Parenting Tips

Tips For Preventing Painful Diaper Rash

Changing a crying baby’s diaper is heartbreaking enough, but what if you discover a red irritated bottom is the reason for their discomfort?

Unfortunately, the majority of babies are plagued by the dreaded and painful diaper rash that occurs due to a sensitive bottom irritated by wetness, diaper friction, and enzymes from their stool and urine. However, the good news is that you can do your part as a loving parent or caregiver to soothe and prevent agonizing diaper rash.

Here are some tips for preventing painful diaper rash…

Clean that Bottom Thoroughly

As mentioned, the leading cause of diaper rash is wetness mixed with friction combined with enzymes from baby’s feces and urine. So the best way you can prevent diaper rash from worsening is by cleaning that tender bottom gently and thoroughly each time you change a diaper.

Be Cautious of Baby Wipes

Be cautious of using baby wipes when your little one has a diaper rash. Why? Because many contain harsh alcohol and preservatives in the ingredients, which irritate the rash further. Instead, look for wipes that are hypoallergenic and better suited for sensitive skin. Better yet, consider just cleaning gently with cotton cloth and water.

No Rubbing

Only gentle patting will do on a sore tushy. Any added friction will only cause further irritation.

Skip the Baby Powder

Baby powder that contains cornstarch can actually trap moisture in so if you do decide to use baby powder, make sure that bottom is fully dry before applying.

Use Ointment to Prevent Wetness

Many moms and dads apply a thin layer of ointment (like petroleum jelly or zinc oxide) to create a wetness barrier between baby’s skin and a soiled diaper.

Choose Detergents for Sensitive Skin

If you use cloth diapers you should be cautious to use a natural detergent to prevent diaper rash. Look for a detergent specifically for sensitive baby skin, and ensure it contains no harsh chemicals, perfumes, or added dyes.

Sanitize Those Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers can harbor bacteria and irritants if you don’t clean them thoroughly. That’s why you should always put them on the rise cycle and add a half a cup of vinegar to ensure they’re sanitized.

Go Snug with Disposable Diapers

If you prefer disposable diapers for your baby, select a brand that fits your baby snuggly to prevent friction that can cause diaper rash.

Let Things Air Out

Many parents choose to leave the diaper off to air out the irritated area and keep the rash from spreading due in a moist environment. A good time to do this is when your baby is sleeping. Just lay them on top of a mattress pad in case of a nighttime accident.

Set a Routine

Establish a changing habit every few hours with newborn babies. This will keep them clean and dry, preventing diaper rash.

Talk to Your Dermatologist

If you have tried everything you can, but baby still suffers from worsening diaper rash, book an appointment with your dermatologist or pediatrician. There can be other conditions that can come in the diaper area.

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Emily Lockhart

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.

Dr. Jenny Liu, MD

Dr. Jenny Liu, MD

Dr. Jenny Liu is a board-certified dermatologist and an assistant professor in the Twin Cities. Her academic interests are complex medical dermatology, ethnic dermatology and medical education. She uses her blog and Instagram (@derm.talk) to educate others on all things dermatology and share her own tips and tricks regarding skin care.

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