Diaper rash is a common form of dermatitis that results in a patchwork of bright red skin, as the name would suggest, on a baby’s bottom.
While it can lead to irritation and fussiness for the baby, the good news is that diaper rash is easily treatable at home and can be prevented in the future with a few simple precautions.
What causes diaper rash?
The most common causes of diaper rash are infrequent diaper changes or unsuitable diaper size resulting in chafing of the baby’s skin.
If a baby is exposed to antibiotics during pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding or first-hand use, a rash can occur on the baby’s bottom. Antibiotics allow yeast to grow in the baby’s intestines. This yeast comes out in the stool and causes a rash.
Once you have checked with your baby’s doctor to determine the exact cause of his or her diaper rash, consider one of the following natural alternatives.
Doctors will typically not prescribe medication to treat diaper rash, as it is best solved at home.
1. Baking Soda Bath
WebMD recommends letting your baby soak in a warm baking soda bath for 10 minutes, 3 times daily to soothe diaper rash and facilitate healing.
Simply add 2 teaspoons of baking soda to the baby’s warm bath water. Remember to not bathe your baby until the umbilical cord has fallen off, and be sure to stay with your baby while he or she is in the bath.
If your baby’s diaper rash has not been caused by antibiotics, it’s likely the result of urine – which is highly alkaline – and can burn the skin due to prolonged exposure via the diaper.
The yeast caused by antibiotic use has a similar effect.
Vinegar will balance your baby’s skin acid-alkaline ratio and reduce yeast damage to help diaper rash go away faster.
Simply mix one teaspoon of white vinegar with a cup of warm water. Wipe your baby’s bottom with this throughout the day.
3. Oatmeal Bath
Parents.com recommends an oatmeal bath for treating diaper rash. The bath will reduce irritation on your baby’s skin and can also create a barrier on the skin, helping the rash heal faster.
To create an oatmeal bath, follow these instructions:
- Blend 1/3 of a cup of oatmeal into a very fine powder.
- Place this powder into a tub of running water.
- Let your baby soak in the tub for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Gently rub your baby’s skin occasionally.
Be careful getting your baby in and out of the tub, as oatmeal will make it slippery.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that promote healing. Further, the lauric and caprylic acids found in coconut oil make it effective for fighting the yeast that often causes diaper rash.
To use coconut oil for diaper rash, follow these steps:
- Wash your baby’s bottom with water and let it dry.
- Apply coconut oil on the rash using your fingers.
- Let the oil dry before putting on a new diaper.
Once your baby has gotten over a bout of diaper rash, you’ll probably want to prevent it from happening again. The following tips from WebMD will help:
- Change your baby’s diaper frequently, and wash his or her bum with plain water when you do so. Let it air dry before placing a new diaper on.
- Find a diaper size that is not too tight or too loose for your baby.
- Do not use diapers that contain plastic. These increase germ growth.
- Never wipe your baby’s bottom with a towel. This can irritate the skin and allow bacteria to enter.