Diaper Rashes: Causes and Remedies

You remove your baby's diaper and see redness everywhere- perhaps even bumps and open sores! What's causing your baby's diaper rash? Could it be the diaper, or some other form allergy or irritation? How should you clean the area to reduce any discomfort for your baby? And how can you treat the rash and (hopefully) prevent it from happening again?

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Episode Transcript

Diaper Rashes: Causes and Remedies


Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: Your sweet little baby seems uncomfortable today. During a diaper changing, you notice his bottom is red and irritated. What can be causing this irritation? Is it his diet? His diapers? Or is there something else?

I'm Dr. Tara Zandvliet world certified Pediatrician and your listening to Newbies.

[Theme Music]

KRISTEN STRATTON: Welcome to Newbies broadcasting from the Birth Education Center in San Diego. Newbies is online on the go support group guiding on new mothers with their babies the first year.

I'm your host Kristen Stratton. I'm also Certified Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, and Owner of In Due Season Doula Services.

If you haven't already been sure to visit our website at www.newmommymedia.com and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. You can also subscribe to our show through iTunes so you automatically get new episodes when they are released. Sunny is here to tell us all about how we can participate in our new show.

SUNNY GAULT: All right, so we want to hear from our listeners and we have some segments that I think you guys are really going to like. The easiest way to find out all about these segments is to go to the website at www.newmommymedia.com. Newbies have its own section on the website so you go to shows, scroll down on Newbies and that will open up the Newbies portal, and then to new mommy media website. From there if you click on segments you will see all the different segments you can participate in.

Some of my favorites, there is a segment called “Baby Oops” where mammy's get to share their funny stories of taking care of their babies and the funny things that happened, maybe something funny that your baby did or something funny that you did, maybe an accident, maybe something a little embarrassing there was no response. We would love to hear the stories and share with our audience.

Another great one is you can submit your own questions, so if you've got something going on, something that really needs attention call your doctor. If it is something that you just have a question about we can certainly “ask our expert”. When they answer the question, we will put the answer and your question on it in our future episodes so other parents can benefit from that. Again go to the website and check it out and in different segments in there and you can submit voicemail straight through our website and via email as well, again through the website.

KRISTEN STRATTON: All right let us meet our panelists.

BRITNEY: Hi I am Britney, I am 26 years old. I am a stay at home mom and a birth doula. I just started my own business. I have one little girl and she just turned 11 months.

RUTHII SLATTUN: I am Ruthii Slattum. I actually just turned 29 years. I did say 28 years old last time but I am actually 29 years old. I own Mamma Ruthii and I am a clinical lactation specialist, I am a postpartum doula, I am a placenta capsulate, I do belly binding, I do everything pretty much postpartum. I have a five-year-old boy, two and a half-year-old girl and a six-month-old girl.

JESSI: I am Jessi and I am 26 years old. I am a childbirth educator and a doula. I have two little ones, my daughter is two and a half and my son is almost a year.

KRISTEN STRATTON: All right, welcome to the show.

[Theme music]

SUNNY GAULT: All right mammas, we have a “Baby Oops” segment for you right now. I love these segments because it is so funny to hear the stories. Most of the times we have been in these moments and I am so glad you guys are willing to admit some of these, it’s so funny.

This story comes from Sue and she says;
“After a few days I am turning into a zombie. My husband promises to start waking up in the night with our daughter. She starts crying out in the middle of the night and it doesn’t sound like he is getting her so I am like Christian, go and get her, and he says I am. I turn on the light and he is sitting up with a pillow on his lap and he is burping it, oh my goodness, I so wish you had this on camera Sue because this is hysterical. You hear about this kind of stuff but I am telling you, if you don't sleep, you turn into a crazy person." Sounds like that is what happened in your house with your husband Christian. Thank you so much for sending this in, I was laughing my butt off when I first read this, thank you so much.

If you guys have a Baby Oops you want to share with our audience we would love to hear it. Send us an email through our www.newmommymedia.com and also through the website you can send a voice mail, so you don't even have to pick up the phone. You can send it right through our computer. There is more information about that on our website and I can't wait to hear all of your Baby Oops.

