Ah, babies' bottoms. Say that to a group of childless women, and you'll probably be met with wistful sighs or shrieks of “Aaaah, so cute.” That's because these childless women don't know the truth. They think babies' bottoms are soft, cute and kissable, because that's what the adverts have told them. The world of advertising hasn't told them about the red, flakey, angry bottoms with nappy rash, it doesn't think they're ready. Even the commercials advertising nappy rash cream, don't show nappy rash.
As a parent, you know the truth. Almost all babies suffer from nappy rash at some point, so you probably have first hand experience of the troubles it can cause. Nappy rash can be painful for babies, so you may have endured a miserable, clingy baby as a result. Whilst nappy rash is a common ailment, that doesn't mean it's normal. There are things you can do to help it heal, and ways to prevent it returning.
How Do I Tell If My Baby Has Nappy Rash?
If the skin in close contact with your baby's nappy is red and inflamed, she is suffering from nappy rash. The skin will look sore, it may appear shiny or moist, and will affect her genitals and bottom.
What Causes Nappy Rash?
This isn't an exhaustive list, but nappy rash can be caused by:
- Sensitive skin
- Prolonged time spent in a dirty nappy
- Baby wipes
- Food intolerances
- A reaction to soap or laundry detergent
That's a pretty long list, but it should be easy to start crossing off the irrelevant ones now you have an idea of the potential causes. Most importantly though, we need to get your baby's bottom back to its former glory.
Nappy Rash Treatments
The following tips will help baby's skin to heal, and, if you continue doing them, should prevent outbreaks in the future.
Nappy Rash Treatment Tip #1 – Just Breathe…
Allowing your baby's skin to breathe is a great way to kick start the healing process. Make sure your baby has plenty of nappy free time, ideally outdoors because sunshine (containing the amazing vitamin D) is also a great healer. Enjoying some nappy free time in the garden will be great for your baby's bottom and great for your carpets (nappy free time can often lead to puddle on the floor time!).
Nappy Rash Treatment Tip #2 – Prompt Changes
Tardy nappy changes are a leading cause of nappy rash. Make sure to change your baby's nappy as soon as it becomes dirty. I recommend the age-old lift and sniff manoeuvre for this! Washable wipes are great for baby's skin because they don't contain any chemicals that could cause irritation; you just wet them and wipe.
Nappy Rash Treatment Tip #3 – Put Up A Barrier
Barrier creams are great for protecting baby's bottom while the skin has time to heal. There are lots of organic creams on the market, so be sure to choose one that will best protect your baby's skin.
If you're breastfeeding, you can express some breastmilk to dab onto the affected area and it should speed up recovery time. Breastmilk has many great healing properties and ingredients, including good bacteria. Some other great options for your baby’s bottom is zinc, organic virgin coconut oil (contains anti-fungal properties) and calendula cream. Miessence make a very soothing and calming certified organic barrier cream for babies, which you take a look at here.
Lathering chemicals onto irritated skin could cause more problems, so be sure to check the ingredients. For example, avoid creams which are petroleum based, like Vaseline or Lucas Paw Paw Ointment. Also avoid talcum powder (baby powder) which may irritate and rub against your baby’s skin, as well as any bath additives (including bubbles), which are also irritating to sore and sensitive skin. Its best avoided altogether, even if your baby doesn’t have a rash.
Nappy Rash Treatment Tip #4 – Rule Out Thrush
Severe or persistent nappy rash may be due to a yeast infection, such as thrush. Especially if your baby has recently been on antibiotics and is low on good bacteria, they have a higher risk of an overgrowth of bad bacteria. This rash will be bright red and maybe have small spots towards the outskirts of the affected area. If it’s thrush, it often has a very defined area (may look like it has an outline) and can be very uncomfortable for your baby. Choosing a nappy rash cream that contains both zinc and an anti-fungal ingredient can quickly help to clear up a fungal nappy rash. You may also like to visit your naturopath who can help you source some quality probiotics designed especially for babies.
If you are worried about your baby’s rash, or if the nappy rash is persistent, talk to your maternal health nurse or doctor.
Hopefully these remedies will have your baby's bottom looking advert worthy in no time.