Baby Tips

Is it Normal for Newborns to Get Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash is a common form of inflamed skin (dermatitis) that appears as a patchwork of bright red skin on your baby’s bottom.

Diaper rash is often related to wet or infrequently changed diapers, skin sensitivity, and chafing. It usually affects babies, though anyone who wears a diaper regularly can develop the condition.

Diaper rash can alarm parents and annoy babies. But it usually clears up with simple at-home treatments, such as air drying, more frequent diaper changes and ointment.

The first time you discover a scattering of tiny red bumps on your baby’s sweet bottom, you’re bound to be a little freaked. 

But diaper rash is pretty much part of the baby package — at least half of the diaper-clad contingent develop it at some point — and some seem to sport one just about all the time.

You can expect diaper rash — reddish skin irritation on your baby’s bottom and inner thighs — to remain a potential problem as long as your little one is in diapers. 

But these tips and treatment suggestions should help heal that pesky, sometimes painful problem, as well as ward off recurrences. My Baby Nursery is your one-stop baby product store.

What Is Diaper Rash?

Diaper rashes grow in warm, moist places. They’re particularly at home in your baby’s diaper. These rashes can look like red splotches on your baby’s bottom or red scales in the genital area.

Diaper rash can result from:

  • irritation by stool and urine
  • new foods or products
  • sensitive skin
  • a too-tight diaper

Symptoms

Diaper rash is characterised by the following:

Skin signs. 

Diaper rash is marked by red, tender-looking skin in the diaper region — buttocks, thighs and genitals.

Changes in your baby’s disposition. 

You may notice your baby seems more uncomfortable than usual, especially during diaper changes. A baby with a diaper rash often fusses or cries when the diaper area is washed or touched.

Types of Diaper Rash

Baby Tips

There are many different types of diaper rash, including:

  • Chafing (the most common type): Redness is often accompanied by tiny spots or bumps in high friction areas.
  • Yeast infections (aka candidal dermatitis): a bright red, tender rash that usually starts in the creases between the abdomen and thighs and spreads from there.
  • Cradle cap (aka seborrheic dermatitis): a deep red rash with yellow scales that appears on babies’ heads — but can also start in (or make its way down to) the diaper area.
  • Eczema (aka atopic dermatitis): dry, itchy, red patches, which tend to occur more on the face and scalp than the diaper area.
  • Impetigo: a secondary bacterial infection marked by large, puss-filled sores that break open and ooze yellowish fluid, then crust over.
  • Intertrigo: a raw rash that can pop up in skin folds and itch or ooze white or yellowish liquid.

Causes

Diaper rash can be traced to several sources, including:

Irritation from stool and urine. 

Prolonged exposure to urine or stool can irritate a baby’s sensitive skin

Your baby may be more prone to diaper rash if he or she is experiencing frequent bowel movements or diarrhea because feces are more irritating than urine.

Most rashes are triggered by prolonged exposure to dirty diapers. The enzymes in your baby’s poop can irritate her sensitive skin

Wetness (when is your baby not wet?) can also make those chubby cheeks more susceptible to diaper rash. 

I am chafing or rubbing. 

Tight-fitting diapers or clothing that rubs against the skin can lead to a rash. 

When your baby’s soft skin folds, chafes or rubs against each other or against the diaper itself, it can increase skin irritation and trigger a rash.

Irritation from a new product. 

Your baby’s skin may react to baby wipes, a new brand of disposable diapers, or a detergent, bleach or fabric softener used to launder cloth diapers. Other substances that can add to the problem include ingredients found in some baby lotions, powders and oils.

The ingredients in disposable diapers, wipes, bath products, baby lotions and laundry detergents can irritate a baby’s delicate skin and cause diaper rash.

Bacterial or yeast (fungal) infection.

What begins as a superficial skin infection may spread to the surrounding region. The area covered by a diaper — buttocks, thighs and genitals — is especially vulnerable because it’s warm and moist, making a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. These rashes can be found within the creases of the skin, and there may be red dots scattered around the creases.

Introduction of new foods. 

As babies start to eat solid foods, the content of their stool changes. This increases the likelihood of diaper rash. 

Changes in your baby’s diet can also increase the frequency of stools, which can lead to diaper rash. If your baby is breastfed, he or she may develop diaper rash in response to something the mother has eaten. 

A breastfed baby’s stool can change in consistency and frequency based on what Mom eats. You may notice the same happening when your baby starts eating solids and is exposed to more foods.

Sensitive skin. 

Babies with skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis (eczema), may be more likely to develop diaper rash. However, the irritated skin of atopic dermatitis and eczema primarily affects areas other than the diaper area.

Use of antibiotics. 

Antibiotics kill bacteria — the good kinds as well as the bad. When a baby takes antibiotics, bacteria that keep yeast growth in check may be depleted, resulting in diaper rash due to yeast infection. Antibiotic use also increases the risk of diarrhea. Breastfed babies whose mothers take antibiotics are also at increased risk of diaper rash.

