Whilst incredibly common, diaper rash can be incredibly uncomfortable for your newborn, causing them to become noticeably upset or distressed. The good news is, it can be prevented. Here are our tips for preventing diaper rash in your newborn.
What is diaper rash?
Diaper rash occurs when your baby develops red, sore and tender skin around their bottom, thighs and/or genital area that can become incredibly sore. Left untreated, diaper rash can become very painful and even cause the skin to blister or weep.
The first signs that your baby may have the start of diaper rash is when they become more irritable, fussy or upset, particularly when having their diaper changed. They may flinch when you wipe them, or you may see signs of redness during a change.
What causes diaper rash?
There are various reasons why a baby may develop diaper rash, but the most common are wearing a diaper too long between changes (sitting in a wet or soiled nappy), sensitive skin, a reaction to bath products or toiletries, or chafing / rubbing from clothes or a diaper that is too tight.
Here’s how to prevent your baby getting diaper rash:
- Ensure you are changing your baby’s diapers regularly. If your baby is crying out because they are wet or soiled, then chances are they are uncomfortable. Don’t wait for your baby to tell you they need a change, instead refreshing their diapers regularly throughout the day.
- Top and Tail – Whilst you may not necessarily bathe your baby every single day, it’s important to keep their genitals clean and dry. Top and tail clean (using a wet cotton wool pad) between diaper changes to keep them clean and allow their skin to dry.
- Give them air – You don’t need to put a diaper back on your baby immediately after changing their dirty diaper. Sometimes, a bit of fresh air can be helpful, allowing your baby to dry naturally after a diaper change.
- Fragrance Free products – Be conscious of the types of baby wipes you are using on your baby, as some can lead to skin irritation. Avoid using fragranced products, and if your baby is showing signs of discomfort when using a particular brand, don’t be afraid to make the switch. Water based wipes are often more comfortable for newborns.
- Loosen up – diaper rash can even be caused by rubbing and chaffing. Imagine if your own pants were too tight – chances are, you’d be feeling a little uncomfortable too. Loosen off the tabs slightly and ensure your baby is wearing the correct diaper size – they can move up the diaper sizes pretty quickly during those first few months.
- Barrier Cream – If your baby seems susceptible to diaper rash, you may want to consider using a barrier cream such as petroleum jelly during a diaper change. These barrier creams act as a protective layer and can help prevent irritation. Some diaper rash creams can be quite strong, so only require a small amount.
- Be careful with the soaps, detergents and bath products you are using – if your baby has sensitive skin, it could be something as simple as the bubble bath you are using that is causing irritation. Stick with sensitive, fragrance-free options that are mild and made specifically for baby use.
- After a bath – pat and dab your baby’s skin dry after a bath, avoiding friction or excessive rubbing with a towel. Again, allow them to dry fully before popping their diaper back on.
What if the diaper rash doesn’t go?
In most cases, diaper rash clears up relatively quickly with over the counter treatments at home, however if your baby’s diaper rash is getting worse, starts to blister or ooze or your baby develops a fever, it’s time to call the doctor and get it checked out.