Everything you need to know about nappy rash

Nappy rash affects 1 in 3 babies and can make them feel sore and uncomfortable. Luckily it is easy to treat, and there are steps that you can take to prevent it. Read on to find out all you need to know about nappy rash.

What is nappy rash?

Nappy rash is when a baby's skin becomes red and inflamed; it can sometimes be hot to the touch, result in spots, and in severe cases, blisters. The rash can affect any area of skin that is in contact with the contents of the nappy, including: thighs, groin and back. And can begin with small patches of skin that spread when left untreated.

What causes nappy rash?

Nappy rash is normally caused by irritation from the skin being in contact with urine (which contains ammonia substances) and stools, but can also be the result of allergies, diarrhoea, antibiotics, oral thrush or from simply having particularly sensitive skin. If using cloth nappies, nappy rash can be a result of the soap and detergent that remain on the material after washing.
Nappy rash can also be the result of leaving a baby in dirty nappies for too long: though unfortunately, even when changed regularly, babies can be affected by nappy rash.

What causes nappy rash?

To treat nappy rash, be sure to:

  • Change your baby's nappy regularly (every 2-3 hours), and use a super absorbent nappy.
  • Make sure that the nappy is fastened tightly enough that it doesn't leak – but not too tight! This will be a step towards protecting the area of skin around the nappy.
  • Use cotton wool with warm water to clean, as opposed to wipes.
  • Give your baby as much nappy-free time as possible, the heat from wearing a nappy will aggravate the rash.
  • If you think that the rash is a reaction to something, try to find the cause and avoid using it.
  • Don't bathe your baby too much as this can dry out the skin. When bathing, don't use any products such as soaps, shampoos and bubble baths – use only water.
  • Apply a thin layer of store bought barrier cream, zinc or caster oil at each change, but not too much that it transfers onto the nappy and prevents it from absorbing urine – this will make the problem worse.
  • Rinse cloth nappies in clean water after washing.
  • Talk to a doctor if nothing works, if there are blisters or if your baby is upset and not sleeping. Contact your doctor immediately if the rash is accompanied by a fever, as this could mean that there is an infection.

How can I prevent nappy rash?

To prevent nappy rash, follow the above steps. Remember to keep your baby's bottom dry, change their nappy regularly, keep them clean and apply a barrier cream. Don't use talcum powder as this does not protect against nappy rash and can be irritating to the skin. Avoid using wipes and instead use cotton wool or flannels with a chamomile tea and olive oil blend.

Paula Noble

I'm Paula Noble. I'm one of the leading freelancers in parenting and relationship niche among other niches that aim to improve our everyday life and also a motivational speaker. I'm a mother who prides herself with my three beautiful children. I graduated from Argosy University Washington, DC with BA Journalism, media studies, and communication. I worked as an editor for more than 10 years then quit to focus on personal projects. I contributed a lot to the journalism industry and had traveled the world mentoring the girl child to let their voices be heard. Some of my remarkable mentorship tours include Let Africa Speak. A tour that was aimed at strengthening the position of women in Africa with the primary focus being in the media industry. I believe that information is power and the person who controls it controls the world around them. This principle guides her through life and inspires most of my writing and ventures in life.

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