Diaper rash is an irritation or skin breakdown on your baby’s bottom. When your baby has a diaper rash you might notice redness or small bumps around the diaper area. Sometimes the rash is only seen on your baby’s bottom, but you may also see a diaper rash on the lower abdomen close to where the diaper fastens, on or around the genitals, or in any creases or folds of skin.
Diaper Rash Causes
Diaper rash is generally caused by baby’s bottom having prolonged contact with urine or feces. If a baby is left in a diaper for too long, the extended contact with urine and feces can irritate the skin, cause redness, or cause skin breakdown.
Urine and feces are not the only things that can irritate a baby’s skin. Babies can also be sensitive to certain laundry detergents, diaper wipes, or the diaper itself. Some moms claim that their babies develop a rash with certain brands of disposable diapers and clear up with other brands. Trying more than one brand may help you decide which brand works best for your baby.
Cloth diapers may be better for baby’s skin than disposables, but they do require more frequent changes and if you use cloths you also need to pay attention to how you launder your diapers. Bleach and harsh detergents may irritate your baby’s skin.
Yeast infections are another cause of diaper rash. A yeast rash looks a little different than a contact diaper rash. If your baby has a yeast diaper rash, you may notice red raised bumps with sharp borders. This type of diaper rash may go away on its own, but often requires a prescription from your doctor to treat.
Diaper Rash Prevention and Treatment
Change your baby’s diaper frequently. Try not to let your baby sit in a wet or soiled diaper for very long. Absorbent disposable diapers can help pull moisture away from the skin but they still should be changed each time baby wets or soils his diaper.
Use a warm wash cloth to gently clean baby’s bottom. Avoid soap and diaper wipes when your baby has a diaper rash. Chemicals and soaps may irritate your baby’s skin. Try using plain warm water to clean your baby’s bottom instead.
Expose your baby’s bottom to fresh air. The best time to do this is right after a diaper change. If you can, let your baby have a little naked time to let his bottom get some air. If you are worried about messes you can place an old blanket or towel underneath him just in case.
Use a diaper rash ointment. Diaper rash ointment that contains zinc oxide or petroleum jelly creates a barrier protecting your baby’s delicate skin from moisture. Using a diaper rash ointment may be all it takes to treat and prevent diaper rash.
If your baby’s diaper rash doesn’t go away within a week, call your pediatrician. You should also call your doctor if your baby has a fever, if the rash spreads to other parts of his body, if you notice large bumps, if your baby seems to be in pain, or has other abnormal symptoms.