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Causes of Diaper Rash in Babies

Diaper rashes are part of life. Most babies and kids will have them from time to time, even if you use cloth diapers. A diaper rash is simply redness in the general diaper region. Sometimes it look puffy and feel warm. The rash can be as mild as a few blotchy pink spots or serious, extensive red bumps. Don’t feel like you’ve been neglectful if you notice one; they are part of growing up during the first year.

Diaper rashes are caused by these factors:

  • Wetness – When urine meets the bacteria in stool, ammonia is formed, which can be harsh on skin. Even the best diapers leave some moisture on the skin, so be sure to change your child as soon as you notice he’s wet.
  • Diarrhea – Frequent bowel movements mean more waste and moisture in the diaper area, making diaper rashes more likely.
  • Antibiotics – If your child (or breastfeeding mom) is on antibiotics, the medication can reduce the number of healthy bacteria that keep yeast in check, so infections are more likely.
  • New foods – Foods change the composition of stool and urine (for example, there is more acidity in tomatoes and oranges that your baby might not be used to).
  • Infection – A warm and moist area is the perfect spot for an infection. A yeast or thrush infection can take hold, especially in the folds of the skin.
  • Chaffing – A diaper has to be snug to do its job, but that snugness can cause chaffing.

Is it necessary to call the doctor?

Usually no. Diaper rashes can be handled with over the counter treatments. Call your doctor if the rash looks to be infected or if there is bleeding, blisters, pimples, yellow patches, or open sores. The doctor may prescribe topical treatments, antibiotics, or antifungals. Also call the doctor if the rash doesn’t abate in a week or if baby has a fever.

How does one treat and prevent a diaper rash?

Treatment for diaper rashes is simple.

  • Keep baby dry by changing the diaper frequently, even if you have to get them up at night.
  • Rinse the area well at each change. Use warm water. Pat the skin dry, do not rub.
  • Put the diaper on loosely to limit chaffing.
  • Don’t use wipes with alcohol or fragrance on a rash; that could make it worse.
  • If diaper rashes continue to appear, try changing diaper brands. Some super-absorbent varieties pull moisture out of the skin, which might be too harsh for your baby.
  • Let your child spend a few minutes every day naked to let air flow through the area. If the rash is really bad, let them spend a majority of the day without a diaper or wearing very loose undergarments. (Keep them over an easy-to-clean surface.)
  • Use an ointment during diaper changes that forms a barrier on the skin, like petroleum jelly, lanolin, or white zinc oxide.
  • Introduce solid foods one at a time so you can gauge any sensitivities.
  • Don’t wash cloth diapers with detergents that use fragrances. Pass on fabric softener as well. Both can irritate the skin.
  • For persistent rashes, soak baby in a warm bath daily.
  • Offer more fluids throughout the day so urine is less concentrated. Yes, that means more diaper changing, but the liquid will be less harmful.

While sometimes diaper rashes are unavoidable, washing your babies clothes or cloth diapers in a non-toxic detergent like Rockin' Green can help relieve skin irritation.

Guest Blog by Dr. Nina Farzin, Inventor of oogiebear

Nina is a wife, mother and career professional who never intended to start her own business. When her children were newborns, she ached to ease the discomfort from dry, stubborn, crusty mucus (boogers)! As a doctor, she knew there were no safe solutions on the market to help her kids, so she invented oogiebear, a revolutionary booger removal tool that helps babies breathe easier.

Nina graduated Howard University where she earned her doctorate in Pharmacy (R.Ph, Pharm.D). She is a Registered Pharmacist in Washington DC, Maryland and New York. Nina and her family are fitness enthusiasts who enjoy outdoor activities and healthy eating.

For more information, please visit


Image courtesy of / photostock

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