At some point, you’ve probably googled all the ways to treat your baby’s nappy rash. You may have a good idea of what causes it as well…or at least, you may think you do (I know I did). My twins didn’t start getting teeth until they were almost one, and when those little chompers came in, they would get horrible diarrhoea, which was then followed by angry, red nappy rash. With one, came the other. Of course, paediatricians have differing opinions on whether teething can indirectly cause nappy rash but, in our case, it definitely seemed to be the culprit.
See, sometimes your baby’s irritated bum can stem from something you might not have even realised. Sure, if you left her in a wet or pooey nappy for too long, you know exactly what went wrong. Other factors, however, are a lot more unexpected, like these:
1. Her nappy doesn’t fit correctly. As you may have noticed, babies grow fast, busting out of their nappies right after you bought another month’s supply of size newborns. So your baby’s nappies may no longer be fitting right. According to the Mayo Clinic, when a nappy is too tight, it not only rubs and chafes the skin, but it restricts air flow, trapping moisture in. That dampness is exactly what creates nappy rash. If you notice any redness around her thighs and waist, your nappy is probably too small and it’s time for a size upgrade — yes, even if her weight seems in line with the recommendations on the package.
2. He’s allergic to an ingredient in his nappies or wipes. Some babies have very sensitive skin which reacts easily to certain materials and products, like the absorbent gel, dyes and fragrance found in some nappies and wipes. Of course, every baby is different, so while one can’t wear generic-brand nappies, it might be the only kind that another can tolerate, explains Dr Gregg Alexander, a paediatrician in private practice. Even if you think you bought the greenest, safest, cleanest nappies on the planet, if your baby is prone to nappy rash, you may need to run some trial-and-error with other brands.
3. You’ve been using plastic nappy covers. If your baby is prone to blowdrys, you may sometimes use these covers over cloth nappies to protect her adorable outfits. Unfortunately though, they warm the nappy area, and trap moisture, making her more prone to rash. So, as much as you want to preserve those cute white bloomers, you may need to retire the plastic covers.
4. You towel-dry your baby’s rear. When taking your baby out of the tub, try not to rub his bottom with the towel. The rough texture can irritate his sensitive skin, and make it more susceptible to bacteria. Gently pat him dry instead.
5. You’ve recently introduced solid foods. Yes, food is a treat for your baby, but it’s also a little bit of a shock to her system. As she begins to eat solids, her poo is going to change in consistency, as well as frequency, and that can lead to nappy rash. “The changing diet changes the colonisation of bacteria, and when that stool sits against the skin, it can cause redness and irritation,” explains Dr Wendy Sue Swanson, a paediatrician and author of Mama Doc Medicine. That said, sometimes nappy rash can indicate a food sensitivity, intolerance or even allergy, so if your baby has hives, or the rash doesn’t improve in a few days, have it checked out by your paediatrician.
6. The foods he’s eating are acidic. Some foods, whether ingested by the baby, or transferred to him through breast milk, can be a little rough on his system, especially acidic foods like citrus and tomato. If you notice a red ring around your baby’s anus, you’ll want to cool it on the oranges and marinara sauce, or cut out the acidic foods completely.
7. Your baby is taking antibiotics. The meds fighting her ear infection might be causing a new problem: a flare-up of nappy rash. “Antibiotics create an environment that allows yeast to flourish, which can lead to rash and infection,” explains Dr Alexander. Of course, if your baby needs antibiotics, you’re going to give them to her, but you might begin to see a nappy rash soon after. Sometimes probiotics can replace the “good bacteria” in your baby’s gut, helping get her tummy back to normal. If your baby has developed an infection though, an anti-fungal cream — along with frequent nappy-changes and lots of fresh air on her bare bum– will speed up her recovery, adds Dr Swanson. Talk to your doctor about what will suit her best.
More baby care advice:
- What Are the Symptoms of Cradle Cap & How Is it Treated?
- Why Natural Remedies Aren’t Always Best (Even for Babies)
- Baby Acne: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments