Nappy rash is common in babies, and you’ll know if yours gets it. The area where her nappy goes will look red and raw and sometimes be bumpy and shiny. It can hurt, especially when she wees, so she may be unsettled while she has it.
What causes it?
The quickest way for nappy rash to appear is to leave your littlie in a wet nappy for too long. Even the most absorbent nappies leave a bit of moisture on the skin and if her skin is too wet for too long, its natural barrier will begin to break down. If the natural barrier becomes weak, bub’s skin becomes vulnerable to irritants in her wee and can become red and sore.
Other irritants such as runny poos, plastic pants or materials that are too rough on the skin can also cause nappy rash, says Anne Partridge, director of nursing and clinical services at Tresillian. “Products with perfumes or strong ingredients can irritate the skin, too,” she adds.
Nappy rash can sometimes be mistaken for a yeast infection. A yeast infection usually looks angrier and more inflamed than nappy rash, but can also occur in conjunction with it.
Can I prevent it?
The easiest thing to do to reduce the risk of nappy rash is to change your baby’s nappy frequently. Wee and poo contain substances that can irritate or infect her skin, so clean the area thoroughly when you do.
You may also find you need to change nappy brands, as the brand you are currently using may not be absorbent enough or the materials the nappies are made from may be irritating her skin.
Watch what your child eats when she starts on solid foods, too. Because nappy rash can be triggered by frequent, runny poos, it’s a good idea to avoid things that can cause diarrhoea, such as grapes, prunes and fruit juices. Acidic foods such as citrus fruits should also be avoided when she has the rash because when she wees it may sting more.
Many parents like to use disposable wipes, but they’re not necessary, Anne says. “When you’re out of the house they can be useful, but at home, water and a soft cloth is fine,” she says. If you’re using disposable baby wipes, avoid ones with alcohol and fragrance, as these ingredients can irritate and dry out the skin.
How do I treat it?
If your baby’s bottom becomes red and inflamed, your priority will be keeping the nappy area as dry as possible. You will also need a thick barrier cream to soothe and protect the skin from moisture. Zinc-based creams are good,” Anne says.
Clean your little one’s nappy area thoroughly with lukewarm water and gently pat dry. Reapply a thick layer of barrier cream at each change and make sure all the affected areas are really well covered.
Finally, give that cute little bottom some air! It’s being in a nappy that causes the problem in the first place, so schedule some regular nappy-free time. She will love it! But make sure it’s not in the direct sunlight, as her delicate skin will burn easily.
What if it doesn't clear?
If treated properly, nappy rash should clear up in a few days. If it doesn’t, or is spreading or getting worse, consult your medical advisor.