is nappy rash?
Nappy rash can mean anything from slight redness
on your baby's bottom to a full-scale outbreak of very sore and infected blisters.
The blisters can break to leave areas of moist skin, which may become infected.
The most common infection is a yeast infection called thrush, which causes the
skin to become red and raw.
Blisters and pimples may form on other parts of
the babys body when they have nappy rash. If the nappy rash lasts for
more than a few days the skin is likely to be infected. The rash may be worse
where the baby's skin creases.
causes nappy rash?
Even the best cared-for babies can develop nappy
rash at some stage or other, so don't feel that you are a totally inadequate
parent if your baby happens to fall victim! The root cause of the problem is
the exposure of your baby's bottom to damp conditions such as urine and faeces,
where bacteria can set in and cause an infection.
Sometimes the constant friction of the nappy against
baby's sensitive skin can be enough to cause nappy rash and, for parents who
use terry towelling nappies, traces of detergent left in these nappies can lead
to nappy rash. Some children may suffer from eczema or psoriasis, which may
be irritated further by wearing a nappy.
Given that babies' bottoms spend an average of
two, or more years, encased in nappies it is no wonder that nappy rash is such
a common problem. Since newborn skin is very sensitive, great care should be
taken to keep baby as clean, dry and comfortable as possible at all times, but
especially in the first six months of life.
nappy rash be prevented?
Almost every baby suffers from a mild form of nappy
rash at some stage, but to prevent more severe outbreaks, it is of the utmost
importance to observe a strict code of hygiene when changing baby.
For parents who use terry towelling nappies, great
care should be taken in sterilising and rinsing them, making sure that all traces
of detergent are removed from the nappies in the rinsing process. Discretion
in the use of plastic pants is also advised as they tend to trap moisture and
can set up the warm, moist conditions in which bacteria thrive.
During the first six months of life, your baby's
bottom should be kept as dry as possible, with frequent nappy changing. If possible,
baby should be left for short periods throughout the day to kick and play around
without a nappy. Babies just relish the freedom of this, but do make sure to
leave the nappy just under your baby and to ensure that the room is warm and
At every nappy change (even when the nappy is just
wet), make sure to wash baby's bottom with a soft flannel and warm water, or
with a baby wipe and coat the entire area with a silicone-based barrier cream
before putting on a clean nappy. It goes without saying that baby should never
be left in a soiled nappy.
nappy rash does develop, what then?
If your baby does develop nappy rash, despite your
best efforts to prevent it, leave them lying on, rather than in, the nappy for
as much of the day as possible. If there are actual sores or little yellow spots
present, it might be a good idea to consult your GP and let them have a look
at your baby in order to prevent a more severe infection.
Make sure to change your baby the moment they are
wet or soiled and clean the infected area with Vaseline or oil, rather than
water or soap. Do not use any protective creams on the bottom until the rash
has disappeared. While silicone-based creams are excellent for preventing nappy
rash, they will not cure it once it is present. In fact, the only purpose these
creams serve during an outbreak of nappy rash is to keep air off the skin. A
baby with nappy rash is bound to be cranky and irritable, so patience is called
do I protect my baby's bottom?
Babies should be allowed to play and kick around
at some stage every day with no nappy. This advice would be much more practical
if we lived in a Mediterranean climate, as sadly there are far too few opportunities
in Ireland for babies to get some sunlight on their bottoms!
Having said that, it must be remembered that your
baby's bottom is not accustomed to sunlight, so if you do take them outdoors
on a sunny day without a nappy, remember to put on an old pair of cotton underpants
to protect that delicate skin from the sun.
For older babies, it is a good idea to get into
the habit of using a silicone-based cream at every nappy change. This will prevent
urine from coming into contact with the delicate skin on the bottom and acts
as a barrier against other forms of bacteria as well.
By the time your baby reaches six to seven months,
they will probably be sleeping for eight to 12 hours every night without a nappy
change, so it is important to protect their bottom from nappy rash.
There are many good-quality disposable nappies
on the Irish market which are especially designed for night-time wear. While
they may be a bit more expensive, they are certainly well worth the investment,
as a sore bottom can end up being much more expensive in the long-run, especially
if it warrants a visit to your GP.
Try to buy nappies which have a one-way layer next
to the baby's skin and a built-in plastic backing. Try not to buy nappies which
have elasticated legs as these can prevent air from circulating around your
baby's bottom at night, allowing it to get sore.
For parents who use a combination of terry towelling
nappies and plastic pants, the best type of plastic pants to use at night are
tie-on pants. While these will not keep your baby and their cot perfectly dry,
they will greatly lessen the risk of the baby developing a bad case of nappy
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