As a mom, you change your baby’s diaper a lot. And that is just in one day. So when you are changing your baby’s diaper and notice bright red skin under the diaper area, you take notice.
So you look at it and wonder why it is red and if your baby is even noticing it. You go about changing your baby’s diaper. When you use a wipe on them, they start fussing and crying.
Your baby is not happy with this red skin. And if baby ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. (Okay. I know, I know. That’s not the phrase since it is really if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Which is true by the way, but I think it can extend to babies as well).
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What is the Inflamed Bright Red Skin on Your Baby’s Bum?
It is a type of skin irritation called a diaper rash. (1)
It affects the skin under the diaper and can extend over the thighs and the buttocks. It may or may not affects the skin folds of your baby.
The rash can look different depending on where it is. On your baby’s bottom, it might display as red splotches and might have red scales on the genital area.
A diaper rash is usually found in babies under two years old. But you can find a diaper rash in people (whether kids or adults) that wear a diaper regularly for whatever reason.
Within the first three years of life, almost every baby will get a diaper rash at least once in their life. The majority of these babies are between the ages of 9-12 months. (So if your baby is between those ages, be extra vigilant in preventing a diaper rash).
It is possible to treat a diaper rash at home. But if the diaper rash is severe, appears infected or your baby has a fever along with the diaper rash, you should consult with your baby’s pediatrician.
According to Healthline, symptoms of an infected diaper rash include:
- blisters on the diaper area
- swelling of the area
- pus or discharge that drains from the diaper area
- the rash will not go away after treatment or starts to worsen during treatment
So, What the Heck Caused the Diaper Rash?
Well, actually there are many causes.
If your baby is sitting in a urine-soaked or poopy diaper for a lengthy amount of time, the skin can get irritated. Typically your baby is more likely to get a diaper rash if they are having frequent bowel movements or diarrhea since poop is more irritating than urine. (Although, with that being said, a urine-filled diaper can still cause a diaper rash, so make sure you keep changing those diapers frequently).
Be sure to check that your baby’s diaper is still fitting properly. If it’s too small, it might be rubbing the skin which would cause irritation. Also, make sure your baby’s clothing is loose and flowy. Too tight and the same problem as the ill-fitting diaper will appear.
The area under the diaper is a prime breeding ground for yeast and bacteria to grow because it is warm and moist. Typically, the rash presents itself in a different way in this environment. The creases of the skin have red dots scattered throughout.
Whenever your baby is introduced to new foods or there is a change in their diet, this can increase the frequency of their stools which can lead to a diaper rash. If you are breastfeeding your baby, a rash may develop in response to what you have eaten. (This is why it is so important to be careful about what you eat during breastfeeding because it can affect your baby in a myriad of ways).
A less common cause of diaper rash is an allergic reaction to the diaper itself. If your baby’s skin comes in contact with dyes found on the diaper can become sensitive and develop a reaction. Be wary of the kind of wipes you are using on your baby’s skin. Some wipes have preservatives that cause irritation to the skin.
How to Get Rid of a Diaper Rash
You want to follow the ABC’s of treating a diaper rash. (Raise your hand if you started singing the ABC song. Nope just me. Yep, I’m a weirdo. On to the treatment).
A- Air out your baby’s bum for short periods of time. This is a natural and gentle way to dry your baby’s bum. It allows your baby’s skin a break from the poop and urine it encounters. To avoid an accident, put something waterproof under their bare-bottom.
B- Barrier. Use an ointment or a paste to protect the skin. These products have zinc-oxide and petroleum jelly which are trusted ingredients in diaper ointments. Trusted ointments include Desitin, A&D Ointment, Triple X, Vaseline, and Balmex.
Once the ointment or paste has been applied, no there is no need to remove it completely at the next diaper change because you might further damage the skin. If for some reason you need to remove the excess ointment/paste the gentlest way is by putting mineral oil on a cotton ball.
Once upon a time, powders containing talc or cornstarch were used because of their ability to reduce friction and moisture. But they are no longer recommended because they cause lung irritation if your baby were to inhale them.
Make sure that the diaper ointment or paste you are using is free from preservatives and fragrances which can irritate the skin even more. (Which would definitely defeat the purpose of using the diaper ointment or paste).
C- Clean. Keep the skin clean. This would include changing your baby’s diaper often. Promptly remove the wet and/or dirty diaper. (This is what makes the color-changing line on diapers so nice. You can see when the diaper needs to be changed without having to awkwardly check it a million times).
D-Daily Bath. Until the rash clears up, bathe your baby every day using warm water and mild, fragrance-free soap.
How do You Prevent Another Diaper Rash?
So now that you know how to get rid of a diaper rash, let’s talk about preventing another one.
There is debate about whether disposable or cloth diapers are better at preventing diaper rash. No matter what diapers you are using, it is important to change your baby’s diaper whenever they are wet or poopy.
If you are using cloth diapers make sure you do not put plastic pants over the diaper. Make sure to wash the cloth diapers in hot water with bleach.
When your baby has a diaper rash, disposable diapers are recommended because they are highly absorbent. They are also specially designed to minimize skin exposure to wetness. (Plus, color-changing line? This will help keep baby constantly dry).
Now you know what the irritated bright red skin on your baby’s bottom is and how to get rid of a diaper rash. So, you go about treating your baby’s diaper rash. You use disposable diapers and watch the color-changing line to immediately change it whenever it changes color.
You let your baby have several short periods where their bum is free and airing in the breeze. You put ointment on after every diaper change.
You bathe your baby every day. And lo and behold your baby’s bum becomes clear and free from the inflamed red skin that caused alarm. And the tears and fussiness have subsided and your baby is smiling once more.
Have you dealt with Diaper rash before, what helped?