What Causes Diaper Rash and How to Prevent It?

“What is that red splotchy spot on my baby’s bottom? It’s so small, am I even seeing this? Is that diaper rash?!” This is exactly how it happened to me. I had no idea this small, redness was irritated skin called diaper rash. I mean, I put diaper rash cream on her, sometimes. It never looked like this though. I knew if left untreated it could possibly become worse. That’s the thing with diaper rash, it can be simple to treat or it can be an ongoing problem that needs a doctors attention. Even if new parents do everything right, diaper rash can and does happen. It’s part of the newborn baby package, cry, poop, not sleep, and diaper rash! So, what can be done? Diaper rash has causes, easy treatments, and prevention that parents can learn to help with this annoying part of the newborn days.

What Causes Diaper Rash

The main cause of the the chaffing monster is wetness. Staying in a wet or soiled diaper causes irritation and ultimately can lead to skin breakdown. As a baby gets older and sleeps longer through the night, they stay in a diaper longer, thus staying wetter and soiled. Also, as babies get older and eat more solid foods, their bowel movements change, causing more frequent and loose stool. Cloth diapers can contribute to irritated skin as well. The cloth in diapers lacks the absorbency of disposable diapers and keeps a baby wetter when soiled. Disposable diapers should be used when an outbreak occurs but parents can go back to cloth once the rash clears. When a baby is sick and on an antibiotic, stools change and can cause a diaper rash more frequently. Antibiotics also can contribute to yeast infections on the skin as well.

How to Prevent Diaper Rash

So, what can new parents do to prevent diaper rash? Sometimes the small, redness will go away with just one application of some diaper rash cream and that's it. But, for the times it doesn’t and how to stop it from happening, the first thing parents need to know is good hygiene habits. Hand washing is very important before and after a diaper change. Cleaning the skin with fragrance free wipes and patting baby’s bottom dry will reduce chafing and irritation. Also, parents should make sure the diaper is not too tight, but rather snug and not rubbing on the inside of the baby’s thigh. Diaper free time helps dry baby’s skin and prevents a rash outbreak. After bath is a great time to let the baby be without a diaper before bed time when the diaper stays on for longer. Finally, baby’s skin needs a skin barrier from wetness like a diaper cream. A petroleum based, and zinc oxide cream is the best to combat and prevent diaper rash. Parents should also apply the cream with an applicator such as the SwipenSnap diaper rash applicator. This keeps germ contamination at a minimum as there is no skin contact and keeps parents hands clean from messy diaper rash cream. It also is very gentle to baby’s irritated skin. 

Diaper rashes are a rite of passage for new parents. It is part of the new baby list of concerns for parents. Knowing the causes and some prevention techniques can help sleep deprived and groggy parents when diaper rash strikes.

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