Keep your baby’s bum as soft and peachy as it should be
Tips to keep your little one happy from the bottom up
You take off your baby’s nappy and – gulp! – you spy a telltale red, sore patch. It’s not pretty, but there are many reasons why nappy rash appears and plenty of simple ways to treat it, too. Dermatologist Dr Tabi Leslie says nappy rash is a very common skin condition for babies of all ages, and it can quickly make the skin red and inflamed. You might notice small raised bumps or areas that look swollen, and the skin might peel, or even become a bit scaly. This can obviously be uncomfortable for your baby, which is why Tabi says it’s good to catch it at the first sign of irritation, and treat it as soon as possible.
A common cause of nappy rash is exposure to wee or poo in her nappy, and it’s the reaction between these two that’s to blame for the redness and irritation. A wet nappy in itself doesn’t pose a great risk of nappy rash developing, but when bacteria in the poo react with the wee, it produces ammonia, which irritates the skin. With skin that’s become more sensitive, even normally harmless chemicals can cause a reaction. All babies’ skin is different so what spells trouble for a youngster with sensitive skin might not bother another in the slightest.
There are other things that can cause a rash as well. When your baby is teething, as she cuts a tooth, she’ll dribble more, so she’s likely to swallow a lot more saliva than normal. As this passes through her stomach, extra stomach acid is produced and her poos will become runnier and more likely to cause a reaction.
The same applies with a cold – although lots of it ends up on her face, mucus also travels down into her stomach, upsetting her system. Antibiotics can also have the same effect.
While your baby has nappy rash, you’ll need to keep her bottom as dry as possible. So, change her nappy regularly, and straight after she has done a poo. Clean her thoroughly each time. You’ll
THE BEST THING TO CLEAR UP A BOUT OF NAPPY RASH IS SOME GOOD OLD FRESH AIR.
Apply cream to clean, dry skin or the rash will get worse.
need to be careful about what you use: opt for baby wipes that have been developed for sensitive skin, which are alcohol- and fragrance-free. Or simply use water and cotton-wool pads.
Once the affected area is clean, don’t be in a rush to put her nappy back on. The best thing to clear up a bout of nappy rash is some good old fresh air. So, pop her on a towel and give her 10 minutes of nappy-free time. Even better, if it’s warm enough, take her outside to air her bum. She’ll love the feeling of freedom from not having a bulky nappy between her legs, so will be full of giggles and smiles at this unexpected nakedness session. And when it’s time to put her nappy back on, make sure you don’t fasten it too tightly, as that too will allow some air to get to her bottom.
Giving your baby a bath each evening will help to keep the area clean, but don’t add any lotions or fragranced bubble bath to the water as that might irritate her delicate skin. It’s also vital to gently pat dry the affected area with a soft, clean towel, as rubbing it might cause even more discomfort.
Soothe & PROTECT
After a nappy change or a bath, once your baby’s skin is clean and thoroughly dry, moisturise it with a cream. It’s important that you only apply cream to clean, dry skin, or you’ll trap moisture and irritants next to it, which will make the rash worse. Some creams might work better for your baby than others, so trying a few different formulations will help you to work out which one suits her skin best.
As well as calming the skin, the cream forms a protective layer between it and the wee and poo, giving it a chance to heal. While it might be tempting to smother your baby’s skin in cream, lightly spreading a thin layer across the affected area is best.
Do all this and your baby’s nappy rash should clear up in three to four days. If it looks like it’s getting worse, or seems unchanged, check with your GP.