[Theme music]

KRISTEN STRATTON: Today on Newbies we are discussing causes and remedies of diaper rash. Our expert today is Dr. Tara Zandvleit who is board certified in three separate specialties pediatrics, internal medicine, and integrative holistic medicine.

Thank you very much for joining us Dr. Tara Zandvliet on the show

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: Thank you for having me.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Dr. Z, what does diaper rash usually look like and how does it affect the baby?

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: There are a couple of different types of diaper rash. They look different, generally it is red, lots of red. There is irritation type diaper rash which is like irritation to the diaper, the urine, the poop, something like that irritating it. It’s generally all over a pinky red, occasionally it can actually open up and be oozy or like a sore. There can be an irritation just as the anus, the little hole right there, just there, and that is irritation type. There can also be an infection and this also looks different. It can be super bright shiny red with little red dots along the outer edge of it which is more like yeast. It can also be pusscious, like little pimples that look like they are going to break and have puss that is usually bacterial. It looks like someone sat your baby down in hot water and scolded him.

KRISTEN STRATTON: How does a parent know if they are wiping too much or too hard?

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: That is a great question. I don't think you really can know, but obviously if the kid cries that is probably a bad sign. Generally, it is gentle, you don't need a lot of pressure except on the conium and we can talk about different ways to make that easier. Generally, they don't need a lot of wiping. For urine, there are people who don't even wipe at all, they just put a little water and you are done. So, very gentle, it does not have to be a lot.

KRISTEN STRATTON: During those days when a baby is still passing meconium do you recommend using the oils on bumps to protect baby skin during wiping?

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: Absolutely, nothing better than olive oil, good in the pan, good in the butt, we are all good. Coconut oil is another good one and it smells better, so any oil. Any oil at all is going to work. You could use Vaseline if you want to but why if coconut oil smells much better. You just stick it on even before the first poop, just as soon as they are born, slap some on their booty and then that meconium that thick thick paste stuff, it will come off a lot easier otherwise you will be scrapping and you will be sitting and asking if you can use your fingernails.

KRISTEN STRATTON: What alternatives to using disposable wipes would help alleviate baby's discomfort?

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: Your best is a nice soft cotton wipe, hemp white whatever it is something natural fiber and really soft. Do not use a terry cloth wipe, like a hand wipe. They are just not soft as you would think. If you have flannel it is great but most of the baby wash clothes are usually pretty good, but just that in water works beautifully.

KRISTEN STRATTON: What kind of bumps or creams if any do you recommend for a mild case of diaper rash?

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: I have got lots of them. A lot of it depends on what the cause of it is. I usually say depending on the level and what is the cause you will know what to put on it. The first minor level of diaper rash is usually irritation diaper rash you will say you did not change the diaper fast enough. Just another thing to make parents feel guilty of doing something wrong they did not know. Putting something that is waterproof barrier to keep the urine off the skin. So barrier things can be zinc based, that is where the destine comes it, it can be coconut oil, olive oil, Vaseline or A.N.D or sort of the ointments aqua four, any of those things work really well as a barrier. Usually, for mild rashes, these are enough.

KRISTEN STRATTON: How often should a parent change a diaper to prevent rash?

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: Babies will have at least ten diapers a day that are wet, so you are going to be changing every two hours. Usually, if you notice you have not changed him in like two hours, check him they are going to be wet.

KRISTEN STRATTON: How would a parent know if a child is having a reaction to the diaper itself?

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: Oh, and you know what my son said when I was coming here? He was like Mommy hope you don't talk about me are you? I told him of course I am. It is my duty to embarrass you. My son was allergic to one of the disposable diapers. Back then we did not have any diaper services and we did not have washing machines so I was not obviously going to be carrying it all to the laundry matt and so I used disposables, and I tried to get all the natural ones. He had a reaction to one of the natural ones and I changed it to one of the brand names and he was blistered in two changers. Usually, it will be a very fast rash with some blisters in the entire area including the front area including the legs because anywhere the diaper touches they are allergic.

It is not just the booty or in the center where the pee may hit, it is the whole diaper-covered area and it is rapid.

KRISTEN STRATTON: If parents use cloth diapers what would be some of the causes of diaper rash?

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: Basically it is when they are sitting on it a little too long. Too long is nebulous but generally, it is going to be irritation diaper rash from sitting in pee too long or poop. Sometimes it will even just be teething poop because that you can get that off within ten minutes and there is still going to be a rash. The other thing to watch for if the diaper rash is an infection type. Sometimes the diaper will have the infections still in it. If you have an infection type diaper rash bleach him, bleach your diapers, not your kid. Clarification is important here. Bleach the diapers because it will keep going.

BRITNEY: Sometimes a detergent too can mess him up


KRISTEN STRATTON: So panelists what has been your experience with mild diaper rash and what are your go-to remedies?

BRITNEY: We had a hard time with disposables. I went through a couple of different brands to see if maybe it was a particular brand and then once we switched to cloth she stopped having a lot of problems. The only time I now see it is she will have patterns, she will get a diaper rash when she is getting ready to start teething and then she gets the raspy voice and there then we are like oh teeth?

KRISTEN STRATTON: It is so good that you notice that though

BRITNEY: It helps, this last week was a different story, she had oozy all this last week, she had diarrhea and her poor bottom was so sore. There was not a whole lot I could do for that at that point and so just used the coconut oil, keep slapping it on until I got to a point where she was so sore that I just rinsed her bottom in the sink. She just hurt too much

RUTHII SLATTUN: We found that cloth diapers work really well for us particularly natural fibred cloth diapers, so organic cotton seemed to work better than microfiber which tends to hold the ammonium and all that stuff and I feel that is when we get recurring rashes. I have a little jar of coconut oil and lavender and techy and that pretty much takes of anything mild.

KRISTEN STRATTON: We did naked time

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: Naked booty is the best

KRISTEN STRATTON: Sometimes if it is just too hot and maybe it’s not cracked or anything but enough that I don't want to put anything on it to hold the moisture against the skin, I just let my kids be naked and give them 30 minutes, and then if they really little we do tummy time at that time so probably everything would go down onto the towel instead of flying up into the air especially if you have boys, so we do tummy time, naked time and the put the bowl of coconut oil and we introduce descants sometimes too just so that it will be dry and we won't be holding moisture into the skin. That worked for us and it’s cute to see your baby's naked butt.

JESSI: For me my poor first baby we had a really bad diaper reaction to one of the mainstream diapers and as a first-time parent you don't realize what is happening until your baby's bottom is sipped in blood. Doing one of the natural diapers switching from mainstream wipes was massive for us especially those that did not have alcohol. We used paper towels for a while just to try to get his bottom to heal. We also did air time, open the window and let them get some light on their bottom and breast milk

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: The miracle drug

JESSI: If breast milk and coconut oil can't fix it you need to go to the doctor.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Dr. Z, how would a parent know if their baby rash was related to something in baby's diet?

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: Food related especially breastfed babies the rash is going to be more at the anus. If you have bad chick redness and you separate the bad chick and it clearing in between, it is probably not from eating something that or the breast milk. It is going to be right in the hole and the surrounding.

KRISTEN STRATTON: When we come back we will continue our discussion about more severe cases of diaper rash and what it might mean if your baby's rash doesn’t clear up, we will be right back.

[Theme Music]

KRISTEN STRATTON: Welcome back to the show. We are talking with Dr. Tara Zandvleit about how to sooth your baby's bottom during diaper rash.

Dr. Z sometimes a child will have a severe rash which may include cracking or bleeding at the skin, what can a parent do to help heal the skin?

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: Again, looking for cause, is it an infection thing or is it an inflammation thing? Generally, once you are cracked and bleeding it is going to involve infection too because look what they do in their diapers. Generally, there are a couple of things I always say. You have to have three parts to your treatment, one is a barrier, and one is something for the infection and another for decreasing inflammation because it may have just gone too crazy.

