Or should I say nappy rash as I’m from the UK? Well, nappy rash, diaper rash – whatever you call it, it’s the worst. That red, raw skin on their most delicate bits. It breaks your heart to see your little one suffering. Especially with something that looks so painful. Over-the-counter ointments definitely have some merit, and there are a some available that are made with mostly natural ingredients, but there are a few home remedies for a diaper rash that you can try first.
Causes of Diaper Rash
Firstly, don’t take it personally. It’s not your fault and you aren’t a terrible mother. Unless you’re leaving your kid in wet diapers for hours on end, then maybe it is and you are. But assuming you’re a loving and attentive mother, there’s very little you can do to stop your baby from experiencing this awful rash at some point.
The reasons for diaper rash are fairly obvious. Super sensitive skin and chemicals from urine and stools, covered in material and rubbed together. There you have it, the unavoidable recipe for a very sore rash. Too much moisture on sensitive skin will remove its natural oils and make it more easily damaged by friction. All those cute little rolls of fat that babies have only make things worse as they trap moisture and rub together. Then add bacteria and fungi into the mix and things can start to get really nasty.
Other reasons baby might be experiencing a diaper rash are:
- Starting solid food
- Taking antibiotics
- Allergy to products or diapers
How to Prevent Diaper Rash
I think it’s a safe bet to say that all babies will suffer from diaper rash at some point in their young lives, but there are some things we can do to help prevent it.
- Diaper free time – I’ve been really lucky that my son has only had one bout of nappy rash (so far 🤞) and I put it down to the fact
that he spends a lot of time with a nudey bum. We live in the Algarve so the weather has a lot to do with it but if we are at home or at the beach I let him go diaperless as much as possible. I think this action alone has been instrumental in keeping him rash free most of the time. Little bums need plenty of fresh air and a little sunshine too.
- Change diapers frequently – Infants who are changed at least 8 times a day have fewer and less severe rashes.
- Rinse or wipe smart – Rinse baby’s bum with clean water or use sensitive, alcohol-free wipes. Even if you’re only changing a wet diaper you still want to remove the ammonia from the urine.
- Blot dry – Pat the area gently with a soft towel to remove any excess moisture before you put a clean diaper on. If baby already has a rash and can’t even bear a gentle towel dry a good trick is to use a hairdryer, on the lowest setting and held at a distance. Or better yet let her air dry naturally if you have time.
- Try different brands of diaper – You never know, it could be something in that specific brand that baby is reacting to.
- Go looser or larger – Allow some air to circulate by securing the diapers more loosely or even using a larger size. You should avoid those plastic pants that can be worn over diapers. They retain moisture making them a breeding ground for bacteria.
Home Remedies for Diaper Rash
Washes and Soaks
- Baking Soda
Baking soda is highly alkaline so it will balance the pH levels of the skin whilst killing bacteria, and reducing redness and inflammation. Simply mix 2tbsp of baking soda with warm water and either soak baby’s bum in it or use cotton wool to gently dab it onto the affected area. Let it dry naturally but then be sure to apply a natural, fragrance free moisturising such as sweet almond oil or coconut oil as baking soda is very drying
- Epsom Salts
Epsom salts contain a high level of magnesium and are a great anti inflammatory. Add half a cup to a warm bath and let baby soak, or mix 1 tbsp of salts with warm water and dab on using cotton wool.
Oatmeal is very soothing and is great for all types of skin irritations. You can either blend your oats into a fine powder and dissolve them in the bath or you can put the oats into the foot of an old stocking, tie it up and drop that into the water. The water will go all silky and soothe even the nastiest rash.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
I love apple cider vinegar. I know it works miracles in many areas and I’ve read that it’s also great for diaper rash. They say you can dilute it in the bath or dilute a tbsp in warm water and apply it directly. Personally I haven’t tried it. When I look a red raw little bottom it goes against every instinct in my body to put vinegar on it. I’m not saying it wouldn’t work, but I can’t honestly tell you that it’s great when I haven’t tried it so if you do decide to try it then please let me know how you get on.
Salves and Balms
- Breast Milk
Ah the humble breast milk, miracle cure for many things. You can dab it on spots, baby acne, bites and yes, it’s also good for diaper rash.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Get cold pressed, organic if you can. It’s very moisturising and promotes healing, plus it’s solid at room temperature so it’s easy to use. Add a couple of drops of lavender essential oil to the coconut for extra healing and soothing properties. Lavender oil actually accelerates the regeneration of skin tissue so it works perfectly.
- Aloe Vera Gel
Pure Aloe Vera gel straight from the plant, or even bottled, is an anti-inflammatory so it’s a great cooler and soother for sore bums. You can add a few drops of lavender oil to this too. You can also use this to make baby shampoo at home.
- Natural Yogurt
If you’ve been unlucky enough to have had a yeast infection then you’ll know the relief that natural yogurt can bring. It works just the same with diaper rash. Just make sure the yogurt is plain, with no added sugar or cornstarch.
When To Seek Medical Advice
Most diaper rashes will clear up over time with some simple home remedies, but sometimes they can be really stubborn. You should take your little one to see a doctor if they have any of the following symptoms:
- Rash oozes pus or fluid
- Rash persists no matter what you try
A Little Extra
Any one of these remedies should bring your baby some relief from their pain, and there are plenty of creams and ointments available to try if you prefer.
I’m going to share with you what eventually shifted my son’s rash, even though it’s not the most natural product. I tried the natural way and many of the remedies soothed him but didn’t totally rid him of the rash. As much as I would have liked to fix it naturally, in the end I just wanted it fixed. I followed my mum’s advice and I hate to say it but I went old school.
Sudocrem, an oldy but goody. And what do you know? The rash cleared up in a matter of days. Not very crunchy mama, I know, but when your child is suffering you just do whatever you have to. You’ll have to forgive me that one.
Anyway, I hope you’ve found something here that can help if you’re in the midst of the dreaded rash at the moment. I’d love to hear what’s worked for you and if you know of any other tricks to help.
Thanks for reading.