We keep our babies in diapers to protect them, ourselves, and our home from the consequence of allowing them to live without diapers. That, I am sure you can imagine.
However, these nappies trap moisture, bacteria, and often, there is not enough ventilation in the babies’ nappy area. This causes skin rashes and infections on the baby’s skin.
Nappy rashes or diaper rashes is caused by irritation of the sensitive skin of the nappy area as a result of being in contact with urine or baby poo for too long.
These rashes thrive in moist, warm areas on the baby i.e. the private areas and can range in color and sizes. The skin might look spotty, red with patches or clusters of rashes that might start spreading if left without proper treatment. Other causes of diaper rash include:
- Sensitivity to some baby products you are using.
- Sensitivity to some food or detergents used on the baby’s clothes
- Some babies with sensitive skin are easily irritated by baby wipes containing alcohol
- The baby might be allergic to some medications
Diaper rashes are common in almost all babies as a result of the normalisation of constantly keeping babies in diapers in their early years. It is not something to worry about unless it is becoming resistant to conventional creams, remedies, ointments or, it is spreading fast. Then, it is time to visit the doctor for further investigation.
Tips/care to avoid diaper rashes:
- Frequent changing of the baby’s diaper once it has been soiled. This is because prolonged skin contact with the baby’s waste is the most common cause of diaper rash. Moisture is also a leading factor in causing diaper rashes.
- Giving their nappy area a break time even of it is at least 30 minutes every day when you just put some pants on them or let them roam around with a long shirt so that their sensitive area will have some rest and air.
- Totally avoid the use of plastic and tight diapers as they prevent the circulation of air contributing to the growth of rashes.
- Be gentle with the baby and use gentle or natural products as much as possible – avoid vigorous rubbing of the baby’s skin
- Thoroughly and gently wipe the baby before using water to clean the nappy area well to avoid any remnants of waste in the folds of skin or hidden areas on the baby
- Regularly soak the baby’s cloth in disinfectants such as vinegar, Detol etc. to kill bacteria that might be living on the baby’s clothes.
Garlic ointment was one of those must-haves in my family because of its diverse use and quick effectiveness. Garlic ointment is made mainly from garlic and some oils which makes it a good remedy for skin ailments in both babies, children, and adults.
The best part about this ointment is that all the ingredient are natural foods that we eat and it is very safe for everyone unlike the popular industrial creams we use such as Sudo cream. Unfortunately, this cream is not widely available in Nigeria.
Last I checked the garlic ointment is still available in Kaduna state but I don’t know of other places that might have it. Garlic oil is also a good option and can be found more widely in Nigeria.
How to use:
- After cleaning baby, apply this cream/oil generously on the baby’s skin
- You can use it 2-3 times a day or after every diaper change to protect the baby from the harmful micro-organisms in their soiled diaper
Natural oils (Olive oil or shea butter)
These are commonly used natural oils for both beauty and food purposes. Here, they soothe the skin and nourish even the most sensitive skin with their nutrients such as vitamin A, K, and its anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
Remember to use the best quality of these oils that you can find. The most natural and pure is best. You can use it as an ointment or as a replacement of the baby oil at least for the time being until the rash has cleared.
Use cornstarch as an alternative to baby powder to absorb the moisture in the diaper. There is increased awareness on the dangers of using baby powders for they cause short term and long terms effects on the baby after they grow up such as cancer, lung and respiratory diseases from inhaling the powder as babies, etc.
This awareness and lawsuits led to the popular Johnson&Jonhnson company to stop selling their baby talc powder in America and Canada but they continue to sell it in our places around the world. How unfortunate! You can read more on the harmful effects of talc baby powder here. Instead of the manufactured baby powder, use cornstarch to keep the baby dry which is the main purpose of baby powders.
Where to buy in Nigeria:
Cornstarch is available in both super market and the local market. You can find it where they sell baking items.
Apple vinegar is well used to treat infections and to balance the PH on the skin. For the baby, apple vinegar will disinfect baby’s skin and balance the skin PH that was unbalanced from the alkaline in the urine.
How to use:
- Mix a tablespoon of apple vinegar in half a cup of water
- Test the mixture on a skin patch of the baby to make sure they are not allergic to it or the concentration is not too strong for him/her.
- Using a piece of cotton, apply the diluted vinegar generously to wipe the nappy area.
- Allow it to dry before applying anything else or dressing them.
Nappy rashes are common and in most cases, they are easily treated with home remedies. It will be good to remember the tips for baby diaper care so that the frequency of the diaper rash can be significantly reduced or eliminated completely.
Nappy rash is one of those situations where the saying of prevention is better than cure is very much applicable. So please be vigilant.
The rashes can become infected when they continue to spread and develop into pimples despite using effective home remedies. In this case, it will be good to schedule a visit to the doctor’s office for proper checkup.
Please remember to let the baby rest from the constant nappy changes and let them feel some air and the sun especially when they have rashes. Constantly living in nappies will aggravate the problem and can be become worse than simple nappy rashes if care is not taken.
Avoid using mentholated ointment, powder, and other hot/warm products when the baby has a rash because they can aggravate his/her condition. Use soothing products and dress them in airy clothes preferably cotton.
I hope you found this article useful and informative. These are all easily available items where ever you are including in Nigeria so you will not have much trouble securing them. Remember, nappy rash is best prevented (I hope I am not being too whiny now). I wish you and your baby the best
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