When babies are wrapped up in diapers all day, the combination of warm skin, urine, poop, and chafing can cause diaper rash. Diaper rash can be worse in hot, humid weather. No matter how clean the baby’s skin or how often you change the diaper, it is next to impossible to completely avoid diaper rash. However, there are steps you can take to minimize flare ups and reduce the severity of diaper rash when it happens.
Change the diaper as soon as it becomes wet or soiled. Clean baby’s bottom with warm water and wipe gently. Pat dry with a soft towel, but avoid rubbing. Rubbing too hard will cause irritation which can contribute to diaper rash. Apply a barrier cream at every diaper change. Petroleum jelly makes a good barrier cream for baby’s who are not prone to outbreaks of diaper rash. The jelly creates a barrier between the skin and the wetness that forms in the diaper.
For babies who are prone to more severe outbreaks of diaper rash, use a barrier cream that contains zinc oxide. Zinc oxide forms a thick, white barrier that shields baby’s bottom.
In the past, talcum powder and cornstarch were recommended to prevent diaper rash. However, babies can inhale talcum powder, causing health issues. Cornstarch encourages the growth of yeast. Current advice is to avoid the use of powders in the treatment and prevention of diaper rash.
If you prefer to use a home remedy to treat the irritation caused by diaper rash, consider adding a tablespoon of dried oatmeal to baby’s bath. Oatmeal soothes and protects the skin.
One unusual treatment for diaper rash that some moms swear by is breast milk. Topical application of breast milk has been shown to reduce the inflammation caused by diaper rash. This is due to breast milk’s natural antibacterial properties. After gently washing and drying the affected area, cover it with a thin film of breast milk and allow it to dry completely before putting on a diaper.
Allowing baby’s bottom plenty of time without a diaper can also help prevent diaper rash from forming. Fresh air helps baby’s bottom to stay dry and, without the rubbing of a diaper, chafing and capping is avoided. Just watch out for little accidents!
In addition, there are a wide range of over-the-counter creams which help to prevent diaper rash and treat any symptoms that your baby may be experiencing.
Every baby is different. Experiment with a range of diaper rash treatments to find that works best for you and your baby.