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Diaper Rash : Bottom’s Up !

This post is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)

What is Diaper Rash?

It is the most common problem faced by babies and their caretakers.

They appear as red patchy areas near the baby’s private part (genitals) region or on the bottom.

Generally, they happen due to moist diapers and sensitive skin of the baby.


What causes those nasty rashes?

• Infrequently changes diaper: The long exposure of urine or stool to the baby’s soft sensitive skin leads to the development of redness (inflammation) of the skin causing the baby to be quite irritated and cranky.

• Tight Diaper: Wearing a tight or a diaper smaller in size for baby’s weight causes rubbing against the skin causing redness or chafing. Even tight clothing causes chafing and redness of the skin.

• Sensitive skin: Babies with sensitive skin or those who have skin conditions like dermatitis (eczema) are more prone to develop rashes.

• Diarrhea: It causes frequent staining of the diaper and irritates the baby’s skin which easily leads to rashes.

• Introducing new food in diet: On starting the baby with semi-solids/ solids, since there is a change in texture and content of the food, there is a change in content, color, texture, and frequency of baby’s poop. It increases the chances of developing diaper rash.

• Infection: Bacterial or fungal infections take place in warm and moist places hence the areas covered by diapers provide the best site for these infections to grow. Fungal infections are seen more in the folds whereas bacterial infections appear more as crowded tiny to large projections (pustules). Recurrent fungal (candidal) infections can be indicative of some underlying diseases (immune deficiencies or type I diabetes ).

• Use of antibiotics: When the baby is on antibiotics or for breastfed babies when the mother is taking antibiotics it causes diarrhea in babies which causes the rashes and secondly the antibiotic prevents the good bacteria from preventing fungal infections.

• Using talc powder or cornstarch: There are really bad for the baby, especially for the lungs and the cornstarch has shown to worsen the rashes.

• Using too much of oil or cream: Too much of everything is bad. Very little oil or cream should be used to keep the baby’s bum soft. Using too much oil or the cream causes the skin to stay moist hence leads to the development of rashes.

• Detergents, fabric softeners, or use of fragranced products: They cause irritation and allergic reaction of the baby’s skin leading to rashes.

• Allergic reaction: Since the material of diaper ranges from cotton, bamboo, microfiber, hemp, and plastic, some babies’ skin is sensitive to different kinds of diapers available and develop an allergic reaction to a certain product.

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What do rashes look like?

• Skin appears red and swollen

• It’s painful to touch

• Baby appears irritated and cranky

• They appear as redness or clustered tiny bumps in the folds, bottom and in the crease between thighs and genitals (inguinal folds)

Alert Signs

• If there is Fever associated with the rash (>100.40F/ 380C)

• Severe pain

• Bleeding

• Clear or tinted fluid leaking out from the site of the rash

• Tiny bumps that are filled with fluid

• Baby refusing feds

How to prevent it?

Change diapers as often as the baby takes fed. Make it a routine to change diaper after feeding, it leaves the baby’s bum dry and soft. If in between the feds the baby dirty the diaper, change it.

Use wet soft washcloths or cotton pads to clean the skin in dabbing fashion and use another dry cloth/ cotton pad again in dabbing fashion to dry the skin completely. Use simple water to clean and you can follow it up with a pea-size drop of coconut oil as moisturizer. The best option is to use a spray bottle filled with water, few squared cotton pads (Primababy, Mothercare, Muji, or cut them out from a big cotton roll), dry sheet and cold-pressed coconut oil for every diaper change.

Avoid too tight diapers or clothes: it helps in keeping the area airy and moist free. Prevents rubbing of the skin and chafing. Use the diaper according to the baby’s weight.

Naked time: Promote keeping the baby without a diaper for a longer period, say before bath time, daily in order to prevent rashes in the most natural way.

Use extra-absorbent diapers: Since at night time the diaper is worn by the baby for a long time before getting a change its better to use extra- absorbent diaper to keep the baby’s bum dry. If such an option is not available, make sure to change diaper after 4-5 hours in the night after the baby has taken fed or change when you feel the diaper is dirty.

Wash hands: wash your hands before and after handling diaper change of baby in order to prevent infection.

Use layering/ barrier creams: If you notice slightest redness or irritation in the diaper region, it’s better to use a cream that contains Zinc in it in order to prevent contact of the skin with urine or poop. (Few options : Desitin, Balmex, A+B, Equate baby, Boudreaux’s, triple paste or Burt’s Bee).

Washing baby’s clothes: Pre-soak soiled diaper cloths in cold water then wash them with warm water, mild fragrance-free detergent and softener, and use bleach/ vinegar/ antiseptic liquid-like diluted Dettol. Then wash the cloth again in cold water to remove the detergent completely from the cloth.

Use cloth or disposable diapers: They are inexpensive and are better tolerated by babies with sensitive skin. They reduce risk of allergic reactions.

Avoid using baby wipes: They all contain some percentage of chemicals or substances that can irritate your baby’s skin. Best is to use plain water and maybe a mild fragrance-free soap.

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• See a doctor if any of the alert signs are present.

• Doctor might prescribe antibiotics or corticosteroid ointment

• Siloderm Mixi Cream: It contains beclomethasone which heals the inflammation, neomycin prevents bacterial growth, and Clotrimazole acts on the fungal growth and prevents it. It is to be applied to the affected area 2-3 times per day till there is a relief. Consult a physician before using the medication.


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