The three best and most natural preventives and cures for nappy rash are:
1) Frequent changing – so bum stays dry as much as possible
2) Natural, nonirritating wipes – nothing chemical and irritating to delicate skin
3) Air drying – as often as possible let baby have some bare bum time
Changing baby’s nappy soon after it gets soiled means baby will be more comfortable. Imagine walking around in wet pants. How much chafing would you get? Not to mention the acidity of the wee. Knowing when baby’s nappy is wet is easier said than done though. There are a few easy ways to check if a nappy is soiled without taking it off. Give the nappy a squeeze. Disposables will feel full while cloth are a bit harder to tell. You cannot always trust your sense of smell or hearing, a fart may be very ‘wet’ sounding and the smell can stick around for a while. So, stick a finger in the nappy from the side. Sounds gross until you have a baby, then it just seems sensible.
Frequent changing is more important with cloth nappies, as modern disposables are designed to keep the moisture away from baby’s bum as much as possible. However, the acidity of the wee is still a problem. In addition to this, if you use a baby wipe with irritating chemicals in it then you are layering them on baby’s bum until bath time. You would assume that if its a baby wipe its good for baby, but this is sadly not always the case. I use an organic wipe, because that is what I believe in. But good old tap water and a pat dry is even better and cheaper. That is what I do at home, and save the wipes for when we are out.
We don’t need to wet wipe ourselves every time we go to the loo, but thats because it does not come in contact with out skin like it does in a nappy. This is why air drying is so important. Our bums stay dry all day, even in layers of clothing. Giving baby some nappy free time is a great excuse to see a cute baby bum and to give their delicate skin time to dry and heal. Just make sure you pop a towel or cloth nappy under baby and have them on a waterproof play mat.
We have an abundance of quilts, as my husbands family has been collecting them for years. I have one I use folded up in four as a soft base which I put a plastic sheet on, then the one I use as as her play-mat on top. Even though the plastic is under a thick quilt and she cant get to it, I only use it when she is having nappy free time. Plastic is a suffocation hazard. With the addition of the cloth nappy underneath if there is an accident I only have to wash that. But often she wriggles off the nappy then pees, so thats why the plastic so I only have to wash one quilt!
My bub had developed a rash when she was very new and my health nurse gave me a long list of creams to try. Instead I started paying more attention to her and changing her nappy more frequently and giving her more bare bum time. In fact I combined bare bum and the essential tummy time by turning her onto her tummy on her change mat every time I changed her. Being so young still, and not liking tummy time yet, she got over it after 5 minutes. Then I would pop her clean nappy on and continue the day. This meant she was getting more than the minimum recommended 5 tummy times a day – which seemed impossible until I started doing it with nappy changes. I honestly think it helped her development, as she was rolling from tummy to back and back to tummy by 3 months old. Plus, next time I saw my health nurse she commented on how well the creams had worked, better and faster than she would have thought.
However, if the rash does not clear up in a few days or is getting worse then you do need to try a different solution. You could find a natural nappy rash balm, a ‘talc free’ baby talcum powder or talk to your health nurse.
I use cloth nappies and have found them to be just as easy as disposables. Next week we’ll discuss the pro’s and con’s of both. After all you can always do a mix of the two.