If you've ever opened your baby's diaper to discover red, bumpy and inflamed buttocks, you know the sinking sensation of feeling like a terrible parent. First, know that almost all babies get a diaper rash at least once in their lives and it occurs in even the most well-cared for little ones, so it likely has nothing to do with your parenting skills. Second, remember that diaper rashes are treatable, and when treated, tend to go away quite quickly.
Diaper Rash Explained
A diaper rash is a temporary skin condition that causes your baby's skin to become red, tender and swollen. Small red bumps are almost always present with a diaper rash, as well. There are numerous causes of diaper rash, and one of the most common is leaving a soiled diaper on for too long. For many babies, this occurs during the night because they don't wake up to let you know they need a clean diaper. It can also occur simply because your baby's skin is sensitive to the friction caused by wearing a diaper. Certain brands of detergent or soap might irritate your little one's skin and lead to a rash, too, according to KidsHealth. Introducing new foods into your baby's diet can also cause a diaper rash because of changes in frequency or consistency of the stool.
Bath As A Treatment
When your baby has a diaper rash, you should avoid using soap on the area, according to MayoClinic.com. That puts a bubble bath out as an effective treatment for diaper rash. Leaving your baby's diaper off for short periods of time can help ease the discomfort of a rash and help it heal more quickly, however. Placing your baby in a warm bath that's just water is one way to let your baby's skin breathe without a diaper on. You might try adding baking soda to your baby's bath, recommends Reader's Digest in the book "1,801 Home Remedies: Trustworthy Treatments for Everyday Health Problems." These home remedies can help ease diaper rash, but ask your baby's pediatrician ahead of time to be sure they're appropriate for your little one.
Additional Treatment Options
Changing your baby's diaper regularly is one of the most effective ways to prevent diaper rash. Frequent changes will also prevent further irritation, so the existing diaper rash heals more quickly. Applying a thick layer of diaper rash cream is another way to treat a diaper rash and prevent it from getting worse. The ingredients in diaper rash cream create a barrier between urine and feces, which can make an existing diaper rash worse or make it take longer to heal. Using diapers that are a size larger than usual is another way to encourage more rapid healing of a diaper rash because it allows for more air flow, according to MayoClinic.com.
Most diaper rashes go away within two or three days, according to KidsHealth. If your baby's rash lasts longer than that, contact his pediatrician. In a small number of cases, diaper rash can occur because of an overgrowth of yeast, which might require a different type of treatment. You should call your baby's doctor immediately if the diaper rash is accompanied by a fever or if the rash includes open sores or sores that ooze pus. Don't use talcum powder, which is an old-fashioned remedy for diaper rash. According to MayoClinic.com, your baby can inhale talcum powder dust, which is harmful to his developing lungs.