Whether you’re a brand new Mum or you’ve been through it all before, nappy rash is something you’d rather not have to go through. Mostly because nappy rash is distressing to your bub – in mild cases, they won’t notice but you’ll stress about it and in extreme cases, they will be very sad little ones indeed.
What causes nappy rash?
Nappy rash is most commonly caused by baby’s bottom being in wet or dirty nappies for a length of time. Urine is normally sterile however it can be irritating to skin – especially if your bub has sensitive skin. Leaving a wet nappy on a baby for long periods of time can lead to nappy rash.
Most babies get nappy rash at some stage, no matter how well they are cared for. Some babies may have very sensitive skin and also develop rashes on other parts of their bodies. Infections, such as thrush can also make the rash worse. And some babies only get nappy rashes if they are sick, over tired or have another illness.
To be specific:
- Ammonia – chemicals in urine can irritate the skin especially if it is already red and sore.
- Thrush (candida) – thrush can occur spontaneously but is more common after a baby has been given antibiotics for another infection. Thrush can aggravate nappy rash.
- Chemical exposure – some baby wipes may cause irritation or allergy. Scented soaps or baby lotions can also irritate the skin of some babies.
- Plastic pants – these keep the baby’s clothes clean and dry, but prevent airflow. Because the clothes do not get wet, a baby may be left in a wet or dirty nappy for a longer which could aggravate nappy rash.
Most cases of nappy rash can be treated successfully at home. You should see your doctor though if your baby’s nappy rash looks severe, is hurting your baby or doesn’t clear up within a few days.
Nappy Rash Symptoms
All babies are different however common symptoms of nappy rash include:
- Inflamed skin – the skin around the genital area and bottom looks inflamed and sore
- Blistering – the skin may blister and then peel, leaving raw patches (ulcers).
- Spreading – in severe cases, the rash can spread onto the tummy and buttocks.
- Ulcers – small ulcers can sometimes form on healthy skin near the area of the rash.
How to treat nappy rash
There’s a mountain of products on the market that have been designed to treat nappy rash.
However on top of products, it’s good to remember to:
- Change your baby more frequently – a dry bottom is less susceptible to nappy rash.
- Use disposable nappies – designed to draw almost all the moisture into the core of the nappy means that the surface in contact with your baby’s bottom remains much drier.
- Use only water or ph-neutral soaps to clean your baby’s bottom. Avoid wet wipes that have alcohol in them.
- Use a good quality barrier cream, designed to prevent nappy rash, to protect your baby’s skin. An indicator of a good quality barrier cream is that there will be traces of the cream remaining when you go to change your baby’s nappy.
- Make sure you change cloth nappies often and avoid plastic pants as often as possible.
- If you wash your cloth nappies in a machine, avoid fabric softeners or use non-fragranced products that are suitable for sensitive skin. If possible, dry them in a tumble drier which makes them much softer than drying them in the sun.
- Give your baby as much nappy free time as possible. For tiny bubs, lie them on a large towel and let them kick about with their skin to the air. For older bubs, let them crawl or toddle around (and avoid the carpet if possible) nappy free. A little gentle sun can be good too – just a few minutes though – baby’s skin if very, very sensitive.
You might like to read reviews from Mouths of Mums Members for Sudocrem. They found it to be a great product to include in their nappy change routine.
When to ask for help
If your baby’s nappy rash doesn’t improve after a week or so, see your Early Childhood Centre Nurse or talk to your GP. Don’t feel embarrassed – nappy rash is very common but allowed to get worse, it can become infected.
If your doctor suggests creams for thrush or steroid creams (such as hydrocortisone cream), follow the directions for use. Wash the skin and put a thin layer of the cream on the affected areas, then replace the nappy. Disposable nappies are preferable while treating nappy rash.
Do you have any tips or treatments on how to treat nappy rash that we’ve missed in our round up? We’d love you to add any other thoughts or suggestions in the comments below …