The Ultimate Guide to Preventing and Treating Diaper Rash

The Ultimate Guide to Preventing and Treating Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is a very common phenomenon in diaper-wearing babies.

I always swore my son would never fall victim to it, because I’d always be on top of his dirty diapers and would change them in a beyond timely matter!

Little did I know, it’s not that simple.

And, even the best, most on-top-of-it moms end up with a baby with a sore tooshie from time to time.

So, here is the ultimate guide to preventing and treating diaper rash, so you can deal with it less frequently, and know what to do if and when it does happen!

What is Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash is something that can visibly be seen on your baby’s bottom.

It’s red or sometimes pink, it forms in patches, and is visibly inflamed as it spreads across the cheeks in a line formation (or anywhere that gets moist in a diaper and is subject to friction).

How Does a Baby Get Diaper Rash?

Your baby will develop diaper rash from one of the following:

  • Exposure to a dirty diaper for too long of a period
  • Chafing and friction from the diaper
  • An infection (like yeast or bacteria)
  • An allergy (reaction to the diaper itself, wipes, or ointment)

My Baby Has a Rash, Now What?

If your baby develops diaper rash, there’s no need to panic.

It’s important to treat it right away before it gets worse.

The most important thing to do is keep the area dry before putting on a new diaper. This locks in moisture and only worsens the rash.

Follow these steps when dealing with a sore bottom:

Wash your hands before handling the area. The skin is already very tender and susceptible to germs and other bacteria.

When cleaning the area, always pat the rash and around, never rub it. This could be very painful, cause bleeding, and make the rash spread even more.

Thoroughly pat dry the cleansed bottom.

Spread a thick layer of diaper rash creme, so that is fully covers the rash and the surrounding area.

Apply a new diaper.

For rashes that are very painful, large, and irritated, you may want to skip baby wipes (even sensitive formulas).

You can clean with just warm water and a wash cloth.

You could also let the rash breathe a bit by letting your little one go without a diaper for 15 minutes or so.

While diaper rash is simple to combat, it could take some time to clear it up. In some cases, you may need to take a trip to the doctor and get it checked out to ensure infection hasn’t set in.

The key to combating diaper rash, is prevention.

How You Can Prevent Diaper Rash

Besides regular changings, you should be sure to apply a rash cream after every single diaper change.

This helps cut down on friction and it serves a barrier from wetness.

Be sure to keep rash cream at every diaper changing station in your home, at your caregiver’s if you work, and also in your diaper bag.

This way, there is never an excuse not to apply it when it’s readily available.

Also, some situations bring out diaper rash more prevalently.

If your baby is between nine months and a year (mainly due to teething), if they have slept in a dirty diaper, are battling diarrhea, eating solid foods, or taking antibiotics, they are more likely to get a rash.

So, be vigilant!

Which Cream Should I Use?

There are a number of brands, creams, and even sprays on the market today.

Some are more effective than others, and sometimes it just come down to a mom’s personal preference.

The most coveted creams contain active ingredients like zinc oxide, calendula (for eco-chic, organic moms), aloe, and jojoba oil.

How to Choose the Best Diaper Rash Creams

Not all diaper rash creams are equal! Check out our guide to choosing the best cream for your little one!

Also, some creams are longer lasting than others. Some provide relief for up to twelve hours, while others are good for six. 

Check out our guide above to choosing the best diaper rash creams.

When to See the Doctor...

As mentioned above, there are a lot of things you can do to prevent and treat diaper rash.

But, sometimes, you need additional medical intervention.

Here are a few signs and symptoms to be aware of so you know when to make an appointment with the pediatrician:

  • If treatment has been unsuccessful after 5 days
  • If the rash spreads to other parts of the body such as the tummy, neck, face or arms
  • If you notice other skin deficiencies like blisters, pimples, bumps or sores
  • If your baby develops a fever

Some Additional Tips

Here are a few additional tips to consider when it comes to diaper rash:

  • If using water and a cloth to cleanse the area (instead of a baby wipe), be sure to use a fresh one each time
  • Try a different diaper brand if you’re religiously using prevention cream and your little one still falls victim to a rash
  • Try a different diaper size (bigger) if your little one is constantly red and sore
  • Make sure you wipe well enough! There should be zero residue left behind on your baby’s bottom
  • Never reuse a diaper, or wait to change your baby if they are just “slightly wet.
  • Ask your caregiver or child care facility to keep a diapering log. This helps ensure they are changed frequently enough
  • Try to always use hypoallergenic wipes and detergent if you’re using cloth diapers
  • Play around with your diaper rash creams. Some will work better for your baby than others
  • Know the difference between a rash and a yeast infection. A yeast infection has small, white lesions and even a pimple like pattern. This requires immediate medical attention and a different form of treatment
  • Blisters and bleeding can signal infection
  • If you’re breastfeeding and taking an antibiotic, your baby could suffer from diaper rash as a result
  • Start your baby on a probiotic as soon as your doctor gives the go ahead to help regulate bowel movements and cut down on diarrhea. Less diarrhea means less diaper rash bouts
  • You may wish to invest in disposable gloves when applying the creams to cut down on the possibility of exposing your baby’s raw skin to anything harmful. Plus, it protects your own hands and skin, and keeps your fingers free from any kind of fish fragrance, which can be common with diaper rash creams

Chances are, your doctor will want to do some investigating, may issue you an antibiotic of sorts, or order further testing to determine if there’s an underlying illness.

So, never wait out a rash for more than five days.

Wrapping Up

Let's face it: diaper rash stinks.

But, it happens.

It can be very frustrating for both mommy and baby, and the only thing you can do as a parent is remain knowledgeable about it, be prepared, positive, and patient for it’s demise.

Keep this guide close by and consider the tips and tricks mentioned above to help keep your baby (and their bottom) happy and healthy.


Hi there, I'm Kate! I started Maternity Glow to be a place for new and expecting moms to come to for practical pregnancy advice, parenting tips, and baby care tricks.

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