If you have a baby, chances are you’re going to have diaper rash. Most babies get it at some point, but thankfully, it’s generally harmless if treated. With a newborn wetting and/or soiling diapers approximately 10 times a day (70 times a week), that’s a lot of diapers and a lot of potential diaper rash. But rest assured, at Westchester Health we’re here to help, with tips and advice for keeping your little one clean, dry and rash-free. Lauren Adler, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician with our Westchester Health Pediatrics group, has written a great blog on how to prevent diaper rash and how to diaper your new little bundle of joy like a pro. New parents, take a read.
Most cases of diaper rash occur because your baby’s skin is sensitive and can easily become irritated by a wet or soiled diaper. Typically, diaper rash looks red and bumpy and will go away in a few days with warm baths, diaper cream and a little air time out of the diaper. With a diaper rash, the skin underneath the diaper area is red and irritated. It may appear all over your baby’s bottom or genital area, or only in certain places, and may or may not involve the folds of the skin.
5 tips for preventing diaper rash
- Change your baby’s diaper frequently, especially after bowel movements.
- Thoroughly clean and air-dry the diaper area at each changing. Sometimes sitting your baby in a few inches of lukewarm water does the best job of getting the skin clean.
- After cleaning the area with mild soap and water or a wipe, apply a diaper rash or “barrier” cream. Creams with zinc oxide are preferred because they form a barrier against moisture.
- If you’re using cloth diapers, wash them in dye- and fragrance-free detergents.
- If possible, let your baby go un-diapered for part of the day. This gives the skin under the diaper a chance to air out.
NOTE: If diaper rash continues for more than 3 days or seems to be getting worse, call your doctor. It may be a fungal infection that requires a prescription.
How to diaper like a pro
- Always wash your hands thoroughly before and especially after changing a diaper.
- After each bowel movement or if the diaper is wet, lay your baby gently on his/her back on a flat, secure surface. A changing table with raised sides (so your baby can’t roll off) is best.
- Remove the dirty diaper and using the wet washcloth or wipes, gently wipe your baby’s genital area clean. With girls, wipe from front to back to avoid a vaginal or urinary tract infection. Note: when removing a boy’s diaper, be aware that exposure to the air may make him urinate, so be careful!
- To prevent or heal a rash, liberally apply diaper ointment or cream.
- If there appears to be chafing, sprinkle some cornstarch baby powder (not talc) on the area.
Contact your pediatrician right away if these conditions develop:
- The rash does not get better despite treatment in 4-7 days.
- The rash is getting significantly worse or has spread to other parts of the body.
- The rash appears also to have a bacterial infection, with symptoms such as a pus-like drainage or yellowish-colored crusting. This is called impetigo and needs to be treated with antibiotics.
- You are not certain what may be causing the rash.
- You suspect the rash could be from an allergy. Your pediatrician can help you pinpoint the possible allergen.
- The rash is accompanied by diarrhea continuing for more than 48 hours.
Want to learn more about diapering your baby? Come see us.
If you have questions, want more tips on diapering your baby, or would even like to come in and practice diapering, please come in to see one of our Westchester Health pediatricians. We’re here, whenever and wherever you need us.
To read Dr. Adler’s blog in full, click here.