Weeks 11 – 16
Opening up a soiled diaper and seeing a red, sometimes-blistering rash can be quite alarming, but up to 35 percent of babies will experience some form of a diaper rash. There are several reasons why you might start noticing it more often:
- Your baby’s bottom is cooped up in a moist, soiled diaper, and you might be less diligent about immediately changing the diaper now that he or she is having fewer bowel movements.
- If using disposable diapers, the chemicals could be irritating your baby’s delicate skin. The good news is that alternative diapers have never been easier to use and could actually save you some money in the long run.
- An infection (especially after antibiotics) can lead to a build up of bacteria or yeast. If a baby has thrush in his or her mouth, there’s a chance that the yeast could be digested and continue to grow in the moist diaper.
- Perhaps your baby has a pH imbalance in his or her stools or urine with too much ammonia.
- Your baby just might have sensitive skin, no matter how diligently you change soiled diapers.
- You might notice more diaper rash as your baby is introduced to solids over the next few months.
There are different varieties of diaper rash, and the severity is usually pretty apparent. The typical red skin that comes and goes is generally tolerable and can easily be treated with a little diaper rash cream. At the other end of the spectrum, some babies develop blistering, crusty and even oozing rashes, often found in the folds of their skin and possibly spread up to the abdomen.
The best way to treat a diaper rash is to prevent it from happening in the first place, which might not always be possible. The most effective measure is to change the baby’s diaper often – even in the middle of the night. If he or she has persistent diaper rashes, try the following suggestions:
- Thoroughly clean the genitals after each changing, and make sure the diaper area is completely dry before putting on a diaper. Try different wipes, especially ones without alcohol, or just wash the area with warm water, gentle soap and cotton balls. (If your baby currently has a rash, avoid wipes altogether.)
- Let your baby’s bottom breathe. Take off the diaper from time to time, and also dress him or her in loose clothing to let more air circulate. (This means nixing the plastic pants.) For painful rashes, try letting him or her sleep without a diaper – but make sure to protect the mattress first.
- Take preventative measures by applying a thin layer of diaper rash ointment after every changing. Make sure the skin is dry; otherwise you’ll just be trapping in more moisture.
- Switch to a different type of diaper. If you use disposables, try switching to a different brand (preferably one that uses more natural materials) or trying hybrid or cloth options. If using cloth, see if a disposable diaper improves his or her condition.
Check in with a doctor if a rash doesn’t clear up in a couple of days or if you see oozing, blistering sores. In very rare cases, a pediatric dermatologist might be needed.
Cloth and Hybrid Diapers
Older generations of moms might scoff at the idea of using cloth diapers because, back in the day, the safety-pin closured material was messy and difficult. Why not take advantage of the disposable’s convenience? Yet more and more modern moms are growing weary of the chemical-littered materials and monumental landfill contribution that comes along with disposable diapers. And while it’s still easier to pick up a package of Pampers, there are a slew of new, convenient options for those looking for an eco-friendly and safe alternative. It might be trial-and-error in finding the brand and style that best fits your baby and lifestyle, so see if the company offers smaller trial packs before you make such an investment.
- All-in-one diapers are one of the easiest options for parents new to cloth diapers because they wear very similarly to a disposable. A major advantage of one-size diapers is that they grow from infancy to potty training, making them one of the most economical while still being easy to use. (We like GroVia and bumGenius.)
- For those looking for the simplest option, try all-in-one diapers, which don’t require any stuffing or lengthy assembly process. Use it as you would a disposable, except that you can throw it in the wash instead of the trash. (The aforementioned GroVia is a great example.)
- Yet some mothers swear that the inserts in pocket diapers (found in bumGenius and Fuzzi Bunz) are more absorbent.
- Another option is the fitted diaper, available in a variety of breathable fabrics. Although fitted diapers need an additional diaper cover, this the best option for babies prone to diaper rash. Kissaluvs, Mother-ease and Thirsties make fitted diapers.)
- Prefold diapers are hands-down the most economical, but also the most time consuming. A throwback to traditional cloth diapers, prefolds are pieces of cloth that have been folded and sewn for extra absorbency, and require some type of closure or diaper cover. Although some might feel that they’re a bit traditional, they’ve been tried and tested with loyal users continuously singing its praises. It might be difficult to exclusively use prefolds, but they’re an absorbent, affordable, multi-functioning option to have on hand. Instead of spending upwards to $1,000 to get started on a cloth diapering system, most prefolds will cost no more than $200 from birth to potty training. And if you don’t like them? Use them as burp cloths, bibs or cleaning rags. (For the most traditional on the market, flats are made of single-layer material that you have to fold and pin.)
More cloth diapering companies are coming out with hybrid systems, providing the convenience of a disposable but with the eco-friendly nature of cloth. Sometimes the piles of laundry or a bout of diarrhea make cloth diapers extremely unappealing, so a number of companies (namely gDiapers, GroVia and Flip System) are now offering flushable, compostable and biodegradable inserts that are free of harsh chemicals or plastic. The inserts are made to fit into reusable diaper covers that also accommodate cloth inserts. According to gDiapers, biodegradable inserts break down in 50 to 150 days, while disposable diapers sit in landfills for 500 years. You just can’t ignore facts like that.