Diaper Rash is NOT Normal
It may be common, but that does not make it normal. There are a few things that can cause diaper rash, and cloth-diaper-safe treatments that worked for my children that I want to share.
Yeast rash is usually marked with red, elevated bumps and sometimes baby will scratch it. Bumps can have fluid under them. Yeast is contagious, and treatment is important. According to emedicinehealth.com, "A Candida skin infection can come from the upper gastrointestinal tract, the lower gastrointestinal tract, or exposure from a care provider." Since yeast is often born in the intestines, or gut, it has been my experience that treating the source is most effective in killing yeast. For my kids, Probiotics coupled with a topical anti-fungal is the best treatment. It is also important that you sanitize your cloth diapers. There are a few ways to go about this. You can soak them in vinegar, or use 1/4 a cup of bleach in the wash, and/or use Grapefuit Seed Extract. You can use 10 drops of GSE in every diaper wash. Some people use it topically to actually treat the infection.
Sensitivity to Detergent
If your child has an all over red "rash" that almost looks like a burn, there is a good chance your detergent, or detergent buildup is the culprit. VERY few (1 customer in 3+ years) children are allergic to a fabric. So, if your babe's bottom looks burned, strip those diapers, and start fresh.
Simply put, some babies can not tolerate the chemicals found in disposable baby wipes. Even the fragrance free wipes can have chemicals that are harsh for baby skin. Check this link for more information. Solution? Go with washable wipes. You can use water only or other natural, non-toxic wipes solutions that do not offer the same irritation.
If your baby has a persistent bullseye, red rash around the anus, this is often indicative of a food allergy. Be sure to show your doctor and check into this, as no cream will fix an internal issue.
One of the most common times for a baby to experience diaper rash is during the 4-6 months age as this is when parents commonly introduce solid foods. If you have ruled out the previously mentioned causes of diaper rash, then I would take a look at your child's diet.
This is a GREAT article that explains food allergies vs. Food Sensitivities. And she also discusses the Food/Eczema connection.
Sometimes the rash may be food related, though not a true allergy or sensitivity.
Sometimes frequency of stools and/or acidic content can cause diaper rash. Foods that cause frequent stooling and foods (or juices) that are naturally acidic can be the culprits.
See list of Foods That Cause Diarrhea.
See list of Common Acidic Foods.
I lumped these all together because often they do go together. We all know that anti-biotics cause runny stools--see yeast info above. According to Dr. Jay Gordon M.D., "Another cause of malabsorption in the intestines can be teething. The profuse saliva of a teething baby can cause irritation in the intestines interfering with proper absorption. When babies teethe, we can see lots of drooling. Large quantities of saliva is swallowed which can irritate the intestines causing runny, acidic stools. This can also cause a rash in the diaper area. " Old Fashioned diarrhea from a virus can cause diaper rash as well. So what do you do with that? I have found the following options to be the best treatments for my children.
1. If you are breastfeeding, express some milk and apply directly to baby's bare bum and let it air dry. This is truly the best natural remedy for diaper rash.
2. Baking Soda bath/soak (can use wash tub) after bowel movements, or at least 3 times per day. Let bottom air dry.
3. Naked time. This can prove messy, but air is great for this type of diaper rash.
4. Healing Salve. Stay away from anti-bacterial ointments as you may end up causing a yeast flare up which will only complicate your problems. I like Northern Essence, Punkin Butt, Magic Stick, and Earth Mama Angel Baby. It is important to note that these salves are healing salves, as opposed to a zinc based cream that simply forms a barrier against wetness. These will actually help the broken skin heal. But if you want to form that barrier as well, without ruining your diapers, use one of the salves and add #5.
5. Cornstarch. Be sure NOT to use talc or normal baby powder. Talc is toxic. If you want to form a barrier for baby's broken skin, apply a good amount of healing salve to skin and the put a cornstarch layer over top and pat. You can also use cornstarch alone on a regular basis, in place of baby powder, but it usually isn't necessary. Be sure to skip the brand name baby cornstarch that has fragrance added.
6. Browned Flour. If there are no food allergies, you can take regular flour and cook it in a skillet until it turns a golden brown. Then place it in container and in freezer. Apply to baby's bare bottom or on top of healing salve to help with rash. Will also form barrier, and will not harm diapers. *Warning* Baby's bottom will smell like a burned biscuit.
These are a few common causes of diaper rash and remedies that have worked for my children. Obviously I am just a mom without a medical degree, so take this information as such. Just my personal experiences, not the gospel.