Hi, I'm Joe from KitsToys.co.uk - a website I created to help new dads. When my baby arrived, I was a total newbie - I'd never dealt with babies before, never changed a nappy, never anything! It was like a whole new world.
Having a little human to look after is quite a responsibility. There is always the fear of something going badly wrong, in the back of your mind. Of course, it's unlikely. But all the more likely are the routine things that you have to deal with = stuff you can't ignore, but may not be sure how to deal with.
One of these things is nappy rash - I had heard the term plenty in my life. But what IS it? What causes it?
Nappy rash - what is it?
Nappy rash is a term that is often used as a sort of catch-all for any rash in the nappy area. Sweat rash, thrush, a reaction to something in your detergent.
However, nappy rash is most often caused by a reaction to the chemicals produced when urine and poo react and break down. The bacteria in the baby's poo cause the urine to break down into ammonia - which is caustic. This irritates baby's sensitive skin, causing redness and sores.
It can get pretty bad, even leaving open, weeping sores if left untreated. Hopefully, having read this article, you'll have the wherewithal to catch it early before it gets worse, and treat it accordingly!
How to treat nappy rash
As I mentioned above, nappy rash is caused by a combination of two factors - found in dirty nappies. That should give you a clue as to how to treat nappy rash in the first instance.
1 - Change frequently. This means don't allow baby to sit in a soiled diaper for too long. While nappy rash is healing, you may need to change every couple of hours or more regularly still.
2 - Wipe thoroughly. You can give a decent clean with only water, but you may need to use a mild soap or baby oil to remove soiling. Using water only will ensure that you don't further irritate the skin.
3 - Use a barrier cream. If the nappy rash doesn't improve (and a mild case will usually improve within a day or two) then you may need to use a barrier cream. This prevents the nasties in the diaper from reaching the skin so quickly. If you use cloth diapers, make sure to use a cloth diaper-safe cream.
This should be all you need for a mild case of diaper rash. But if it is severe (open sores is severe, for sure) then you should probably see your doctor. He may recommend a treatment or cream and may suggest anti-biotics if it is serious. Naturally, having open wounds in a nappy with frequent exposure to poo can lead to infection.
Another thing to bear in mind is the possibility that your baby may have thrush - thrush will probably present as a bright red rash and may not be confined to the nappy area. It will also be much more sore for baby, and they will no doubt let you know about it.
If you suspect thrush, you should see your doctor again - and any cloth diapers, muslin squares, night clothes and so on should be washed on a hot wash to destroy the fungus which causes the infection.
I hope this has answered any questions you may have about nappy rash - my post on the subject is here. You may also like to see this infographic I made which sums up all I have said quite neatly.