A baby’s skin is sensitive so most develop nappy rashes at some point before their first birthday. No parent likes seeing their baby suffer so it pays to find out what causes nappy rash before your baby actually gets it.
What is nappy rash?
Nappy rash is a skin condition which makes a baby’s genitals, bottom and thighs inflamed, red and sore. They might also have spots, pimples or blisters.
Severe nappy rashes are very painful and can make your baby cry out when you change them.
What causes nappy rash?
Babies who are teething or have just started eating solid foods are prone to nappy rashes. They can also be caused by a combination of:
- Excess moisture – even the best nappies can leave your baby’s bottom slightly damp at times
- Warmth – nappies keep your baby’s bottom nice and warm
- Chafing – crawling or walking can cause your baby’s nappy to rub
- Irritated skin – some baby wipes and products might not agree with your baby’s skin
- Ammonia from contact with wee and poo – if you don’t realise your baby has had a wee or poo and don’t change them for a while their skin can become sore
- Diarrhoea – because this is wetter than normal, it can cause irritation on your baby’s whole nappy area
Your baby’s nappy has the potential to be a breeding ground for bacteria so it’s important that you treat any nappy rashes as quickly as you can or your baby could develop a bacterial or yeast infection. Nappy rashes typically take three to four days to clear up.
How to treat nappy rash
If your baby develops a nappy rash, then it’s important that you take action and don’t leave it to get worse.
Treating the nappy rash yourself
You need to keep your baby’s bum, genitals and thighs as clean and as dry as possible so the skin that’s been affected can heal. This means you need to check your baby’s nappy even more than you usually do, and as soon as they have a wee or a poo you need to change them straightaway.
You should only give your baby a bath once a day, making sure that you dry them properly afterwards so they’re not damp. Make sure you check under their arms and in the folds of their skin. You can wash them using a top and tail bowl at other times, taking care not to rub the nappy rash or it could cause them to cry out.
Try to let air get to their affected area by leaving them to play without a nappy on when you’re at home. They might have the odd accident but this shouldn’t matter. Don’t feel the need to use lots of products on your baby’s skin whilst it’s healing as this might cause further irritation.
Getting professional help
If the nappy rash doesn’t clear up after five days have passed or clears up and then comes back virtually straight away, then you should make an appointment with your baby’s doctor. You should also get professional help if your baby has a temperature, the nappy rash blisters burst and bleed, or if your baby screams when you touch their rash. If your baby displays any of these symptoms they could have a severe case of nappy rash.
Without the correct treatment, the rash could spread to other parts of their body and they could get a yeast or bacterial infection. The doctor you see will be able to prescribe antibiotics or cream that should clear up the nappy rash in a matter of days.
How to prevent nappy rash
Nappy rashes are never pleasant and seeing your baby suffering can be really hard to stomach as a parent. The best thing you can do is find out as much as you can about nappy rashes so you can try to prevent them.
Keep your baby’s bottom fresh
It’s really important that you change your baby’s nappy regularly and make sure you clean their bottom properly before you put on a new nappy. Most parents feel a tad frustrated if they need to change a nappy only five minutes after they’ve put it on but it’s really important you don’t leave your baby in a soiled nappy as it can make them really sore.
When putting on a nappy, you want it to be tight enough that it doesn’t leak but not too tight that it restricts them when they’re crawling or walking. You don’t want to cause any chafing.
Give them free time without a nappy
If you can, try to let your baby go without a nappy for at least half an hour a day. Why not put them on their playmat and let air get to their bottom? It can be a good idea to have a towel underneath them in case they have an accident.
Take care with the products you use
If your baby’s bottom does get sore, it can be tempting to apply nappy cream but you should only do this if they’re not going to be wearing a nappy anytime soon. If you do apply cream and put on a nappy then the protective layer in the nappy won’t work, resulting in your baby’s bottom getting wet.
If you think your baby has sensitive skin, you need to be extra careful when it comes to choosing baby wipes, bubble bath, shampoo and creams. Even products that are labelled ‘fragrance free’ and for ‘sensitive skin’ can occasionally cause irritation. If in doubt, just use warm water and cotton wool.
Shop our Natural Beauty range.