If your baby has sensitive skin, avoid using commercial baby wipes that contain alcohol, fragrance, or other chemicals. Instead, use water with or without mild soap, and use a bulb syringe to gently wash baby's diaper area. If you use cloth diapers, don't use fabric softeners or wash them in detergents that contain fragrances, both of which may irritate your baby's skin. Wash them in hot water and try adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to eliminate alkaline irritants. If you are using disposable diapers, try switching brands to see if that eliminates the rash.
When your baby starts solid foods, introduce only one new item at a time, and wait a few days between introductions. This will make it easier to determine whether a diaper rash is the result of a food allergy, and you can identify which food caused the allergic reaction.
Breast milk lowers the ph of your baby's stool, making it more acidic, which will reduce its reaction with her urine, so breastfeed your baby as long as possible. Also, breastfeeding boosts your baby's resistance to infection, making her less likely to need antibiotics, which can contribute to diaper rash.
A mild case of diaper rash should clear up in a few days to a week, and you don't necessarily need to have your baby checked by a doctor. However, if you notice any of the following, call your pediatrician:
- The diaper rash occurs in the first 6 weeks of life
- Pimples, blisters, boils, or small ulcers form
- Pus or weeping discharge
- Your baby develops a fever
- Your baby loses weight or isn't eating as well as usual
- Large bumps or nodules appear
- The rash spreads to other areas, such as the arms, face or scalp
- The rash doesn't get better after one week with at-home treatment
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