Even if you read every baby care book in the library, odds are high that your babe’s bum will be the site of at least a few diaper rashes. The good news is, these pesky irritations—though uncomfortable—are rarely cause for serious concern.
Once you’ve spotted the initial signs of a rash, the first steps you take make all the difference. Greg Savel, MD, pediatrician in Clearwater, Florida, suggests trying to pinpoint the cause. If it’s mild, it might be a simple fix. “Try a new brand of wipes, or buy different diapers. If you’re breastfeeding, pay close attention to the different foods you’re eating,” Savel explains. “Certain types, like spicy food, can cause irritation.”
The unfortunate fact of the matter is that diaper rash is extremely common. The rash’s effects, however, are determined by the sensitivity of a newborn’s skin—which, Savel says, depends on genetics. While chafing, new foods and flare-ups from close contact with urine and stool all cause diaper rash, severity and duration is decided more so by baby’s family tree.
From topical treatments to au naturel methods, there are lots of healing options available. Cornstarch and Vaseline are home remedies, which Savel notes work well to protect sensitive skin. “Truth is, over-the-counter treatments are very inexpensive and safe to use—and vitamin A and D products are very natural,” he explains. For severe or persistent rashes, Savel recommends a cream that contains zinc oxide. If the rash is getting worse or spreading, seek advice from your pediatrician right away,” Dr. Savel advises. “A rash can sometimes be an indicator of something worse.”