I have two kids. My oldest never had a diaper rash. My baby girl, on the other hand, has had a few. Usually, they clear up with just one of these remedies in a day or two. But she has had a couple that were a little harder to shake.
We used cloth diapers for both kids (check out the diapers we use here – I love them and we used the same set of diapers for both kids). When we travel, I usually use disposables. On a recent week-long trip, she came home with a diaper rash, the worst one she’s ever had. It could’ve been the disposables. It could’ve been something one of us ate (she’s breastfed). It could be because she’s teething.
What Causes Diaper Rashes
- Infrequent Changes: Dirty diapers are…..dirty. And that can irritate skin. I know, I get it. I’ve been caught out when an errand takes longer than expected and I didn’t pack enough diapers. Or she falls asleep before I get a clean diaper on her. And if I know anything at all it’s that you don’t wake a sleeping baby.
- Product Sensitivity: Some babies are very sensitive to pretty much everything. My son was sensitive to ingredients in lotions and soaps (mostly soy and fragrances). Just about everything that touches baby’s skin has ingredients. From the detergent we use to wash clothes and sheets, diaper wipes, diapers, lotions, and soaps. I trust EWG for product reviews and recommendations. Here is their baby information.
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics is very effective at killing bacteria. But the very bad news is that they also kill the good bacteria that keeps your gut in balance and protects against yeast. Antibiotic use in babies and the mother (if breastfed) increases the risk of yeast, diarrhea, and diaper rashes.
- New Food: New foods mean possible new reactions, and diaper rashes are one of the possibilities. Introduce foods slowly and watch for reactions. Acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits are common causes of diaper rashes. What mom eats is also a factor for breastfed babies.
- Teething: Teething sometimes comes with fever, diarrhea, and increased production of saliva. All of this could trigger a diaper rash.
Natural Remedies For Diaper Rash
Air It Out
About the best thing you can do for a diaper rash is to air it out. Yep, let your baby go naked. I don’t know about your kids, but if mine could live in a nudist colony, they would. Letting her go naked is about as much fun as a 1 year old can have! While she loved it, it’s definitely a mess waiting to happen. I put her in a diaper until she went to the bathroom (either wet or dirty). Then clean her and leave the diaper off for about half an hour. Then diaper back on until it was wet or dirty. Then another half hour of naked time. It’s not a fool proof method – there were still some messes. I did this until the rash was gone.
The super powers of breast milk never cease to amaze me. I swear it’ll cure anything. This study shows that “human breast milk is an effective and safe treatment for diaper dermatitis in infants.” Be sure to let dry before putting a diaper back on.
Remember in My Big Fat Greek Wedding how the dad put Windex on everything? In my house, it’s coconut oil. Coconut oil contains lauric acid. Lauric acid is antifungal and antibacterial. The coconut oil also acts as a barrier keeping the skin dry. Be sure to let dry before putting a diaper back on. I use this brand.
I believe colloidal silver is a must-have in a natural medicine cabinet. It’s a great immune booster, supports our body’s natural defense system, and can be taken orally or used topically. This handy colloidal silver gel can be used for diaper rashes. The company website says to apply the gel between each diaper change for diaper rash relief. Be sure to let dry before putting a diaper back on.
I add 1-2 drops of essential oils when I apply the coconut oil. I use Lavender or Gentle Baby. I only use therapeutic grade essential oils. Many brands of essential oils are “green washed,” meaning the purity is not all the label suggests. I trust this brand.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that fight the bad bacteria, including yeast. You can use the probiotics as a supplement or topically. Follow the dosage instructions for supplement. For topical use, I dissolve a little bit in water, coconut oil, or breast milk to make a paste and apply daily when needed. I like this infant probiotic.
I increase my probiotic dosage while treating the rash since she breastfeeds. It’s good to rotate your probiotic supplement so you get different good bacteria strands in your system. I rotate through these:
Read more about probiotics here. Of course you can also eat fermented foods including kefir and kombucha. I have heard of people using kefir topically on diaper rashes. For a comprehensive guide on fermented food, check out this ebook with 40 fermented recipes that’ll keep those good bacteria in your baby’s gut and help prevent future diaper rashes.
Strip Your Diapers
If you use cloth diapers, they do occasionally need to be striped. Click here to find out everything you need to know about cloth diapers, including how to strip them. I also find that drying them outside in the sun helps keep them so fresh and so clean.
Things to Avoid
What you don’t use is just as important as what you do use. Here are things to look out for:
- Talc baby powder: It’s just bad news. It’s linked ovarian cancer and lung inflammation. Just last week I heard an ad on the radio requesting people that had ovarian cancer and that have used talc powder to come forward to join their class action law suit. Read more about why I don’t like talc powder here.
- Fragrance: Fragrance is “any undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients” and it’s hidden in lots of products including diapers and wipes. It gets a whopping 8 out of 10 on the toxicity scale from EWG (source).
- Corn Starch: Corn starch will feed the rash and make it worse.
- Toxic Detergents: If you use cloth diapers, use a natural and safe detergent. I use Thieves Laundry Detergent. It’s plant based and is the best natural detergent I’ve used (and I’ve tried a lot of them). Find it here.
So there you have it
Here’s to lots of healthy, happy, and rash-free booties around the world!