No parent likes to see their little one in pain and unfortunately, diaper rashes can cause your baby to cry, scratch and complain. Many conventional diaper rash creams offer little or no treatment, and can actually cause the rash to become worse, especially if they contain questionable ingredients that are inappropriate for baby skin. If there is broken skin, the diaper rash ointment can get under the skin and irritate it. It also masks the problem and leaves the bottom area still moist under the diaper. Instead, the rash should be taken care of in a natural manner that is safe for baby and gentle.
When you change the baby’s diaper, switch to using a moist (with water only) baby washcloth to cleanse your baby’s bottom instead of baby wipes, which often contain drying and irritating ingredients. If you’re on the run, you can carry some wet washcloths in a baggie. Look for washcloths made with unbleached, organic cotton, if possible. If this is too difficult, then at least look for hypoallergenic wipes that are unscented and that do not have preservatives and alcohols but that use essential oils and botanicals.
Prepare a bath with colloidal oatmeal. You can make your own oatmeal bath by grinding oats finely in the blender or Vita-Mix and then putting them in the bath either straight up or in a muslin tea bag (less mess). You can also find products at the health food store that contain colloidal oatmeal that helps reduce the inflammation and itchiness of the rash. Make sure the bath is nice and warm, but not too hot. Let your baby play in the water about 10-15 minutes.
In the bath, be sure to only use unscented products with no perfumes or dyes. You want to be gentle with baby’s skin and only use products that won’t irritate the skin with fragrances and dyes. When the bath is done, rinse your baby off with warm water and pat dry carefully.
After the bath, and after each diaper change until the rash has healed, allow your baby to be naked for as long as possible. This allows the rash to be exposed to air and begin the healing process, naturally. When the diaper is on, it only blocks bacteria and moisture back into the skin, which doesn’t allow the skin to breathe.
During this “naked time” you can do several things. You can either leave your baby naked, or if you are afraid of him or her peeing on furniture, you can use a clean, cotton cloth to create your own diaper, the way diapers used to be put on. Or if you happen to have reusable cotton diapers, use one of those instead. At the end of the naked time, apply a diaper rash cream made from botanical ingredients. Put on the diaper loosely and check often to see if they need to be changed.
Depending on the severeness of the rash, you should see a visible improvement within one to three days time. If you are concerned the diaper rash has worsened or is not diaper rash at all, be sure to call the baby’s health care provider to see what steps must be taken next.
If the diaper rash is constantly reoccurring, consider switching to chlorine-free, fragrance-free and hypoallergenic diapers instead, or cloth diapers. Incidentally cloth diapered babies get fewer episodes of diaper rash in the first place. If you’re already using cloth, try removing the waterproof cover for as long as possible and simply letting baby wear a pinned on prefold for maximum air circulation.
Carrie Lauth is a homeschooling mom of 4 and the host of Natural Moms Talk Radio http://www.NaturalMomsTalkRadio.com/blog a free weekly internet talk radio show and podcast for families doing things the natural way. For more free tips on raising a baby naturally, visit Natural Baby.
Photo. Polina Tankilevitch