At the University of Texas, we had something called Happy High Knee Cream. This essentially was a mixture of three equal parts of desitin, hydro cord aid ointment and nystatin which is the anti-fungal. This was three parts equal and you mix them up and slapped it on their butt and it was a miracle. It was beautiful a natural version would be like some coconut oil, split it 50/50 or less with tee tree oil which is anti-inflammatory and then yogurt. There are a couple of things, if it is yeast, and that is the really bright red shinny with little red spots along the outside, it also smells like potatoes.

Anyway things you can do, you can put non-sugar yogurt on it. Plus you give it to them, you drink it then you breast feed them. You can actually take probiotic capsules or whatever, crush them up, make a paste and stick that flat on. You can use some apple side of vinegar but if is open don't they are going to scream at you. Breast milk helps a lot. If you are old fashioned use gentian violet. You can paint it right on, it will stain everything purple but it works beautifully right on it if you know it is yeast.

If it is bacterial which more is like the pimple pustule like they look like little white field blisters, those can be dangerous and that is when you want to see your doctor. Sometimes if it is extensive enough we will actually give your kid antibiotics by mouth. We generally try not to do this and that is a dangerous sign. Other little things you can do is oatmeal or plain oatmeal you can put in a blender and stick it on. You can buy the Aveeno packets and stick that on like a paste, baking soda paste is another one that people like, but go to the doctor if it is really severe.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Do any of our panelists have experience with yeast infection on the bottom?

RUTHII SLATTUN: That is the one thing that we have escaped. We have had Thrush but not anything on the bottom

JESSI: My daughters yeast was more dietary so we don't do like carbs, the conventional sugar at all but then she would have yeast. We call them the yeasty beasty, they are a beast especially if you are cloth diapering. To the wise just get disposables when you are dealing with yeast because they come back. We did a lot of all those things, we did the apple side vinegar and the baking soda bath, herbal baths and coconut oil and they would come back and come back and come back. We knew it was more of a dietary issue with her.

Whereas if I was giving her too much fruit they would show up. It had to be a balance of yes you love bananas and want to have them every morning and we are going to do veggies. We also noticed meat would activate it too, so play with your kid’s diet and bring balance. Probiotics are a must for our little one so we make milky fern, water key fern, we ferment veggies and if she is not having it she gets yeast.

What we do is we have to do a barrier for her because that ammonium that is burning just makes it grow. With cloth diapers, this is the most discouraging thing because we thought we had escaped the rash problem and then you have got a rash, and then you was the diapers, you do the strip system and then you have another rash. If you don't deal with the problem at the root, it comes back and we actually ruined a whole set of cloth diapers because we stripped them so many times.

I finally gave up and I went for disposables all the way and then we have disposable rashes now. So it is this terrible horrible cycle and it took us a long time to realize it is a dietary thing and that is where it has to start and going from there. As a parent and as I mom, I would go like my kid has rashes and we don't do anything. It just happens and has grace because every kid has their own little system going on and it is very discouraging as a mom

KRISTEN STRATTON: It’s not always because you are doing something wrong, they have their own system, unique system. How about you Britney?

BRITNEY: We experienced yeast rash thing for a while before we used cloth. We too had the disposable rashes but we ended up having to use the nystatin cream to get rid of it. I didn’t even think about things like yogurt and probiotics but thankfully we have not experienced a Thrush either but I notice that I was having issues and it seemed like she started having issues so when I started taking the probiotic it actually seemed to help both of us.

KRISTEN STRATTON: I do have a question, though, if someone, if their baby had a yeast problem, would breast milk help?

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: Not generally. It works better for the inflammation types and bacterial but for yeast sometimes it actually feeds it. Generally, if you put breast milk on the butt it wouldn't do it too much

KRISTEN STRATTON: Maybe that could be an indicator, you can't figure out if it’s this or that in case breast milk makes it worse. Booby test, and then you feel bad that you made it worse.

Can medication such as antibiotics sometimes make loose stool and diaper rash more common?

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: Definitely, especially yeast. When you get rid of bacteria with an antibiotic for whatever good reason, it will kill some bacteria out of the gut. There is always yeast in the gut, it is supposed to be there, we are supposed to have acidophilus and pychomasis and things but then they go crazy. A lot of time with the antibiotic prescription, here is your prescription for nice datton.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Are there anything’s a parent can do to prevent or minimize the yeast when they know they are going to be on medication?

