Worried about your baby’s nappy rash? First of all what you need to know is that it’s really common (especially in infants between 9 and 12 months old), and it often looks worse than it is. If your tot has a tender looking bot, act quickly to give her relief and stop the rash developing into something more serious, such as a bacterial or yeast infection.
What does nappy rash look like?
There’s no mistaking nappy rash. Where the skin has been in close contact with the nappy, it will appear red and inflamed. Areas most commonly affected are the genitals, the bottom and the folds of the thighs. In some babies the affected skin is dry, in others it appears moist. Some babies don’t appear to be bothered by their nappy rash at all, while others appear upset or distressed. Remember all babies are different, as are their reactions to these common problems!
What causes nappy rash?
Don’t worry that the nappy rash is your fault. It’s simply due to the moisture left on a baby’s delicate skin by his nappy (and it can be caused by either disposable or cloth nappies). Newborn babies wee a lot and also pass runny stools. It’s impossible for even the most absorbent nappy to soak up all this moisture. (By the way, there’s no concrete evidence that cloth nappies are better than disposables at preventing or treating nappy rash.) The more sensitive a baby’s skin is, the more likely it is to become irritated.
What should you do?
Change your baby’s nappy regularly. A baby left in a wet or soiled nappy for too long is more likely to develop nappy rash. Nappy rash normally clears up after a few days and doesn’t require any special treatment. Help relieve your baby’s skin by using a mild, fragrance-free soap to wash it, rinsing it with plain water and gently patting it dry with a clean, soft towel (no rubbing). Don’t use talcum powder, as this can lead to friction and even more discomfort.
Give your infant plenty of nappy-free time to let air circulate around the affected skin. Before putting a nappy on, apply a light layer of barrier cream. This will form a protective layer between skin and moisture. Don’t fasten the nappy too tight, to give the air room to circulate around your infant’s bottom.
Don’t think it’s nappy rash?
An allergic reaction to a nappy or skincare product may cause a rash that looks like nappy rash. Known as allergic dermatitis, this is rare in babies but may be caused by a change in baby wipe or a different brand of nappy. Normally it’s easy to determine the cause and changing back to the original product should help resolve the problem. If the rash develops into an infection, you may need antibiotics or an anti fungal cream – ask your doctor or health visitor for advice.
Claire Gillespie is Mummy to Benji, 4, and Elizabeth, 2. She is a co-founder of StorkUp.com, where parents can discover, share and buy the best products for their little ones. Sign up today to start browsing from over 250 shops, all in one place!