Diaper rashes can be really alarming. They look angry, red and irritated. No wonder parents want to do what they can, as quickly as they can, to heal their babies' bottoms. The good news is diaper rashes usually respond very well to home care and TLC.
Diaper rashes are most common in babies 4 to 15 months old. They often begin when a baby starts eating solid food.
Here are some feeding tips that mommy M.D.s — doctors who are also mothers — use to prevent and treat diaper rash in their babies and toddlers:
"Using cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers went a long way toward preventing diaper rash," says Susan Besser, M.D., a mom of six grown children, a grandmother of one and a family physician with Mercy Medical Center/Mercy Personal Physicians in Baltimore. "I also put Desitin and A+D Ointment on my babies' bottoms to act as a moisture barrier and keep the irritation down."
"My kids almost never got diaper rash, unless they had diarrhea during the night and the poop sat next to their skin for longer than necessary," says Hana R. Solomon, M.D., a mom of four grown children, a grandmother of eight, a pediatrician and the author of "Clearing the Air One Nose at a Time: Caring for Your Personal Filter" in Columbia, Missouri. "I was careful about cleaning their bottoms well, making sure all folds of skin and tissues (labia or vaginal area for stool) were inspected, wiping them clean with warm water and a washrag and patting their skin dry gently, especially folds of tender tissues. If you see any sign of irritation — or before a round of antibiotics — a natural oil such as coconut oil rubbed in feels great, lubricates and protects our natural barrier, the skin."
"My kids didn't have a lot of problems with diaper rash," says Jennifer Hanes, D.O. "I think that's because after every bath, I slathered them with Vaseline. It created a nice barrier between their skin and the diaper. Diaper rash creams are great for helping diaper rash heal. But sometimes they can dry out the skin, which isn't as good as protecting healthy skin. When I treat babies with diaper rashes, I recommend that moms put Maalox or Mylanta on their kids' diaper rashes caused by diarrhea. Simply moisten a cotton ball with the liquid and dab it on. It neutralizes the acid from the diarrhea. Make sure you label the bottle 'FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY' so there is no accidental diaper contamination the next time an adult has heartburn."
Dr. Rallie's Tips
Exposure to urine, stool and soap can remove natural protective oils from your baby's skin. When my babies were little, I used petroleum jelly or baby oil to protect their skin, but if I had babies now, I would use only products with all-natural ingredients. Smoothing a dab of olive oil over your baby's bottom after a diaper change helps protect his tender skin from the irritants in urine and feces and might help prevent diaper rash. If your baby has a mild case of diaper rash, olive oil's anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties make it an excellent remedy.
When my babies got diaper rash, I'd use a hair dryer set on low heat to dry their little bottoms after a diaper change. What I've learned since my boys were little is that the antibacterial agents in diaper wipes kill the bad bacteria, and they also kill the beneficial probiotic bacteria on the skin. This allows yeast organisms to grow out of control, which is often what causes diaper rash.
Now I tell my patients to take a capsule of probiotics — which you can buy at most health food stores — and sprinkle it on their babies' bottoms after a diaper change. It replenishes the probiotic bacteria on the skin and helps keep the yeast under control. It's a wonderful remedy for preventing and treating diaper rash. — Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., mom of three, nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky
Mommy M.D. Guide-Recommended Product: Triple Paste
If your toddler's behind is looking rosy more often than not, try soothing it with Triple Paste. It's a prescription-strength diaper rash cream with no additives that's gentle enough to use every day. Two ounces of Triple Paste costs around $9, and you can buy it at Target, Walmart, buybuy BABY, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and elsewhere. For more information, visit the Triple Paste website.
Jennifer Bright is a mom of four, co-founder and CEO of Momosa Publishing and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby's First Year." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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