Between the heat, sweat, swimming, and splashing, summer is prime time for serious diaper rash and we have had it BAD this season. When my 16-month daughter mysteriously wakes up screaming, it’s so heartbreaking when I go to change her diaper and see her red, raw little bottom.
Fortunately, after an on-and-off battle over the past few months, I’ve learned some great strategies for both comforting my little lady and getting the rash under control quickly. Here are my tried-and-true tips for soothing your little one when diaper rash is at its worst:
- Start with a bath. While this may seem counter-intuitive since moisture is often the culprit that started the rash, giving your baby a bath helps soothe their skin and distract them from the pain – IF you get the temperature right. Be sure to go quite a bit cooler than you normally would because their skin is obviously overly sensitive. Adding a few shakes of baking soda will help neutralize the acids that may have contributed to the rash.
- Stay at home. When my little one wakes up with a bad rash, I clear our social calendar and plan to stay home for the majority of the day so she can go diaper-free whenever possible. Car seats, heat, and tight clothing can all aggravate a burning bottom. Not to mention if your little one is anything like mine, she is sure to be in a DOOZY of a mood and I’d much rather deal with that at home than at the park or the library.
- Soft, softer, softest. While at home, I cover the floor with the softest blankets I can find and let her crawl around and play with no diaper. When she needs to eat, I put a soft blanket or towel in the highchair and let her sit commando there, too. If she needs comforting, I put the blanket in my lap and snuggle her – often until she falls asleep, at which point she inevitably pees. But as a seasoned mom of three, I know a little pee never hurt anyone.
- Make homemade diaper wipes. I am not a Pinterest type gal but this is a homemade remedy even I can handle. You should never use regular diaper wipes on an inflamed bottom – the alcohol is like torture for them. My doctor recommended we use slightly damp (SOFT) paper towels. I typically cut a bunch of paper towels in half, put them in a Tupperware container with a lid and sprinkle with a small amount of water. Use these when diaper rash is bad and for at least 3-4 days after it clears up to avoid relapse.
- Keep it dry. Aside from bath time, moisture is the enemy. Pat their bottom dry with a tissue or dry washcloth after every bath and diaper change and then be sure to let them air-dry for a few extra minutes before you put a diaper back on.
- Get loose. I’ve often found that when my daughter is struggling with recurring diaper rash, it’s time to move up to the next size diaper. In fact, we had it so bad this year, we let her use my 3-year-old’s overnight diapers all day and night. We tightened them around the waist, but the extra breathing room around her bottom really helped her rash clear up more quickly.
- Prevent bedtime blues. When diaper rash is at its worst, overnight is the hardest time to keep them comfortable. This is why you need the best overnight diaper rash protection. I've always been a huge Aquaphor fan, but I recently found they have a new product for more severe rash – Aquaphor Baby Fast Relief Diaper Rash Paste. It literally takes just ONE application before bed to relieve the discomfort and you will be able to see a difference by morning. Happy bottom = happy sleep, so needless to say, I am an instant fan.
Diaper rash can be tough to manage. While these tips have really worked for me and my family, all babies are different. If you struggle with recurrent diaper rash, you may want to check with your pediatrician. Your little one may have a bacterial or fungal infection that requires treatment. Regardless, bad diaper rash days are prime for good snuggle time. When diaper rash strikes, take the opportunity to slow down, sit around, and cuddle your little one – they’ll be out of diapers before you know it.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.