In celebration of 30 golden years of Weleda’s Calendula Nappy Change Cream, I’d like to share a guest blog post with you. I think new mums and expectant mums will find it useful. Speaking for myself, when I was a first time mum, I was under the impression you only needed nappy cream when baby had nappy rash! Thankfully, my mother-in-law corrected me just time or poor Angelo would have been in misery. Despite my diligence Valentina did suffer terribly from nappy rash, when she was teething. I bring you, this informative post written by Sharon Trotter, a baby skincare expert, to help parents understand nappy rash and how to care for it better.
Nappy rash – what parents need to know
Nappy rash is quite common in babies, but it’s usually mild and clears up without prescription creams. When the skin in the nappy area comes into contact with poo and wee it can become inflamed, and that’s when babies may develop nappy rash. It’s important for new parents to know about the causes and symptoms of nappy rash, and how to treat it safely, before any complications occur.
Most cases of nappy rash are due to a reaction of the skin to urine (wee) and faeces (poo). Your newborn baby’s nappy contents will change by the day. In the first day or two, your baby passes ‘meconium’. This very dark (green, brown, black), thick and sticky substance is in your baby’s bowel at birth. As babies take more milk, whether breast milk or infant formula, their poos change from brown to green. By the time they are five or six days old, babies have soft yellow poos.
Breastfed babies’ poos resemble mustard seeds. These babies also tend to have more watery poos than formula fed babies; this is perfectly normal. You will also notice that once they feed regularly babies pass more urine: they will usually have several heavy wet nappies each day. Urine can be quite irritant when it comes into contact with delicate newborn skin.
You may notice that babies are more likely to develop a nappy rash when they are poorly, when they are teething, or when you introduce solids during weaning. When teething, babies produce lots of saliva, which goes down into the tummy and seems to have an adverse affect on the gut. When poorly or teething, your baby’s temperature may be slightly raised, which can also impact on the digestive system. During weaning, some new foods may temporarily upset your baby’s tummy. Whatever the cause, frequent dirty nappies often occur during these situations, making nappy rash more likely.
How to tell if your baby has nappy rash
When changing your baby you may notice:
- red patches appear on your baby’s bottom, genitals and inner thighs
- raised spots in the red patches
- some scaling or shiny, broken skin
- that skin is sensitive, especially when you wipe the red patches
How to treat nappy rash
It is easier to prevent nappy rash than treat it. Here are my top tips:
- Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before and after changing your baby’s nappy
- Change your baby’s nappy often as soon as it is wet or soiled (young babies may need changing as many as 10 times a day; older babies at least half a dozen times).
- After a nappy change, lay your baby on a towel or muslin for a little while for some ‘nappy free time’ before putting a clean nappy on.
- Dry baby’s skin well after cleaning, patting dry, before putting on a fresh nappy.
- Avoid using baby wipes for at least the first month as they can strip the skin of protective oils. Top and tail with plain water and cotton wool. By doing this, you’ll ensure that your newborn’s skin has time to develop its own natural barrier.
- For stubborn dirt that has dried on, an organic fragrance-free baby oil can be used for cleaning the skin and will be less stingy than wipes. After the first month, try to use wipes that do not contain alcohol, parabens, phthalates, artificial colours or perfumes.
- You may like to use a thin layer of barrier cream on the nappy area. Choose a cream that doesn’t contain any preservatives, colours, perfumes, or antiseptics, and is clinically proven to be effective in the treatment of nappy rash. Check out the selection of midwife tested award-winning nappy creams on my TIPS website.
- Always wash your hands before applying nappy balm. This will help reduce the risk of bacteria passing from your fingers to the product and ensure the nappy balm is effective for longer.
- Today’s washable nappies are as efficient as disposable ones and your baby is not more likely to develop nappy rash if you use these. Rinse washable nappies thoroughly so that detergent residues are kept to a minimum, and avoid fabric conditioners as these contain synthetic perfumes.
If the rash doesn’t clear up after 3 – 4 days or if it gets worse, speak to your health visitor or doctor. They may prescribe hydrocortisone or antifungal cream, or antibiotics, depending on the cause.
Check out TIPS Award winning nappy creams here: http://bit.ly/1i80Ocx
Weleda’s Calendula Nappy Change Cream came top in the TIPS trials, out of 16 top nappy creams that met the strict TIPS standards, and it was awarded the accolade ‘Best of the Best’.
Sharon Trotter is a midwife and independent Parenting Consultant with special interests in breastfeeding and baby skincare. Sharon works independently to advise and promote best practice in these areas and has done for over 30 years.