5 ways to manage diaper rash

Body Inside & Out   |   Age: 8 weeks 4 days


5 ways to manage diaper rash

You probably have your own diaper rash management strategy by now, but it never hurts to have a few backup ideas of how to treat it. If you haven't encountered diaper rash yet, you're either very lucky or very good at prevention! More than any fancy treatment or method, though, keeping the diaper area as clean and dry as possible is the most important intervention you can make.

  1. Change early and often
    Frequent diaper changes allow for your baby to remain clean and healthy. Whenever your baby needs a change, make sure to respond to her needs. Rinse well during every diaper change, and avoid scented wipes or soap, which can irritate sensitive skin.
  2. Avoid baby powder
    This product can actually build up in your baby’s skin creases and hold moisture, which can help bacteria grow and cause an infection. Instead, use an ointment like petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) to form a protective barrier on your baby’s sensitive skin.
  3. Switch diaper brands
    Sometimes particular diaper brands can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin. Try super-absorbent disposable diapers, or any diapers with absorbent gelling material. Cloth diapers can cause more frequent rashes than disposable, so try to switch or at least change detergents.
  4. Allow for air drying
    Exposing sensitive skin to the open air is very effective in helping to clear diaper rash. Try to put diapers on looser to increase circulation, and have certain times when the diaper can remain off for extended periods. Allowing baby to sleep bare-bottom can also help - just make sure to put a plastic sheet down for those inevitable accidents.
  5. Soak in the tub
    Let your baby sit in a warm bath for 10 minutes, 3 times a day. Add a little baking soda to a baby tub, but make sure not to bathe her until the umbilical cord has fallen off. You should also make sure to pat dry, as opposed to rubbing, as this could irritate already sensitive skin.
If a diaper rash persists even with careful tending, your baby's pediatrician may evaluate her to check if she has a fungal or bacterial infection, which might require treatment. Diaper rashes can take a few days to start to disappear, even with treatment, and often return. If diaper rash doesn't start to improve after a pediatrician has prescribed a treatment, the pediatrician might recommend seeing a dermatologist.

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Diaper rash.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, May 8 2015. Retrieved June 28 2017.
  • “When Diaper Rash Strikes.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Retrieved June 28 2017. 

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