Prevention

The best way to prevent diaper rash is to keep the diaper area clean and dry. A few simple strategies can help decrease the likelihood of diaper rash developing on your baby’s skin.

To keep your baby’s tender tush in tip-top shape, it’s best to take a preventive approach to diaper rash. Try these baby-tested strategies (which should also help heal any existing inflammation):

Change Your Baby’s Diaper Often. 

Replacing a peed- or pooped-in diaper with a clean, dry one plays a crucial role in preventing diaper rash. That’s because when skin stays damp for too long, it becomes more susceptible to rash-raising enzymes. 

Remove wet or dirty diapers promptly. If your child is in child care, ask staff members to do the same.

So even if your baby isn’t fussing for a change, change her anyway as soon as you know her diaper is wet or soiled. Change table for baby nursery have you stressing? Look no further, My Baby Nursery have you covered with our extensive range of baby change tables.

Try to give her a fresh diaper every one to two hours or so. And don’t forget to apply diaper cream!

Wash Your Hands Before and After. 

This helps avoid spreading any germs that may cause infections that lead to diaper rash.

Go Bare. 

Before you replace the diaper, give your baby’s bottom some bare air time. 

Cover the surface you choose to let her enjoy the breeze on with an absorbent pad or towel if she springs an unexpected leak. Aim to air out the area a few times a day for at least 10 minutes a pop. 

No time? Blow on her bottom or use a clean diaper to fan her dry.

Loosen Up.

Please leave a little breathing room in the diaper when it’s on. 

You want your baby’s diaper snug enough to prevent leaks but not so tight that it rubs and chafes. 

You can even go a size up for more space until the rash clears. If she’s in cloth diapers, use breathable diaper covers.

Dodge Irritants. 

Avoid perfumes and alcohols in soaps, scented baby wipes and other products that come in contact with your baby’s nether region. 

Prevent diaper rash by cleaning her bottom with cotton balls or a washcloth soaked in warm water instead of using wipes — at least during the newborn stage, when that tender skin is the most sensitive. 

Also, opt for a water-only approach or choose alcohol-free, unscented products if your little one seems particularly prone to rashes. Reach for the soap only when necessary.

Bathe Regularly. 

A bath daily or every other day with warm water and mild, fragrance-free soap can help keep the area free of irritants until the rash clears up. 

Just be careful you’re not bathing your baby too much, which can also irritate the skin. When in doubt, check with your pediatrician about how often to bathe your baby.

Change Diaper Brands or Types. 

Sometimes super absorbent disposables are so efficient at trapping moisture that they help trigger more rashes. 

Try experimenting with different types of diapers or switch to cloth to see if that helps prevent diaper rash. 

Cloth diapers are less absorbent, encouraging more frequent changes (a change for the better if it leads to fewer breakouts). But cloth diapers can also mean more diaper rashes (or more severe cases) for some babies, which is complicated because you can’t use many diaper rash creams with them. 

If that’s happening to your little one, changing the detergent you wash the diapers into one free of dyes, and other irritants might help, as could swapping out cloth for disposables, at least temporarily.

Rinse Your Baby’s Bottom With Warm Water as Part of Each Diaper Change. 

You can use a sink, tub or water bottle for this purpose. Moist washcloths, cotton balls and baby wipes can aid in cleaning the skin, but be gentle. Don’t use wipes with alcohol or fragrance. If you wish to use soap, select a mild, fragrance-free type.

Gently pat the skin dry with a clean towel or let it air dry. Don’t scrub your baby’s bottom. Scrubbing can further irritate the skin.

Don’t Over Tighten Diapers. 

Baby Tips

Tight diapers prevent airflow into the diaper region, which sets up a moist environment favourable to diaper rashes. Friendly diapers can also cause chafing at the waist or thighs.

Give Your Baby’s Bottom More Time Without a Diaper. 

When possible, let your baby go without a diaper. Exposing skin to air is a natural and gentle way to let it dry. To avoid messy accidents, try laying your baby on a large towel and engage in some playtime while he or she is bare-bottomed.

Consider Using Ointment Regularly. 

If your baby gets rashes often, apply a barrier ointment during each diaper change to prevent skin irritation. Petroleum jelly and zinc oxide are the time-proven ingredients in many diaper ointments.

After Changing Diapers, Wash Your Hands Well. 

Hand-washing can prevent bacteria or yeast from spreading to other parts of your baby’s body to you or other children.

In the past, it was common to use powders, such as cornstarch or talcum powder to protect a baby’s skin and absorb excess moisture. Doctors no longer recommend this. The inhaled powder can irritate a baby’s lungs.

Is Diaper Rash Cream a Good Idea?

Prevention is the best cure for diaper rash. Spreading a thick, protective layer of ointment or cream on the baby’s bottom after cleaning it at changing time can help prevent diaper rash or relieve an existing inflammation and avoid irritating it further.

