So, you’ve been following our suggestions for how to prevent diaper rash, and unfortunately you’ve started to notice some redness or a rash developing on your baby’s bottom. Here are some diaper rash treatment steps to take to try to eliminate the rash quickly:
What should I do (and not do!) if my baby has diaper rash?
The best diaper rash treatment starts at the earliest sign of the rash.
- Apply a zinc-oxide diaper cream with each diaper change. (See the article on how to prevent diaper rash for links/product suggestions.)
- Allow your baby’s bottom to dry completely, and leave the diaper off for a bit after changings to allow for “air drying”. (Just be prepared for a few accidents! Try letting your baby have this naked time on a towel, blanket, or other easily cleaned surface.) Using a disposable lap-pad is often a wonderful way to prevent big messes. Or, dry the area completely with the “cold” setting on a hair-dryer. (ALWAYS make sure that the air is cold, and test while you’re using it!)
- Change your baby’s diaper more frequently than you have been doing. Changing as frequently as once/hour is a great idea! (However, don’t disturb a sleeping baby for a diaper change!)
- Place diapers on loosely to allow the skin to “breathe” a bit.
- Use a petroleum jelly or non-petroleum jelly ointment to create a moisture barrier on your baby’s bottom. Use liberally! (Again, read the article on how to prevent diaper rash for links/product suggestions.)
- Make sure you’re using sensitive, fragrance-free wipes. If you are using store-bought wipes, now might be the time to use plain water and a washcloth for a little while, or until the rash clears. (Again, read diaper rash prevention suggestions.)
- Try soaking your baby’s bottom in water for 5 minutes, and then dry thoroughly. This worked wonders for Deb, when her babies have diaper rash. A brief soak can help break down some of the irritants, like ammonia, that may be left on baby’s skin from urine and feces.
- You can try using some breastmilk as a salve to spread on the diaper rash. Some circles swear by this approach. nfortunately, I haven’t seen too much anecdotal evidence to support this as a “cure-all”, but it certainly won’t hurt! And, breastmilk is full of good things like antibodies and antimicrobials.
- After speaking with your healthcare provider, the sparing use of hydrocortisone cream may work wonders to cure the rash. However, I do not suggest trying cortisone cream until checking in with your healthcare provider because if the diaper rash is yeast-based it will drastically worsen the rash!
- Do not use talc powder. It can be inhaled and is dangerous for your baby’s lungs.
- Do not use cornstarch. It can worsen the rash.
- Do not use dryer sheets when laundering cloth diapers if these are used.
When to call your healthcare provider
- If the rash has been present for a few days and it does not look like it’s improving, it’s time to call your healthcare provider. Often, a candidal rash (the fungal one!) won’t get better without using a topical antifungal cream. These can be purchased over the counter, but it is best to check with your healthcare provider before starting to use one to make sure that the rash is fungal in origin.
- If you notice bleeding, blisters, large sores, pus, or the rash is spreading rapidly, it’s time to call your healthcare professional.
- If your baby has a fever with the rash, call.
- If the rash is spreading beyond the diaper area.
- If your baby appears to be in extreme discomfort or pain.
- Finally, if your baby is less than 6-8 weeks old, call your healthcare provider.
I hope some of these diaper rash treatment options work for you. Diaper rash is certainly no fun to deal with but it can be overcome!