Nothing is sadder about seeing a baby suffer through a painful diaper rash than the knowledge that it could have been prevented. Careful diapering practices and infant hygiene can help prevent diaper rashes before they start and keep your baby healthy and happy.
Frequent Diaper Changes
The most effective method for preventing diaper rashes is to change your infant’s diaper every time it is wet or soiled, or every 2 hours. Diaper rashes often occur when an infant stays in a dirty diaper long enough for the acid in the diaper to start to break down the surface of the skin. Frequent diaper changes will help keep your baby’s skin clean and dry.
Let Your Infant Air Dry
After each diaper change, allow your baby to air dry before placing a new diaper on him. Placing a diaper over wet skin can break down your infant’s skin and provide a moist environment for bacteria to grow. Baby boys are notorious for peeing as soon as the diaper comes off. If you are concerned, place a clean diaper (cloth or disposable) lightly over your baby. Your baby’s skin will still be able to air dry but nothing will be directly in the line of fire.
Soak in the Tub
Bathing is a wonderful prevention technique for all kinds of skin conditions, including preventing diaper rash. Use only a small amount of gentle, fragrance free soap in your baby’s bath water and be sure and allow your baby’s skin dry completely before diapering.
Protect Sensitive Skin
If your baby is prone to diaper rash or he looks like he may be starting to get a diaper rash, protect his sensitive skin by creating a protective barrier between his skin and the moisture in the diaper. After cleaning your infant and letting him air dry completely, use a thin layer of plain Vaseline or original Desitin (the creamy Desitin is diluted and does not work as well). You can do this at every diaper change if you need to, but it is often only necessary for a day or so until your infant’s skin appears healthy.
Some babies have very sensitive skin that is irritated by the soap in the wipes that you use or the detergent used to wash cloth diapers. If your baby suffers from frequent diaper rashes that do not seem to respond to normal preventative measures, you may try changing the brand of wipes, diapers, or laundry soap that you use.