
- Parabens and phthalates
- Essential oils
- Any talcum/baby/baking powder
When to visit a doctor in case of a diaper rash?
Most types of diaper rash are harmless and will disappear in 2 or 3 days. However, call or visit your paediatrician if:
- The rash persists longer than 5 to 7 days
- The rash spreads, get darker or increases
- The rash gets filled with pus
- Your baby is uncomfortable, cries a lot
- The rash spreads to the skin outside the diaper area
- Your baby gets a fever
The good news is that diaper rash doesn’t cause any long-lasting damage to your baby’s cute bottom. Just keep the area dry, aired and avoid harsh chemicals. And you can enjoy looking at your baby’s lovely, soft skin for a long time.