There are two types: petroleum-based products (like plain old petroleum jelly) and those containing zinc oxide. 

Every baby’s bottom is different, so experiment to see which diaper rash cream works best for treating and preventing diaper rash on your little one. 

Before you spread the ointment or cream on the baby’s bottom, make sure her skin is dehydrated. Trapped moisture beneath the barrier cream can cause diaper rash more likely — or make a bad case of diaper rash worse.

Be sure to slather it on thickly, like icing, and gently. Don’t worry about obliterating it at each diaper change — rubbing and scrubbing are likely to damage your baby’s skin and make it more rash-prone. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends skipping over-the-counter ointments that contain an antibiotic since some ingredients in those products can worsen skin irritation. 

Other Diaper Rash Treatments

If diaper rash does develop, you may consider also trying alternative treatments to help clear it up, such as:

  • Witch hazel ointment
  • Breast milk
  • Aloe vera or calendula
  • Shampoo clay

While some people have found success with these types of alternative treatments, they’re not guaranteed to work. You may want to discuss them with your baby’s doctor before giving them a go.

What Does Diaper Rash Look Like?

I was wondering what diaper rash looks like on your little one’s tender skin? 

The telltale sign is a red, inflamed rash on your baby’s genitals, bottom or thighs. It may be mild, or it can cover a large portion of the diaper area. 

Sometimes, it can spread beyond the diaper region. It can lead to pimples, blisters or sores that may open up and start to ooze fluid or pus in worse cases. 

Your baby may express discomfort by fussing or crying when the area is washed or wiped during diaper changes.

Remember: When in doubt, confirm it with your pediatrician and don’t try to diagnose your baby at home.

Cloth or Disposable Diapers?

Many parents wonder about what kind of diapers to use. When it comes to preventing diaper rash, there’s no compelling evidence that cloth diapers are better than disposable diapers or vice versa.

Because there’s no one best diaper, use whatever works for you and your baby. If one brand of disposable diaper irritates your baby’s skin, try another; if the laundry soap you use on cloth diapers seems to cause a diaper rash, switch products.

Whether you use cloth diapers, disposables or both kinds, always change your baby as soon as possible after he or she wets or soils the diaper to keep the bottom as clean and dry as possible.

Washing Cloth Diapers

If you use cloth diapers, careful washing can help prevent diaper rash. Washing methods vary, and many routines work well. The key is to clean, disinfect and remove soap residue. Here’s one effective way:

  • Pre-soak heavily soiled cloth diapers in cold water.
  • Wash diapers in hot water with a mild detergent and bleach. Bleach kills germs. You could also add vinegar to the wash cycle to eliminate odours and rinse out soap residue.
  • Double rinse the diapers in cold water to remove traces of chemicals and soap.
  • Skip fabric softener and dryer sheets because they can contain fragrances that may irritate your baby’s skin.

Keep it Clean and Dry.

The most important way to prevent and treat a rash is to keep your baby’s diaper dry and clean. And make sure the diaper isn’t wrapped too tightly.

Whenever your baby isn’t wearing a diaper, lay them down on a towel. Also, give them some time without a diaper during the day. This may help keep the diaper area dry.

When you change your baby’s diaper, clean the area gently with a soft cloth or a squirt of water from a bottle. Wipes are delicate; just be gentle. Don’t rub the skin too hard, and avoid wipes with alcohol.

Use mild soap or a soap-free cleanser when you bathe your baby. Be sure to pat — not scrub — the area dry.

Diaper-Changing Tips

When your baby has a diaper rash, you must be vigilant about diaper changing. It’s best to change your baby’s diaper often, ideally as soon as it’s soiled.

Rinse cloth diapers two to three times to remove all soap after you’ve cleaned them, as some babies may be sensitive to detergents or their fragrances. Also, superabsorbent disposable diapers can help keep your baby’s skin dry.

When to See Your Child’s Pediatrician

Although diaper rashes can look painful and irritated, they don’t often bother your baby. The exception is when the inflammation becomes infected. If the rash looks infected, you should call your child’s pediatrician.

Symptoms of an infected diaper rash include:

  • blisters on the diaper area
  • fever
  • redness
  • swelling of the area
  • pus or discharge that drains from the diaper area
  • the rash will not go away after treatment or starts to worsen

Your baby’s rash can also develop into a secondary fungal or yeast infection called candidiasis. It appears bright red and raw.

It can sometimes be found in the creases of the skin with spots of the red rash outside of the diaper area on the abdomen or thighs. These are known as “satellite lesions.”

Check with your doctor or nurse for a diagnosis if you notice these symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe an antifungal cream if they think your baby has a fungal diaper rash. You might want to check out My Baby Nursery’s biggest range of the best baby clothing.

If your child becomes challenging to console or seems to be in pain related to their diaper rash, these are also signs to call the pediatrician.

 

Scroll to Top