Diaper rash. It’s not a sexy subject. Unfortunately, when you have diaper sized babies, it’s one that comes up from time to time. The combination of bacteria, moisture and tender skin can’t help but sometimes result in a yucky rash. This week, a chat with a friend who’s been fighting one on her daughter’s bum reminded me of some awful ones my kids have had. We all know about diaper cream but sometimes, it just doesn’t seem to work. What’s the alternative? I’ve learned a lot since I first encountered them.
What I’ve learned about diaper rashes since giving birth to two very sensitive skinned little girls is to -
1. Take action immediately. Don’t wait! Every moment counts. Ok – lil’ bit dramatic but it’s real. Diaper rashes can go from bad to worse quickly if you don’t take them seriously. Instead of a slightly pink bum, you can end up fighting a stubborn yeast rash or, worst case, a staph infection. Trust me, it’s easier to kick it as soon as you see pink.
2. Lose the wipes and rinse with water. Yep. You heard me. Wipes contain soap and irritate sore skin. How would you like someone wiping soap all over a rash on your most tender spots? Do you know that the human race has survived for thousands of years without disposable wipes? I know. Crazy but true.
Instead, gently wipe off any solid stuff and rinse with water. If you’re home, simply rinse your baby’s behind in the sink or bathtub. Your hand is the best tool for ensuring that his or her squishy bum is completely clean. Plus, it won’t irritate like a washcloth. Gently pat dry with a soft cloth. If you’re out in public, take a water squirt bottle and some gentle cloth wipes with you. A cut up flannel baby blankie works great.
3. Gently pat some cornstarch or arrowroot powder on the rash. You can buy cornstarch in any supermarket and arrowroot is not hard to find in natural food stores. They’re bothcheap and work like a charm. This is best if the skin isn’t broken (it shouldn’t be if you take action immediately). It will dry the beginnings of the rash out – like a charm.
“What???” You may be asking.
“What about Diaper cream? My mom and my mom’s mom used xyz cream for every diaper rash! They swear by it!”
Well, if that’s working for you, go for it.
I try not to use diaper creams for two reasons. First, it’s been my experience that most of the time, diaper cream isn’t needed if you wash and add corn starch right away. (Of course there are exceptions).
The other reason I don’t often use diaper cream is that diaper cream is usually oil based (it’s meant to keep moisture off the bootie) but it also traps moisture and bacteria if you haven’t carefully rinsed it and it can make things go from bad to worse fast.
4. Loosely fasten a fresh diaper on your baby’s sweet pink bum or let him or her go “au naturel for a while. Just put a towel under them to catch the drips. The idea is to let the air get to the sore spot and heal it. The faster it dries out, the less likely it is to develop into something serious.
5. Change the diaper as soon as it’s wet or soiled. I can’t emphasize this enough. Remember this equation.
Bacteria + moisture + tender skin = diaper rash
Hope this is helpful for you mamas dealing with diaper rash. If your baby’s rash has progressed past this first stage, you may need to take other action. We’ll talk about that in another post.