The second of our guest blogs from antenatal teacher Lucy Gulland investigates how to keep your baby’s bottom rash-free.
Nappy rash, common though it is, is a miserable experience for babies - and distressing for their poor parents too! It’s useful to understand exactly what’s going on to cause nappy rash, so you can stop it before it starts.
Wet nappies aren’t usually a problem!
It’s the combination of wet and dirty that leads to soreness.
What Causes Nappy Rash?
Urine is sterile when it’s produced; it’s only when old urine on the skin mixes with the bacteria in faeces and produces ammonia that it becomes a problem. Ammonia is caustic on skin and that’s what causes the soreness, rash and inflammation of classic nappy rash.
So unless the skin is already sore, wee is unlikely to sting, but once your baby has done a poo, you’ll need to change their nappy as soon as possible.
What Can You Do To Avoid Nappy Rash?
Keep It Clean, Keep It Dry!Make sure the whole nappy area is clean and dry, including folds of the thighs and up to the tummy. Change dirty nappies straightaway.
Washable Or Disposable?Use whichever nappies suit your baby’s skin best: cloth or disposable work differently on different babies, so go with what works for your little one.
What Are You Washing With?Detergent on clothes or cloth nappies can cause irritation which can lead to rashes or make sore patches worse, so make sure you’re using ultra-gentle non-bio.
No Soap, No Perfume, No IrritantsIt’s best to avoid foaming cleansers or wipes while a baby’s skin is so new. You can use cotton wool with natural baby oil or warm water to clean the nappy area for the first six weeks.
Wipes AwayBaby wipes, as well as being terrible for the environment, can cause irritation even after six weeks; if you think your baby is sensitive to the fragrance, alcohol or other ingredients in wipes, you can use water-only wipes, or make your own with washable cloths.
What Are They Eating?Sometimes diet leads to caustic poos, either yours if you’re breastfeeding, or theirs, once they’re starting to try food for the first time. Keep a food diary and monitor occurences of nappy rash; citrus and tomatoes are common culprits.
Keep Cool!Let baby go bare often: overheating the nappy area can foster inflammation, thrush or other infections. A couple of hours without a nappy can really help.
Protect And PreventUse a barrier cream whenever you notice redness; you probably won’t need to apply it every change, but an ointment can protect the skin from the damaging ammonia as well as protecting skin while it heals.
When To Ask For HelpIf the rash is infected (either bacterial or fungal), is spreading across the tummy or back, is hot, red and weeping, or hasn’t responded to five days of nappy cream, then talk to your GP or health visitor about medicated treatment. Recommended Product:
Balmonds Skin Salvation
with hemp and beeswax
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.