Keep your baby’s bum as soft and peachy as it should be

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Contents -

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.

Com­mon CAUSES

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


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.

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