It’s true that all babies are different, and what’s “normal” for one may not be for another. However, there are a few things babies experience that are common occurrences for their age group, such as diaper rashes. While they’re common, they’re also uncomfortable, and it’s important to recognize and know how to treat them.
What is a Diaper Rash?
Virtually all babies will suffer with diaper rash at some point in their first year. Diaper rashes typically result from friction from wearing a diaper and/or infrequent diaper changes, when urine, stool, or both stay on the baby's skin too long. Other potential causes include antibiotics, diarrhea, new foods, irritants, allergic reactions to commercial diapers or wipes, or infections on the skin like yeast or bacteria. Your doctor can prescribe the best treatment once the cause of the rash has been determined.
What Does Diaper Rash Look Like?
Diaper rash is fairly easy to self diagnose. You will notice inflamed, bright red skin on or near the area that would typically be covered by a diaper. A baby can get diaper rash at any stage, and they often appear as early as a few weeks old. However, the most common time for diaper rashes is between 9 and 12 months of age. It is very common for babies to get diaper rash, and it isn't at all a sign of parental neglect.
How Do I Treat Diaper Rash?
Most diaper rashes can be treated at home by ensuring you do the following:
- Change your baby’s diaper immediately when soiled, both during the day and at night
- Clean the diapered area gently with warm water at each diaper change and allow the airy to air dry after gently patting dry
- Apply a thick layer of any good waterproof barrier ointment to the affected area. The best ointments for diaper rashes are Aquaphor, Triple Paste medicated ointment, or Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, but there are many other options on the market. You can use these daily as a preventative measure for as well as a treatment if your baby already has diaper rash
Keeping the diaper area clean and dry should be enough to prevent or treat diaper rashes. If the rash persists for longer than 4-7 days or begins to blister, you should call your child’s pediatrician immediately.
This page was authored by Dr. Lauren Mitchell.