Right after birth, your baby will spend a significant amount of time wearing diapers. As babies grow older, they would gradually need lesser diaper changes. For example, while a newborn may need around 10 diaper changes per day, changing diaper for a toddler might be around 5 times daily only. Like many parents, you may be longing for the days when your child can leave diapers behind. Before that happens, what you can do is maintain good diaper habits to make your baby’s diaper experience as comfortable as possible.
Most babies who wear diapers regularly get diaper rashes at some point. Diaper rashes are often caused by wearing wet or soiled diapers for prolonged periods of time, sensitive skin, or chafing. Diaper rashes not only irritates babies’ delicate skin, they annoy babies emotionally and may result in stress and excessive crying. Hence, one of the key baby health tips to practice is to maintain a good diaper habit for your baby.
Types of Diaper Rashes
To prevent diaper rashes, a good place to start is by understanding the different types of diaper rashes and their causes. Here are some of the common types of diaper rashes.
Irritant Diaper Rash
The irritant diaper rash is the most common type of diaper rash, it looks like pink or red patches on the skin area that is covered by the diaper. Your baby’s diaper area is exposed to urine and stool, which is the direct reason for irritant diaper rash. If your baby is currently in the teething stage, the extra saliva swallowed may increase the chance of developing a diaper rash too.
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Yeast or Bacterial Infection
Due to the hot and humid weather in our country, skin issues such as heat rash on baby are common, and the skin around the diaper area is vulnerable to similar issues as well. As the area covered by diapers is warm and humid most of the time, it is highly prone to infection by yeast (fungal) and bacteria. Meanwhile, your baby may also develop a yeast diaper rash after taking antibiotics. Yeast or bacterial infection can usually be spotted within the skin creases, appearing as tiny red dots or pink bumps scattered around the creases.
Take note of the materials and substances used in your baby’s diapers, wipes, and diaper creams, as they may cause allergic reaction, especially when your baby has sensitive skin. Avoid using diapers with harsh chemicals like dyes, as well as diaper wipes and creams that contain fragrances and paraben. If your baby develops rashes every time after you use a certain baby product, it is likely that the product contains allergens that irritate your baby’s skin. Sometimes switching brands every two weeks may solve this issue.
How To Prevent Diaper Rashes
The most effective way to prevent diaper rash is to keep the diaper area hygienic and dry. Here are a few simple ways on how you can achieve this.
- Change Diapers Often: As you as you become aware of your baby’s soiled diaper, change it immediately.
- Choose A Suitable Diaper: Go for a highly absorbent and breathable diaper that doesn’t contain skin-irritating dyes. Absorbent diapers are able to keep your baby’s skin dry for a longer period of hours, which is especially helpful during night time sleep.
- Clean Skin Gently During Changes: If you are using diaper wipes, choose one that is fragrance-free and alcohol-free. If you are using water, use warm water with a gentle and natural cleanser. Gently pat your baby’s skin with a clean towel, and allow it to air-dry. Avoid scrubbing and rubbing.
- Protect The Skin With Cream Or Ointment: A nappy cream or ointment helps to prevent skin irritation in most situations. Petroleum jelly and zinc oxide are both good choices, and remember to go for fragrance-free products.
- Don’t Wear Diapers Too Tight: Be sure to leave some breathing space when you help your baby put on diapers. Tight diapers prevent airflow in the diaper area, and it is more likely to rub against the skin too.
When To Consult A Doctor
If your baby’s skin looks severe and unusual, or it doesn’t improve, or even gets worse despite home treatment, it’s time to talk with your doctor. In certain cases, diaper rashes need to be cured with prescribed medicine.
Maintaining good diaper habits are crucial to the health and development of your little one during the early years. As long as you keep your baby’s diaper area clean and dry, your baby should be safe from diaper rashes. That said, don’t get discouraged if your baby does get affected, as diaper rashes can be effectively treated.