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Should I switch to cloth diapers? continued...

Switch to another brand if you've tried everything and your baby still has a sore bottom. A fragrance or dye could irritate her skin or even cause an allergic reaction. Plain white diapers are safest, says Siegfried.

Rarely, babies are allergic to all disposables and do better with cloth diapers. Just be sure to change them very frequently. If your baby has a rash, check the diaper every hour and at least once at night.

Cloth diaper systems may keep your baby's bottom drier than traditional cotton diapers. They come with flushable liners, fleece liners, super-absorbent inserts, and outer covers or wraps.

What types of wipes are most gentle on a baby’s sore bottom?

A mild wipe without alcohol or fragrances might be worth try when your baby has a diaper rash. “In general, look for products with as few ingredients as possible. Stick with the simple stuff,” Siegfried says.

You can try wipes marked "hypoallergenic" or "for sensitive skin," though there's no guarantee they're any better. The FDA doesn't regulate these claims.

If there’s no poop, you may not need a wipe, says Siegfried. Even if there is a mess, you can:

  • Clean your baby with a wet washcloth and plenty of water.
  • Dampen a cotton makeup square with mineral oil to clean your baby's bottom.

What if the rash spreads to other body parts?

If red patches, spots, or bumps start to show up outside the diaper area, your child may have an infection.  Ask your doctor about prescription medicine.

What can I do to give my baby some relief?

The simplest thing is to let your baby’s bottom get some air. Before and after baths and naps, or whenever you get a chance, leave the diaper off for a few minutes. This gives his skin a break from constant rubbing and kills harmful germs that thrive in dark, wet places like the inside of a diaper.

To ease the pain, try a good soak in an oatmeal bath like the ones sold for itchy skin. And, of course, ointments protect bottoms from chafing and irritating liquids. “Zinc oxide pastes are the standard of diaper care,” says Silverberg. “Children tend to feel a soothing relief when these are applied.”