nappy rash

Nappy rash is one of the common problems that parents have to deal with early in their babies' lives.

No matter the kind of nappies used, disposable or washable ones, your munchkin may end up with an irritated bottom. Detecting nappy rash sooner rather than later and taking good care of it may help, but you might as well have a backup plan, based on several tips, to prevent it from turning into a severe nappy rash.

What can you do to treat it effectively? Are there ways to keep your child from getting such an achy skin problem? That's why we are here, to help you out with it!

 

How does nappy rash look like?

In the first place, you have to know the symptoms to look for, though it won't be hard for you to spot nappy rash. It usually makes your baby's bottom look reddish and sore, especially in those areas covered by the nappy. However, there are times when it can spread through his genitals, up towards his back and even go up onto his little tummy. The skin folds of his thighs and bottom can get affected too if pee gets into them. It's also possible that your baby gets little ulcers, which are basically breaks in the skin.

Though your child won't be able to tell you how nappy rash feels, you can assume it from his cry: a burning pain that causes him a lot of discomfort.

 

What causes nappy rash? 

Nappy rash is mainly caused by the continuous contact of a wet and dirty nappy with the baby's skin. But why? Because poo contains digesting enzymes that can irritate his skin when left there for too long, and the same thing happens with ammonia, a substance found in urine. Such a dampness, accompanied by friction, can easily turn into a nappy rash, even if you change your baby's nappies fast enough (some children have a sensitive skin, so they may get nappy rash anyway). Don't forget that the skin of a baby isn't as thick as that of a grown-up, which makes it more prone to getting problems like this.

However, the pee and poo 'cocktail' isn't the only cause of nappy rash. Certain soaps used on washable nappies can trigger it as well, along with certain allergic reactions to wet wipes. Last, but not least, bottle-fed babies are more likely to suffer from nappy rash, because formula contains more enzymes that can irritate their skin than breast milk.

 

How long does it take to heal?

Following the proper treatment and being consistent about it, nappy rash should get better in three or four days, unless it develops into a more serious problem, like yeast or bacterial infections.

 

How to treat it

The nappy rash treatment isn't complex, though, again, it requires attention and choosing the right products. Here are some tips on how to do it:

  • Change nappies very frequently, so that your baby doesn't spend much time wet and dirty. You can check his nappy after every feeding, since it's when babies usually pee or pass a stool.
  • Rinse your baby's lower body in plain water and avoid using wipes that have alcohol or any fragrance (antiseptics will make it worse).
  • Make sure your baby gets some nappy-free time, letting the swollen area get some air. That will speed the healing process.
  • Apply ointment or a thin layer of treatment/nappy rash cream before putting a clean nappy on the baby. Such a cream will protect your little one's skin, keeping it safe from wee and poo.
  • Some mummies claim the problem disappears after changing nappy brands, some maybe the one you chose has a bad reaction to your little one’s skin. Trying a different one isn’t a bad choice!

If you don't notice any improvement in the nappy rash after treating it for three or four days, you should take your child to the doctor. Other red flags include blisters and crusts, fever or the rash spreading. As said before, when left untreated for a few days, nappy rash can lead to infections such as thrush, which has to be treated with antibiotics.

 

How to prevent it

Of course, another option is to address the problem before it arises by taking some precautions. Have a look at these ones:

  • Clean your baby's bottom thoroughly after every stool. Once you are done, pat his skin dry.
  • Apply barrier cream (different than treatment cream), which works better before a bad nappy rash shows up.
  • Don't fasten nappies too tight. Keep them a little loose, so that your baby's bottom can 'breathe'.
  • Avoid using talcum powder, because not only won't it protect your munchkin's skin, but it may provoke friction and irritation.
  • In general, babies have delicate skin, so we have to be very gentle with them! Here you have some more tips about baby skin care

 

As you can see, nappy rash isn't that big of a deal if you do what it takes to treat it well. Changing nappies all the time can be a little tiring, sure, but it's a must!