Diaper rash is one of the most common conditions that mothers can usually find on their babies’ skin. There are numerous reasons why diaper rashes appear and also there are so many ways in which these rashes can be reduced. Some of them include application of coconut oil, olive oil, petroleum jelly, baking soda, aloe vera plant jelly, warm water wash, etc. An experience of one of the mothers, Caroline about her experience with her baby’s irritant diaper rash or irritant diaper dermatitis has been presented below along with the remedies.
Caroline: When I saw the Doctor scribble the term Irritant Diaper Dermatitis on his notepad I was terrified. I looked at him puzzled. The Doctor comforted me explaining that Diaper Dermatitis is nothing but Diaper Rash.
Avi, my 9 months old toddler had developed moderate Diaper rash after I introduced to him a new brand of Diapers. I had ordered two huge packs of 60 diapers in each pack and was now regretting it. But then I had learnt a very important lesson, whenever introducing something new to the baby, be it baby soap, powder, cream, diaper, brand of clothes etc…buy a small quantity, try it and then if it suits the baby order huge quantities.
The rash occurred immediately as I started using the new brand of diapers. I had put a fresh new diaper on Avi after his shower and left it on for 3 hours or so as he went to sleep after his shower. As soon as he got up he was extremely irritated and kept crying.
I did not understand anything, so immediately opened his diaper and saw that the diaper covered area was all red and rash had developed. This is what I did:
- Washed his genitals and bums with lukewarm water and made him sit in his bath tub with lukewarm water for about 5 minutes.
- The patted the diaper area dry with soft cotton cloth and sprinkled Himalaya Baby powder.
- I let him be like that for around 5-7 minutes
- Later, I rubbed some coconut oil mixed
- After 10 minutes I put on washed cotton knickers
Within half an hour the rash subsided and Avi was cheerful again. Again at bed time I put a diaper on as wetting of cotton knickers would disturb his sleep again and again. Within an hour he got up crying aloud. I immediately undid his diaper to see the rash re-develop.
I followed the same routine at night and put him to bed in cotton knickers. In the morning I rushed him to the doctor who narrated the following causes of Diaper rash.
- Sensitive skin of the baby
- Wetness of diaper due to frequent urination
- Soiled diaper
- Loose stools/ runny motions during teething or otherwise
- Usage of baby wipes-some chemical in the wipes might irritate baby’s sensitive skin
- Change in baby’s diet
- Allergy to certain chemical or substance used in a diaper
- Yeast infection
- Infrequent diaper change – Some babies urinate frequently. In my case, I change Avi’s diaper minimum 3 – 4 times through the night. If a full diaper is left on for longer period it is bound to cause diaper rash.
Remedies for Baby Diaper rash
Here are some of the ways in which you can treat baby diaper rash easily at home.
- No diaper time: One of the best remedies for a mild to moderate diaper rash is increasing your baby’s no diaper time. In India we get a plenty of cotton knickers or cloth nappies. In Avi’s case I make sure that throughout the day we give him at least 3 – 4 hours of No Diaper time. After he gets up in the morning, I put him in his cotton knickers and keep changing them as and when he pees/poos. I put a diaper on him only after his bath. Again in the evening before bed time I leave him without diapers for a couple of hours.
- Check for allergies: In Avi’s case, the doctor suggested that the rash may have caused due to certain chemical in the new diaper although it may have been a combination of change in food habit and the new brand of diaper. So, my suggestion is always do a patch test. Whenever using something new, buy small quantities, use it like a patch test and only it suits the baby go ahead with it. Be careful when introducing new foods too. A skin irritation could also result from food allergy.
- Increase frequency of changing diaper: Some babies like Avi urinate frequently and hence they need frequent diaper changes. When I questioned my doctor about this, he explained that baby urinating frequently is not a problem unless he/she is crying while peeing as that may be a sign of UTI (Urinary Tract infection). However, if the baby is fit and cheerful and still urinating frequently, it is fine and hence for these babies diaper changes should be frequent.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil is an established and effective home remedy for diaper rash. Moms since ages have used it and found extremely effective in reducing diaper rash. I too have used it on Avi and have found it to be effective as a first aid in case of mild diaper rash.
- Warm water wash: In my experience, I have made sure that after every diaper change I rinse Avi’s diaper covered area with warm water for a couple of minutes and this washes away any urine from the skin and also soothes and comforts him. According to an exhaustive article on Diaper rash by Boston Children’s Hospital, in case of mild rash, the mother may allow the baby to sit in a basin or tub of lukewarm water for several minutes with each diaper change. This not only helps clean the baby’s diaper area but also is extremely comforting. The hospital has indicated not to use any soap unless there is very sticky stool, if that be the case a very mild soap is should be used to wash gently and rinse well.
- Cornstarch: A lot of mothers vouch for cornstarch as an effective remedy for the diaper rash. However, if the rash has been caused by yeast infection it may aggravate it as yeast feeds on Cornstarch. So, make sure that the rash is not a yeast infection and then only use cornstarch.
- Baking soda: The use of Baking soda neutralizes the acid in the stools and urine. Add a tea spoon full in a tub of lukewarm water and let the baby sit in it for couple of minutes and then pat dry with a soft towel.
- Use sterilized cotton balls instead of baby wipes: If your baby’s skin is sensitive, I would suggest that using sterilized cotton balls is better than using wipes as the chemical used in the wipes may irritate baby’s skin. The Boston children’s hospital has also suggested to refrain from using wipes in case of Diaper rash as it may aggravate it.
- Aloe Vera: Using natural Aloe vera directly from the plant can be very effective. All you have to do is extract the juice from the Aloe vera plant. Cut a piece of aloe vera leaf and you can find the juice. The juice almost has a jelly like constituency. You can use a long spoon to remove the juice. After and mix it with some water and apply it on your baby’s affected area.
- Petroleum Jelly: Petroleum jelly is recommended is one of the safest and readily available at home cures for diaper rash. The jelly acts as a barrier to any moisture getting in contact with baby’s skin. Rashes are considerably reduced by locking of moisture. Petroleum Jelly like Vaseline can be applied on baby’s bums before putting on diapers.
- Calendula – Homeopathic ointment: Calendula homeopathic ointment has long been used treat diaper rash. The ointment can be bought as an over the counter cream and kept at home for use as and when required. I have used the same for Avi many times and has proven to be extremely beneficial.
- Olive oil: Last but not the least, a gentle touch of olive oil can also soothe the baby’s skin and act as a barrier from water/moisture. Olive oil needs to be mixed with water in equal parts and applied on the affected area. This reduces the rash significantly.
These are some of the ways in which you can cure baby diaper rashes.
The way we enjoy ourselves in pajamas and loose cotton shirts, babies also love to be in soft, free and comfortable clothing. Make sure you don’t put the diapers really tight, make room for some air, change the diaper frequently if required and keep rinsing the urine off the skin before every change. This recipe will more often than not keep your little one away from rashes.