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Health > Kids > Diaper rash

Diaper rash

When your beautiful baby is born, her skin is often perfect in every way. It is softer and smoother than it will ever be again. You are dismayed when she wakes up and her bottom is red and irritated when you change her diaper. What happened! What did you do wrong? Absolutely nothing!

Signs and symptoms

Diaper rash is characterized by red, puffy and perhaps slightly warmer skin in the diaper region — buttocks, thighs and genitals. You may notice your baby seems more uncomfortable than usual, especially during diaper changes. A baby with a diaper rash often fusses or cries when the diaper area is washed or touched.

All babies have diaper rash!

There are many misconceptions about a baby's bottom:

  • It is supposed to be perfectly smooth and rash-free
  • Diaper rash is abnormal
  • Diaper rash is a sign of food or formula allergies
  • Diaper rash means the baby has bad diarrhea or a yeast

Having a diaper rash is a normal part of being a baby. There are many ways you can limit the amount of rash, but from time to time it will flare up again.

Why babies get diaper rash

Start with ultra sensitive skin, add the chemicals and moisture of urine and stools, cover the area with a diaper that rubs back and forth, and you have diaper rash. This damaged skin is susceptible to the invasion of bacteria and yeast, which can make the rash worse.

Seven ways to prevent or minimize diaper rash

If your baby does not have a problem with diaper rash, then you don't need to be too strict with these preventative measures. However, if you are constantly battling rash, here are some helpful hints to minimize it:

1. Change diapers frequently - at least every two hours in newborns. You can space this out as baby starts to urinate less often.

2. Change poopy diapers right away - this is a lot of trouble at first since newborns often have small, frequent stools. This will slow down as baby grows.

3. Try different brands - if using disposables, another brand may fit a little better and cause less friction.

4. Rinse cloth diapers - add a half-cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. This helps remove alkaline irritants. Your diaper service can also do this.

5. Wipe well - be sure to wipe all the stool and urine away.

6. Use unscented wipes or just plain water - these are less irritating. You can even rinse out the wipes with water, although this takes more time.

7. Diaper rash cream - some lucky babies don't need any. More sensitive bottoms need cream with each new diaper. There are two basic types of barrier creams:

  • Petroleum ointment (Original A & D ointment) - this is an excellent preventative every-day ointment. It's less sticky and less messy.
  • White zinc oxide - this is thicker and may be better for babies who are more prone to rash.

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