Diaper rash is rarely serious, but it can cause major discomfort for your baby, especially if the rash includes open sores. Keep your baby clean and dry to ease diaper rash pain, but talk with your pediatrician if the rash lasts more than a few days or is accompanied by fever, pus-filled sores or blisters, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.
A wet, chafing diaper can contribute to your baby's discomfort when she has a diaper rash. Allow her to go diaperless as often as possible until the rash heals. Place her on a waterproof pad and clean up any messes promptly. When it's time to put the diaper back on, be sure to put it on loosely to ensure minimal skin contact with the wet or soiled part of the diaper. The irritants in urine and feces cause pain and prevent healing, says Dr. Steve J. Hodges, a pediatric urologist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Soak in the Tub
Add oatmeal or baking soda to a warm bath to relieve diaper rash pain and promote healing, suggests Hodges, an assistant professor of pediatric urology at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Any type of oatmeal works, but plain instant oatmeal almost dissolves in warm water, making cleanup easier. You can also use an oatmeal bath product. If the diaper rash is severe, your baby may not tolerate a bath until the rash heals a bit.
Use fragrance-free wipes to gently clean your baby's bottom, and apply a squirt of water if the area is very soiled. Don't rub the skin, which adds to discomfort. Pat the bottom instead. Allow the diaper area to dry completely and then slather on a thick layer of protective diaper cream, which protects the baby's bottom from irritants and helps the skin heal, says the AAP. Avoid using steroid creams unless your doctor recommends them, adds the AAP.
Sometimes, distraction is the best solution for diaper rash discomfort. Pull out some favorite books or toys, go for a walk or gently rock your baby. Most diaper rashes heal within two or three days, says the AAP. In the meantime, though, hang in there, and give your baby the extra attention and comfort she needs.