Mother and Baby

Nappy rash? How to keep your baby's bottom soft

Nappy rash? How to keep your baby's bottom soft

Keep your baby’s bum as soft and peachy as it should be, says Dr Tabi Leslie, with our advice on how to banish nappy rash. 

There are many reasons why nappy rash appears, and plenty of simple ways to treat it too, in addition to just nappy rash cream. 

Nappy rash is a very common skin condition for babies of all ages, and it can quickly make the skin red and inflamed.

You might notice small raised bumps or areas that look swollen, and the skin might peel, or even become a bit scaly.

This can obviously be uncomfortable for your baby, which is why it’s good to catch it at the first sign of irritation, and treat it as soon as possible.

Clean your baby’s bottom carefully

A common cause of nappy rash is exposure to wee or poo in your baby’s nappy, and it’s the reaction between these two that’s to blame for the redness and irritation.

A wet nappy in itself doesn’t pose a great risk of nappy rash developing, but when the bacteria in the poo react with the wee, it produces ammonia, which irritates the skin.

With skin that’s become more sensitive, even normally harmless chemicals can cause a reaction.

If your baby’s nappy rash coincides with a change in nappy brand or wipes, then this might be the cause. Even a tiny difference can have a big effect, and all babies’ skin is different, so what spells trouble for a youngster with sensitive skin might not bother another in the slightest.

When your baby is teething, as she cuts a tooth, she’ll dribble more, so she’s likely to swallow a lot more saliva than normal.

As this passes through her stomach, extra stomach acid is produced and her poos will become runnier and more likely to cause a reaction.

The same applies with a cold – although lots of it ends up on her face, mucus also travels down into her stomach, upsetting her system, and antibiotics can do the same. 

Soothe and protect your baby’s bottom

After a nappy change or a bath, once her skin is clean and thoroughly dry, moisturise it with a nappy rash cream.

It’s important that you only apply cream to clean, dry skin, or you’ll trap moisture and irritants next to it, which will make the rash worse. Some creams might work better for your baby than others, so try a few to see what suits her best. 

As well as calming the skin, the cream forms a protective layer between it and the wee and poo, giving it a chance to heal.

While it might be tempting to smother her skin in cream, a thin layer across the affected area is best. 

Do all this, and your baby’s nappy rash should clear up in three to four days.

If it looks like it’s getting worse, or seems unchanged, check with your health visitor or see your GP.

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