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Diapering a Newborn: Dealing With Diaper Rash

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How do I get rid of my baby's diaper rash? continued...

Pat the skin dry with a clean, soft cloth, or if possible, let her bottom air dry. Then apply a thick layer of diaper cream ointment with zinc oxide or petroleum jelly to act as a waterproof barrier.  

When possible, keep the diaper loose so air can circulate, or let her go diaper-free for a while.  

Depending on the cause of the rash, your baby may need an antifungal cream, an antibiotic cream, or a mild steroid cream. [Drugstore] anti-inflammatory creams like hydrocortisone may help reduce redness and pain, but check with your pediatrician before using it. These types of steroid creams can worsen rashes caused by yeast if not used as directed. Yeast infections typically are treated with antifungal creams, [which may need a prescription].

Does diaper rash get worse when babies start solid foods?

Diaper rash is more common between months 8 and 10, when babies start to eat more solid foods. Various foods get passed in baby’s stool and can irritate the skin. Changes in diet also can affect the number of bowel movements and make diaper rash more likely.

Should I use cloth or disposable diapers?

The type of diaper isn’t as important.

Cloth diapers are not as absorbent as disposable diapers, so they can hold wetness against your baby’s skin. On the flip side, some disposable diapers are almost too absorbent, so [some] parents don’t change them as often as they should.

If you choose cloth diapers, be sure to change soiled diapers often and quickly. Rinse cloth diapers several times after washing to remove soap residue, and skip fabric softeners, which can inflame skin.

When should I call the doctor?

Call your pediatrician if:

  • The rash isn’t improving or is worsening after two to three days of home treatment.
  • There are blisters or pus-filled sores.
  • Your baby has a fever.
  • The rash seems to be causing a lot of pain.
  • You think your baby may have a yeast infection.
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Reviewed on July 23, 2013