When my twin boys were babies, nothing was more painful to hear than their angry cries as I cleaned their inflamed little butts during a diaper change. I felt like they were constantly getting diaper rash, and while there were definitely creams that helped clear it up, it seemed like the redness and irritation just kept coming back. I sort of assumed it was inevitable, a by-product of teething, hot weather, and peacefully sleeping right through a giant poop. Ultimately, our pediatrician explained to me that, in addition to using products to treat the diaper rash, I needed to use barrier creams to prevent the diaper rash every time I changed their diapers. I’d only been using petroleum jelly after their bath. Well, let me tell you, applying a barrier product at every diaper change saved my babies’ little bums…literally. So, if your baby’s rear tends to get inflamed, consider these medically backed methods for preventing diaper rash.
1. Apply a barrier product at every diaper change. As I mentioned, it took a steady supply of barrier cream to keep my boys’ diaper rash at bay. It acts as a shield, warding off the rash-causing wetness. There are plenty of products out there that contain petroleum jelly or zinc oxide that can help, but there’s a new product in spray form that makes life so much easier. Boudreaux’s Rash Preventor is a gentle, hypo-allergenic spray (free of preservatives and fragrance) that contains soothing aloe and Vitamin E. Plus, you don’t have to rub it in, so you can avoid some of the irritation that comes from simply smoothing cream onto your baby’s delicate skin.
2. Change her diapers ASAP. “Skin is a great barrier if kept clean and dry,” says Gregg Alexander, MD, a New York City pediatrician in private practice. “It’s when it gets (and stays) covered and moist that it starts to break down.” So you really need to change your baby’s soiled diaper as soon as possible, especially if she is prone to diaper rash. Yes, that might mean changing your baby on the floor of your backseat, but it’s way better for her than waiting until you get home. And yes, we know, that’s a lot of diapers, but you’ve got to do it for her health and comfort.
3. Skip the scented wipes. It’s tempting to grab a scented wipe to clean up your baby’s bum after a stinky, poo-filled diaper – but just don’t. Scented wipes contain fragrance, which can be incredibly irritating to his sensitive skin. (Just as irritating? Unscented wipes with alcohol.) Look for brands that are fragrance-free, alcohol-free, hypo-allergenic, and formulated for sensitive skin. If your baby is prone to diaper rash, it may take some trial and error until you find an ouch-free brand.
4. Let your baby go au naturel. Her bottom needs some fresh air, so make sure you set aside a little bit of naked time for her every day. Let her nap in the buff to help existing diaper rash heal, and prevent future breakouts as well, suggests Dr. Alexander. Put down a plastic sheet, or place a diaper under your baby while she sleeps, without folding it up. If you have a boy, lay another diaper on top of his penis to prevent him from “launching any rockets,” adds the doctor.
5. Properly clean cloth diapers between uses. The Mayo Clinic suggests double rinsing the diapers, pre-soaking those that are heavily soiled, and using mild detergent that is labeled dye-free and fragrance-free. Skip the fabric softeners and dryer sheets as the fragrance may be irritating to his skin.
6. Bathe her bum in clean water only. Even soaps that are formulated for babies can be incredibly drying and irritating, especially if her skin is prone to rash. Instead of using soap on her rear, just rinse her with clean water. And again, apply a barrier cream or spray following her bath.
*This post is sponsored by Boudreaux’s. The opinions and stories are my own.