Nappy rash is a common age-old problem – in spite of a mother’s best efforts to prevent it, almost all children who wear nappies, whether cotton or disposable, get nappy rash at some point. It happens most commonly in babies aged between nine and 12 months, and a cranky baby with a sore bottom is not exactly the cutest!
The main cause of nappy rash is wearing a soiled nappy for too long. Prolonged contact with urine or stools, friction against the nappy or diaper, even laundry detergent residue on cloth nappies can cause baby’s skin to become sensitive. Your baby’s outer layer skin is 20 to 30 per cent thinner than an adult’s as its protective skin barrier is yet to be fully developed. As a result, your baby’s skin also loses moisture more quickly.
Here are a few simple measures you can take to give baby some relief from nappy rash or to help prevent it.
- Change baby’s nappy frequently
Check every hour or so to see if the nappy needs to be changed. Change wet or soiled nappies straight away to keep baby dry. If your baby already has a nappy rash, this will help her skin to heal better, too.
- Clean with mild soap
Wash baby’s nappy area with lukewarm water (not hot water) and mild soap and rinse skin thorough. Be sure to gently dry the area with a soft, clean towel. If you are using disposable wipes, choose alcohol- and fragrance-free ones.
- “Air” baby’s bottom
Let your baby’s skin get some air every day. Give disposable diapers a break and have baby lie down on an open cloth nappy or towel while she naps.
- Rinse cloth nappies thoroughly
Use a gentle nappy wash and rinse nappies thoroughly after washing to prevent detergent build-up on the cloth. Also, allow nappies to dry properly before put them on baby again.
- Apply a protective ointment after each nappy change
Use a product that provides a barrier on the skin, such as Metanium Everyday Barrier Ointment or Everyday Easy Spray Barrier Lotion. These products contain titanium dioxide as the main ingredient to provide a strong physical barrier while white soft paraffin and light liquid paraffin help skin retain moisture from within. In addition, dimeticone repels water-soluble irritants such as urea and faeces so baby’s skin is spared from direct contact with them, thus helping to prevent irritation.