Diaper rashes are a spot of soreness quite literally for an infant, and figuratively for any parent. Rashes occur regardless of how careful a parent is in taking care of an infant, so it’s perfectly normal. It’s also very treatable and very manageable if you follow the right steps.
There are many reasons why diaper rash occurs. They can occur if an infant has a wet or dirty diaper on for too long, if there is a bacterial infection or if the baby has an allergic reaction to the diaper itself. It’s also caused by yeast infections (in females) or caused by the skin rubbing and chafing against the diaper itself. Diaper rashes occur more frequently on many different occasions. For instance, when a baby gets older, aged 8 months and up, and when the baby starts eating solid food. Also, if a baby sleeps in a soiled diaper, that can also increase the likelihood of diaper rash, as well as if the baby experiences diarrhea or is taking an antibiotic (or if a mother is taking an antibiotic while nursing).
How can you prevent a diaper rash? Diaper rashes are nothing sort of inevitable at least once in an infant’s life. Nonetheless, you should definitely check your infant’s diaper frequently, and change the diaper immediately after getting wet or soiled. You should change a diaper after six hours anyway, regardless. Also, use plain water when cleaning your baby’s backside; resort to using soap only if removing fecal matter. Gently pat the area clean and dry, and try to refrain from rubbing; human skin is way more sensitive during infancy, and rubbing can lead to more rashes. Be sure to use mild wipes (avoid ones with fragrance or alcohol), and be sure the backside is completely clean to the best of your ability before putting on a new diaper.
Your laundry habits may also affect the persistence of diaper rash. If you use cloth diapers, try switching over to disposable diapers. Try out several different brands, as they are all made differently. If you choose to keep using cloth diapers, however, try switching detergents if diaper rash occurs. Mild, hypoallergenic soaps work the best, and it’s also recommended that you add a half a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to further neutralize any chemicals or dirt.
Of course, the most common treatment used for a diaper rash is an ointment or cream. Ointments are effective and generally non-messy. However, if you choose to use an ointment, be sure to look at the ingredients before making a purchase. Try to buy one with petroleum jelly or zinc oxide in the list of ingredients, and try to avoid ones with hydro-cortisone; hydro-cortisone is a steroid, and can further irritation of the skin. Only use a steroid cream if a doctor recommends it.
Following these steps and guidelines can make your little one’s time as an infant less painful and irritating, and can make your job as a parent that much easier. As mentioned, diaper rashes are not uncommon but easily treatable and preventable from constant re-occurrences.