We’ve all been through it: You’re changing your baby when you see that his diaper area looks irritated and angry red. Oh, no—it’s diaper rash!
As a parent, your heart sinks when you see your little one in pain. And of course, diaper rash can be a serious source of discomfort for babies, whether it’s just a few small red bumps or a widespread, hot-to-the-touch rash.
Before you panic, remember: it happens. Diaper rash doesn’t mean you neglected your baby, so don’t be hard on yourself. Luckily, there are some all-natural remedies to treat diaper rash at home that can ease the pain and get your baby’s bottom back to normal.
What Causes Diaper Rash
As a new parent, diaper rashes come with the territory and can pop up for any number of reasons, from sensitivity to a new food to a bacterial infection to an allergic reaction.
Most commonly, though, they’re caused by a perfect storm of wetness and friction. Think of it this way: when skin stays wet for too long, it starts to break down. Then the diaper rubs against skin, irritating it even more. And voila, you have the makings of a tender, swollen diaper rash.
Sadly, diaper rashes are a fact of life as long as your child is in diapers, but they’re more common during the first year of life when that beautiful new baby skin is most sensitive.
How to Treat Diaper Rash
Until your child is potty-trained, you’ll go through a lot of diapers—we mean, a lot. The average baby uses about six to 10 diapers a day, which is 2,000 to 3,000 diaper changes a year!
With all of those changes, you’ll become quite the diapering pro, and you’ll want to arm yourself with the best tools to prevent (and treat) diaper rash. And, as important as it is to use gentle, natural products on baby’s skin every day, it’s even more vital when skin is irritated.
The last thing your baby’s tender skin needs right now is more harsh friction. Rubbing baby’s sore skin with conventional baby wipes—which often contain alcohol or chemical fragrances—can make a rash even angrier. Instead, as part of each change, cleanse baby’s bottom with a naturally-based wash like California Baby Non-Burning & Calming Diaper Area Wash. Rinse and pat dry—gently.
One of the methods that’s worked time and time again for us is to let baby go bare-bottomed for as long as you can. Exposing the area to air helps dry it out and you’ll see raised bumps start to go down in an hour or two. If you’re nervous about your little one peeing (or worse!) sans diaper, cover him loosely with a hand towel or cloth diaper, which will keep your rugs protected while still allowing for air flow.
Choose the right diaper rash cream
Many diaper rash creams are made with petroleum-derived mineral oil, which has come under fire in recent years for potentially being harmful or even toxic. Instead, choose a cream without mineral oil to soothe baby’s skin and create a moisture barrier like our lanolin-based Diaper Rash Cream.
Skip the talcum powder
Back in the day, parents relied on talc to keep baby’s bottom dry. It was so popular that the famous baby powder scent became synonymous with “New Baby Smell”! But pediatricians now recommend ditching talc, since the inhaled dust can be harmful to a child’s lungs. Instead, choose a totally safe, all-natural cornstarch-based powder, like our California Baby® Non-Talc Powder, to help keep the diaper area dry and cool.
One word of caution: In very rare instances, a diaper rash can become infected. If you notice signs of infection like blisters, oozing yellow patches or open sores, call your doctor. But in most cases, that awful, tender rash will start to disappear within a few days just using simple home remedies and your little one’s bottom will be back to beautiful baby skin in no time!