Red Bum in the Morning … Diaper Changers Take Warning!
By: Abby Keane
In our house, there’s an issue we’ve been dealing with since Finn was just a few days old. It’s a painful issue. It has resulted in many tears, on both my part and his. We get some reprieves now and then, but it always rears its ugly head again eventually. It’s my hope that in the next year or so, we’ll be rid of it entirely. What’s the issue you say?
Many of you moms are probably smiling, glad you never had to deal with this problem. Others are saying “My Johnny/Suzy had a diaper rash, what’s the big deal?” And to you I say, that wasn’t a diaper rash. There may have been a little redness, maybe even some irritation, but if you’re wondering why I’m dedicating a whole blog entry to diaper rashes, you’ve probably never experienced a real diaper rash. (Please read that last sentence tongue-in-cheek, I don’t actually want to start a mommy war over whose kid had the worse diaper rash!)
Poor Finn is extremely fair-skinned, and that fair skin is extremely sensitive. He was only days old before his bum started getting red and the special care nurses began recommending Desitin. Since then, it has been a constant project to figure out what works best to protect my guy’s sensitive bum. While every kid is different, and you’ll need to experiment to find what works best for your specific kid, I’m offering up what’s worked best for us as a starting point for you to jump off from.
After some trial and error, we found that an every diaper change regimen that includes a gentle wipe-down (be sure your wipes don’t contain alcohol…ouch!), A&D ointment (or any generic of that) on the front half, and Desitin MAX (again, any generic will work also) on the back half will prevent most diaper rash. For many kids, regular strength Desitin will be fine, but for those sensitive munchkins out there, be sure to get the MAX strength (purple container!).
If we notice a little redness, that’s when we start using Caldesene (again, any generic will do) powder anywhere there’s redness, before putting the Desitin MAX over it. Usually, this step is enough to clear up any redness. We also recently found out about “Anti Monkey Butt” products, which include both a powder and a cream. We’ve found the cream to be a little thin for our personal use, but the powder is a great addition when redness appears, and contains different ingredients than the Caldesene powder.
All of these are for the small, easy diaper rashes. You know, the ones that make you say “But who needs a whole blog entry for a red bum?” But what do you do for the serious diaper rashes? The ones that result in all parties involved crying during diaper changes. The ones that just won’t go away, even with all of the above products.
We start with the basics. We stop using commercial wipes, and begin using washcloths with warm water. After getting completely clean, be sure to pat the area completely dry. Any moisture can increase irritation! Any naked time you can give your little one during this time will be of great benefit – letting fresh air get to the affected area will do wonders for it, so this may be the time for some tummy time on a towel on the floor. If it’s bath or shower time, I highly recommend using an oatmeal bath. If you have a kid who likes the bath simply put the oatmeal bath in and soak for awhile. Finn happens to be a shower kid, so we put a little water in the oatmeal bath packet and form a paste with it. The paste coats the entire affected area for the whole time he’s in the shower. This is a huge relief at our house, and is usually done right before bedtime. Remember to thoroughly dry afterwards!
We always stick with the regimen I detailed above, but there are different additions you can make. Mylanta can be applied to the skin before the ointments and creams to dry it out. Witch hazel can be used to soothe any irritation. Some diaper rashes can be yeast-based, in which case a doctor can prescribe an anti-yeast cream.
One of the things that’s been important in our house is to figure out the triggers for these rashes and try to avoid them. In our case, the main causes are food-related. Anything too citrusy or acidic can cause a rapid flare-up. Foods such as pineapple, kiwi, and tomato sauce are all enjoyed, but only in moderation.
To those of you suffering through this issue, I feel your pain. At least we know there’s an end in sight…too bad we have to go through potty-training to get there!