Almost every baby who is in diapers will experience diaper rash at least once. If you want to avoid harmful ingredients that are in many conventional diaper rash treatments, try these safer, more natural cures.
The old saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. You can minimize your baby’s chances of getting diaper rash in the first place by using cloth diapers with a breathable cover (wool or cotton for example). Cloth diapered babies, as a rule, experience less rash. Changing your baby as soon as he or she wets or soils the diaper is also a good habit. You can also experiment with Elimination Communication (E.C.). Doing E.C. even part time will have many benefits, such as reduced diaper usage.
If your baby is using disposable diapers, try switching to cloth for awhile and see if the rash improves. If you’re already using cloth diapers, remove the cover and let him wear pinned on prefolds so lots of air gets to his bottom. Try changing laundry detergents and double rinsing your diapers, adding a half cup vinegar to the first rinse, and see if that helps.
Removing the diaper completely for as long as possible during the day will help the rash heal more quickly. Again, you can try Elimination Communication part time when your baby gets a rash. Take off the diaper and watch baby closely for signs that he needs to eliminate. Sit him on a potty or hold him over a toilet or sink, make a “pssss” sound and see what happens.
Sometimes diaper rash is caused by an overgrowth of candida (yeast). Suspect yeast if the rash is bright red and shiny, especially if you’re nursing and also have signs of candida overgrowth (pain during nursing, vaginal yeast). Giving your baby acidophilus powder can help. Read package labels for dosage instructions. If you’re nursing, take the powder yourself also. Acidophilus is safe for young babies. Older babies who are on solids can also eat yogurt with live cultures. Remove sugar and white flour from the baby’s diet to help starve the yeast. You can also make a rinse for your baby’s bottom from one cup of water mixed with one teaspoon baking soda to help kill candida.
Don’t use baby wipes when your baby has a rash, as the skin is sensitive and wipes can dry out the skin and make it worse. Instead, rinse your baby after each diaper change with water.
If the rash is dry and scaly, open a capsule of Vitamin E and apply it to the rash. Calendula is also healing and is available as a topical ointment. Kaolin powder, made from a clay, can help if the rash is weepy.
If you’ve just started baby on solid foods, he may have a temporary rash as his skin adjusts to the ph changes of his urine and stool. If your baby has a rash around his anus (like a bull’s eye) every time he eats a certain food, take it out of his diet for awhile, as he may be sensitive to it. You can try reintroducing it in a few months to see if his digestive system reacts differently.
If your baby has severe or chronic diaper rash, suspect food allergies. Talk with your baby’s health care provider about an elimination diet. The typical suspects are dairy, wheat, corn, eggs and soy. Keeping a food diary can provide some clues, but the most effective way to figure out if your child has food sensitivities is to take the common allergens out of his diet. Then introduce them back one at a time, watching for reactions.
If your baby develops other symptoms along with his rash, like fever or irritability, or if the rash looks infected and doesn’t respond to care at home, check with a health care provider.