Having a baby for the first time is a unique experience for many parents. The adrenaline of having part of you concretized and amazing but there are challenges too, in not knowing how to deal with many new and frequently occurring situations, with a baby who is a fragile being and requires full attention. Some problems are common and parents will need to learn how to address them smoothly. One of those common problems is diaper rash!
Infants and young children often develop diaper rash. Because of all the discomfort and suffering of our little ones, it is important to try to avoid or treat them as soon as they arise so that your baby doesn’t feel too much pain. Its scientific name is diaper dermatitis, characterized by an inflammatory reaction in the diaper region due to direct or long contact with feces and urine. There is also dermatitis by sensitization, which is caused by allergy to some substance in the composition of the diaper.
Its symptoms are redness of the skin, pain, itching and, when it gets worse, blisters. Diaper rash is usually more frequent in children under 2 years of age. This type of dermatitis can appear more frequently when food introduction begins, as it can make feces more acidic, aggravating skin irritation. The most recommended way to prevent diaper rash is to change the diaper frequently, whenever the baby pees or poops, usually between two to three hours, and clean the area with running warm water or a wet gauze pad.
Applying a preventive ointment or cream such as petroleum jelly or bepantol are good forms of prevention. Wet wipes can also cause skin irritation, so opt for gentle formulas if you are going to be using them and observe how your baby skin reacts to it. If you use cloth diapers, you must change them more often as it has less absorption, which leaves the baby’s skin more exposed to contact with pee or poop.
What to do when the baby has a diaper rash?
Some babies tend to develop diaper rash more easily, even if the parents take all necessary care. It is always recommended to ask your pediatrician or your baby’s dermatologist for guidance, especially in the most severe cases. There are several techniques and treatments that can help you, everything will depend on the severity and which is the best remedy for it indicated by your doctor.
However, you don’t have to worry too much, as you can do some things to reduce discomfort, such as cleaning the area with plenty of running water and letting the area get some fresh air. Covering the area with powder isn’t recommended, be it cornstarch or talc, as they can dry the baby’s skin, the powder takes away the skin’s natural moisture. The purpose isn’t to just leave it dry, but clean.
Diaper rashes comes in several degrees, which are:
Light: redness of the affected area, the skin is peeling and has a shiny appearance;
Moderate: small blisters and white wounds appear;
Severe: bigger and more serious injuries, like ulcers, and may even bleed
Diaper rash, in most cases, begins in a light degree, and can be treated before it evolves to more severe degrees. However, even in a light stage, they cause a lot of discomfort to the baby as burning in the affected region. Therefore, the best way to take care of diaper rash is to prevent its onset. There are a few methods that can help you with this:
- Keep your baby’s food exclusively from breast milk until six months of age, since its pH is closer to the pH of the skin, thus, the chances of diaper rash appearing are less;
- When changing the diaper, make sure the area is clean and dry. When drying the area, do not rub, but instead pat dry;
- Change the diaper more often, so that your baby doesn’t stay too long with a wet or dirty diaper. Even if they don’t complain, the ideal is to change every two to three hours or, whenever there is a possibility of him having pee or poop;
- Do not use soap to clean the area when you change the diaper, sometimes running water and moistened cotton is enough;
- Leave the baby a little bit without diaper, so that the skin can breathe;
- A breastfeeding mom may want to avoid eating foods that are too acidic or that have seasoning, as they make feces acidic;
- Use diapers that have super absorbent acrylic gel, which are more efficient at keeping the diaper part which has direct contact with the baby’s skin, dry;
- Observe if your baby’s skin is more irritated with the use of one brand of diapers, or wipes, than with another.
- Use a clean cloth to pat dry the diaper area after cleaning with water or wet wipes.