DR. TARA ZANDVLIET: Yes that is when the probiotics become important. Mom takes them if you are breastfeeding, give them a little powder off your finger, give them some yogurt if they are eating, they do great with that stuff.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Panelists what over the counter products do you find to be the most helpful or did you choose for your homeopathic remedy to help with your diaper rash?

BRITNEY: We tend to stick to the most homeopathic options especially with the cloth with options are a little bit more limited or it gets a little more complicated and you have to use something to protect your diaper and all that fun stuff. We do milk bath if she gets a rash and she loves a bath anyway so why not? It is good for her skin, it’s good for my skin and then we use coconut oil, and those are our two staples.

RUTHII SLATTUN: I pretty much use coconut oil. For the third kid, you can keep it under control before it is a problem and then if it does get a little more serious I do bodies by paste though it smells like it has been a while. If I get one that sneaks in maybe we are on a trip or something, I will do the big gun, that is aqua four with desitin and we just stack it on, you cannot put too much desitin over the aqua four. Those are the things we tend to use in the rank of seriousness.

KRISTEN STRATTON: So that would be the big gun, it is appropriately named.

JESSI: For us we try lots of different things. The two that I really like and are natural and are over the counter are California baby’s diaper rash cream. It is really awesome and works. The other one is groovier makes this magic stick and I am not kidding you it is called the magic stick for a reason. We do homeopathy like that so if we do it over the counter we tend to lean that direction.

KRISTEN STRATTON: Thank you Dr. Zandvleit and our lovely panelists for chatting with us today about diaper rashes and treatments.

For our Newbie's club members our conversation will continue after the end of the show as Dr. Zandvleit will offer some tips on how to choose a pediatrician that is right for your family.

For more information about the Newbies club please visit our website at www.newmommymedia.com

[Theme music]

SUNNY GAULT: Hey Newbies, it is time to read a comment from one of our listeners. This comes from Janet. I love getting responses from you guys. This is what she writes, she says, “Hey Newbies I really enjoyed your recent episode about giving your newborn baby a bath. I wish I had this information six months ago when my son was born. I am a big fun of all the New Mommy Media podcast and I am wondering if there is an easy way to search all of the shows and see what other episodes you have on giving kids baths. I just want to be better prepared so I know what lies ahead, Janet."

Okay Janet, I am going to let you in on a little secret here. This is actually what I have to do sometimes, so New Mommy Nedia we have 5-6, I have lost count now of how many shows we are producing right now and sometimes I have this same exact question. Where else did we talk about baths, and what did we say about baths?

This is what I do, first of all, I usually go to www.newmommymedia.com and go to the search bar and type in baths or baby baths or use some key words there and it should pull up all of the content, not just the episodes, so you may get some stuff there that you may need to filter through a little bit and you will get any time we've talked about baby baths.

You could also just go to the episode page for the individual shows and through there you could see a complete list of all the episodes we have ever released for that podcast, but that is not going to customize your search because you are just searching through the titles there. I did checkup the app and I will say through the New Mommy Media network app you can search but you can't do an overall search across all the shows. That is actually a good idea and I usually look into that, but you can again search for the individual show. You can go to Newbies and search baby bath in Newbies, you can go to parent savers or Preggie Pals or any of our other shows and search individually, but it is going to only bring the search results for those individual podcasts.
I still think searching our www.newmommymedia.com is the easiest. I have to do that anyways when we are planning new episodes just to make sure that we are not covering the exact same topic, so hope that helps and Janet thank you for reaching out and we really appreciate your question.

KRISTEN STRATTON: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Newbies.
Don’t forget to check out our sister show:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• Parent Savers for moms and dads with infants and toddlers
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed and
• Twin Talks for parents with multiples.

Thanks for listening to Newbies. Your go to source for new moms and new babies.

This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

SUNNY GAULT: How would you like to have your own show on the New Mommy Media Network? We are expanding our line-up and looking for great content. If you are a business, or organization interested in learning more about our co-branded podcast, visit our website at www.NewMommyMedia.com.

[End of Audio]

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