There have been few things more daunting to me as a new parent than the diaper rash that just won’t go away. I swear, I felt like my daughter had one from the moment she was born until she was almost 10 months old, but I finally found six easy and cheap fixes for the dreaded diaper rash–and later, I’ll post a list of five not-so-easy fixes that you’ll only do if you’re really desperate.
How Long Should a Diaper Rash Last?
Diaper rashes are a bummer, no matter how you look at it. If you’ve treated the rash with over-the-counter meds, and it hasn’t cleared up within six or seven days, you should consult a physician.
There are about eight-hundred-and-fifty-four (note my sarcasm) reasons a baby might get diaper rash. My daughter must have had reason #83…by a process of elimination, we ultimately determined that her rash was due to a yeast infection (thank you Dr. B). Seems silly. Babies aren’t adult women…but apparently our parts all work the same. Weird, huh? It took us FOREVER to find the problem and solve it, so in the interim we tried everything. And if you are trying to avoid a trip to the doctor like we were, feel free to follow our same path–but eventually, do go to the doctor if the rash just won’t go away…There’s no reason for babies to be itchy. Its just not right.
What does a Bacterial Diaper Rash Look Like?
If there are patches of bright red skin, blood in your baby’s stool, pus-filled bumps or blisters, the rash may be some type of bacteria. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell for sure without getting help from your favorite doctor. It might be best to check it out sooner than later if these symptoms are evident.
This is what we tried in our frugal quest to rid her of the rash:
- Rash cream. Now some of these can be kind of costly, but here’s a secret–go to the travel-stuff section and see if they have little tiny ones of several brands you can try.
- Switch diaper brands. This might not seem so cheap, but you’re buying diapers anyway, right? What’s it hurt to try a different brand if baby’s buttocks is sporting too much redness for comfort. Pampers, Huggies, store-brand…we tried them all. Each one has 2-3 types within each brand even. Sensitives, Cruisers….we tried all of those, too. We had particularly good luck with Pamper’s Cruisers line–but now that the rash is actually treated and the yeast infection (candida) is gone, it doesn’t matter which diaper we use, she’s great all the time. Kinda cool. Just FYI–some babies can’t tolerate any brand of disposable diapers, and parents may have to switch to cloth diapers.
- Paper towels instead of wipes. This might squick-out a lot of folks, but I don’t use fancy wipes (especially those that contain alcohol), so why does the baby? I break-out with the use of wipes on my hands too frequently, ergo, I thought: baby might be breaking out on her bum from the frequent use of baby wipes. So we stopped using the wipes altogether. We went with a roll of Bounty and water. Works very well. Despite having solved the underlying problem, we totally will never go back to wipes. The paper towels work just as well and can even be pre-wetted, placed in a wipe container and carried on-the-go like real wipes.
- Change baby’s diaper frequently. Baby’s skin can be sensitive to urine, so the more often you change diapers, the less irritated baby’s skin may be.
- Be UBER-Dry with Cornstarch. So, it’s hard to stay dry all the time when you’re sitting in a diaper. Not that I really recall my own experience because it’s been like a hundred years, but bodies just get hot, sweaty, and diapers are just right there…but one way to dry that area out without damaging sensitive skin is to sprinkle some cornstarch on that bum. You might not believe this, but baby powder is basically just corn starch. So, you can do either, but I figured I was working on a tight budget and I had no baby powder but I did have cornstarch in the pantry…not sure I’ve ever cooked with it, but on baby-butt it works like a charm to get the wet out.
- Go nekkidy for a day. This might be the cheapest of the potential options. We found it very difficult, because once you release baby from the confines of her diaper, she is suddenly really happy to widdle everywhere–and poopy too. So you need to be prepared. We were not, sadly and a pair of mommy’s favorite pants were toast. Poopy and khaki do not mix. But, if you can wrangle the nekkid-baby, this might just air-dry that rash out.
How do You Treat an Infected Diaper Rash?
A diaper rash that is (or appears to be) infected should be seen as soon as possible by a physician. It may take some antibiotics to clear this up. However, there are several different types of diaper rashes that can only be diagnosed by a professional. The last thing you want to do is make your baby’s rash worse.
Are Baths Good for Diaper Rash?
Yes, baths are good for diaper rash. The cleaner the baby, the less irritation–usually. The thing is that the rash could be caused by the soap you use for bathing baby, or the detergent used for washing your baby’s clothes. Here are some suggestions for improving baby’s bathing process:
- Be sure to use fragrance-free laundry detergent to wash baby’s wash cloths and towels. Don’t use any fabric softeners or dryer sheets.
- When cleansing baby’s bottom, use warm water and a soft washcloth to very gently clean baby.
- When baby does have a diaper rash, don’t rub that area, simply pat it dry. Rubbing can further irritate baby’s diaper rash.
- After baby’s bath, a good zinc oxide cream or petroleum jelly smeared on the diaper area works as a moisture barrier to help prevent diaper rash.
How do You Treat Severe Diaper Rash?
Severe diaper rash (red patches of skin or sores lasting more than 6 or 7 days) should be seen by a physician. If babies could talk and tell us where it hurts or how it feels, it would be so helpful! Since that is not the case, we have to rely on someone with more knowledge and experience than we have.
What Happens if Diaper Rash Goes Untreated?
Aside from baby being so uncomfortable that their (and your) life becomes unbearable, the rash could spread. If the rash is a bacterial infection (possibly staph or strep), it could become systematic and the baby could begin to have a fever or other symptoms.
What is the Difference Between Diaper Rash and Fungal Infection?
Diaper rash (not bacterial or fungal) is an irritation that affects the diaper area. Diaper rash will rarely spread to outside the diaper area. Most of the time, diaper rash is patchy red areas that do not have any bumps, blisters, or bleeding involved. A fungal infection will typically be more central to the genital area and in the skin folds, and if severe, can have pus-filled bumps.
What Foods Cause Acidic Poop in Babies?
While there are several food items that can cause acidic poop in babies, here is a short list of some of the most common food items:
- Citrus fruits and juices
Can Diaper Cream Make Rash Worse?
Diaper rash can be made worse with diaper cream. Some reasons for that are (but are not limited to):
- Baby could be allergic to the type of diaper cream used.
- Baby’s diaper rash could be bacterial or fungal, and the diaper cream my feed the condition.
- If the diaper cream is fragranced, the fragrance (or other ingredients) could be making the rash worse.
I really hope this helps, if your kiddo is in the seriously-itchy-zone. It can really make them fussy and unhappy. And if they’re always red/itchy/raw/tender…well, just think about it if that was you. Ick.