Consult your doctor, not the internet. If you Google, the results will terrify you (because of course, the first result is never “this is a perfectly common rash that will clear up on its own”). If you go to a Facebook board, the answers will range far and wide, with every mom swearing by a completely different remedy. If your baby has a challenging rash that just won’t go away, or a particularly bad rash, or even just a rash that causes you to worry, then talk to your pediatrician! They’ve seen it all before and will have a better idea of how to treat it. That’s not to say that your mommy friends won’t have some great natural remedies for minor diaper rash; it’s just to say that your pediatrician is probably a safer source of information for any major health problem.
If you need to use heavy-duty rash cream, use a barrier. This might mean purchasing a roll of liners, using Viva paper towels (they’re strong, absorbent, and do a great job as a barrier). Personally, I prefer cutting up fleece and using it as my barrier, and so far, it’s worked fine. However, heavy-duty rash cream is designed to create a liquid-proof barrier—so you don’t want it to end up on your diapers. If it does in spite of your best efforts, scrub the diaper down with Dawn and a toothbrush. Most of the time, that will take care of it.
Also, keep in mind what diaper you’re putting on your child if you’re going to be using rash cream. Flats are cheap, flour sack towels under a dollar, and if something happens and you can’t get it to start absorbing again, you won’t be out much. On the other hand, putting your baby in your favorite custom work-at-home mom diaper and hoping that the paper towel you’ve got in there will be enough to keep the rash cream off of it might not be your best bet.
Air time, air time, air time. Rashes need to be dry to heal. If you’ve got a crawler or a walker on your hands, the idea of letting your child go diaperless might terrify you. Try taking a minute to play with your naked baby while you’re changing their diaper—at least long enough to make sure that their tiny bum is completely dry—or wiping them down with a dry wipe before putting a new diaper back on. Also, if you can’t get in naked bum time, fitted diapers allow for a lot more airflow—just be prepared to change much more often depending on how frequently your baby wets. A prefold pinned into place can also be effective, but don’t let baby run around in a snappi’d or boingo-d prefold or flat without a cover—those things are sharp!
Change frequently. Rashes need to be dry to start to heal, right? So you don’t want your baby sitting in a wet diaper any longer than they have to. If this is a challenge for you, try changing whenever you move to a new activity—before nap, after nap; before feeding, after feeding; before leaving the house, after arriving at your destination; and so on. The great thing about cloth diapers is that it doesn’t cost you anything extra to change more often, and it may be the difference between a rash that clears up in a couple of days and a rash that sticks around for a while.
Don’t be afraid of disposables. Sometimes, what you really need is a good, healthy coating of non-cloth-diaper-safe rash cream and a disposable diaper. Flip and GroVia both make some great disposable inserts—and the best thing about them is, they don’t come sized. That means that if you use half a dozen of them now and don’t pick them up again for a year, they’re still going to fit just fine, instead of being something that you have to throw away or repurpose. No need to guess about size, either (which can be a serious concern for cloth diapering moms—talk about one that disposable diapering moms don’t understand!), because they’re designed to fit any baby, and you can always double up for added absorbency if needed. It’s not “failing” if you need to use a few disposables; it’s just taking care of your baby.
With any luck, your baby will be one of those who breezes through their diapering years without a major rash problem; but if they aren’t, well…at least there are ways to get through it!
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