Newborns and babies have much thinner, softer and more sensitive skin than adults human. It is fragile and, due to its higher pH, is not protected from aggressive external stimuli. For these reasons, the skin is constantly exposed to heat, moisture, bacteria and acids when the baby sweats, urinates and defecates.
It’s no secret that nappies have made modern parents’ lives a lot easier by removing the need to wash and iron a mountain of nappies. But nappies are not always “friendly” to babies’ skin. Unfortunately, every nappy-wearing baby can experience an unpleasant rash. Although this is quite common, it should not be ignored. Nappy rash can cause considerable discomfort for your little one. It is therefore very important to try to avoid it as much as possible, and to treat it quickly if it occurs.
What are the main symptoms of nappy rash?
Nappy rash can manifest itself differently in each child. But it is easy to recognise:
- baby’s delicate skin becomes red and irritated,
- feels hotter than usual when touched.
A nappy rash can be quite small – just a few pimples and faint redness in a small area of the nappy. However, there may also be bright rashes that spread over the baby’s bottom, groin and genitals.
If not treated in time, the reddened area may develop sores and blisters, which then rupture, and the disease-causing bacteria that get on the irritated and damaged skin can cause infections and complications.
Proven methods to treat nappy rash
- If possible, you should give up nappies altogether for a while. But if that’s not possible, try to change them as often as possible without letting your skin stay wet for too long.
- Let your baby’s skin breathe – leave your baby out of nappies for at least a short time each day.
- After your baby has had a nap, wipe his bottom thoroughly and dry it before putting on the nappy.
- Apply a thin layer of ointment containing zinc oxide (or one of the medications recommended by doctors). This will prevent urine from reaching irritated skin.
- If the above doesn’t work, try a different brand of nappy or other detergent (if your baby is wearing cloth nappies).
- Contact your doctor immediately if the rash persists for a few days, or if you notice blisters or puss-like lumps.
How nappy rash can be prevented
According to experts, rashes on a baby’s skin can occur for many reasons:
- when your baby is introduced to a new food;
- not changing full nappies for too long;
- the chemical composition of nappies – flavourings, etc.
- cream or powder used for baby’s bottom skin;
- The baby’s skin is warm and moist when covered by nappies, which creates a favourable environment for bacteria to grow.
Although nappy rash is a really unpleasant problem, it can be avoided by following these simple rules:
- Make sure your baby’s bottom is always clean and dry after changing nappies;
- Before changing nappies, wash the bottom thoroughly under running water and dry it gently without rubbing the skin;
- Use a special baby cream or oil to nourish the skin and protect against inflammation and rashes;
- let your baby’s skin breathe as often as possible, at least for a few minutes without nappies.