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  • Nappy Rash - Causes & How to Prevent or Reduce it

    February 05, 2016 4 min read

    Nappy Rash - Causes & How to Prevent or Reduce it - The Nappy Shop

    There are many underlying factors that can influence whether or not a baby will develop nappy rash.  There are also a few simple things that can be done to help prevent your little one from developing nappy rash. In this blog post we will explain some of the common causes of nappy rash as well as how to prevent it or reduce when it does occur.

    What is Nappy Rash?  
    Nappy rash is the inflammation of baby's skin around the nappy area. It can be mild with minor bumps or severe with blisters and broken skin. Nappy rash is very common and most babies will get it at some stage.  Babies between the age of 9 and 12 months are at increased risk of developing nappy rash however it can occur at any age whilst baby is wearing nappies.

    What Causes Nappy Rash?

    Nappy rash is more likely to occur; 

    • For formula fed babies than breastfed babies.
    • When baby starts solid foods.
    • When baby has a sensitive skin conditions such as cradle cap or eczema.
    • Taking antibiotics (either baby or breast feeding mother).
    • When baby has frequent, watery bowel movements.
    • When baby has a cold because their natural defenses are not working as well as they should. 
    • Thrush can aggravate nappy rash.
    • Ammonia (chemicals in babies urine that irritates the skin).   

    How to Prevent Nappy Rash?

    1.    Use a Disposable Nappy with NO nasty Chemicals
    Disposable nappies will better absorb urine and leave the surface of the nappy that is next to the skin dry.  An extra preventative would be to use a disposable nappy that is free from nasty chemicals. 

    Apart from the generic brands like Huggies and Babylove there are some excellent quality eco friendly disposable nappies that contain absolutely no nasty chemicals or Toxins.

    Bambo Nature Nappies are made from wood pulp making them a very good natural and biodegradable nappy solution, especially for babies who suffer from sensitive skin or eczema.  The ultra thin and super absorbent design draws wetness away from baby’s delicate skin. Even with repeat wetting, baby will stay dry and comfortable.  A couple of other great disposable nappies with no nasty chemicals in them are Moltex Nature Eco Nappies, Ecoriginals Nappies and Pandas by Luvme.

    2.    Change Nappy Frequently 
    It is important to change your baby's nappies regularly such as before or after every feed and immediately after they have done a poo.  This is because the bacteria in the stool combined with urine can make the skin sore and lead to nappy rash.

    If you are using cloth nappies you will also need to change your baby every time they have done a wee.  This is because cloth nappies stay damp against the skin whereas most disposable nappies have the technology to wick the moisture away from the skin.

    1. Use a Barrier Cream

    Using a barrier cream provides a protective layer between your baby's skin and any wee and poo.  Apply a thin layer of barrier cream around the nappy area before putting on a clean nappy.  It is best to use a barrier cream that contains Zinc Oxide such as Sudocrem or natural nappy cream Weleda.


    1. Use Unscented Baby Wipes with Less Chemicals

    To clean your baby's bottom, it is best to use fragrance-free and alcohol-free baby wipes.  Try and use eco friendly baby wipes if you can as you will find less chemicals and preservatives in them than some of the main stream baby wipes. 

    A wide range of unscented or eco friendly baby wipes can be found here but a few that we highly recommend are the Reynard Dry Baby Wipes, a handy box of dry baby wipes made from non woven material that you can wet with water at nappy change time.

    Another is the Wotnot Baby Wipes which are 100% biodegradable and compostable and contain more natural ingredients.  The original WaterWipes only two ingredients being 99.9% Aqua and 0.1% Citrus grandis seed extract which is the preservative needed to keep the wipe moist. Another great pure water wipe is Jak Organic Aqua Wipes.

    Baby Wipes and lotions that contain goats milk can also aid in the prevention of nappy rash.  You can read more about why this is in our previous blog post.


    5.  Nappy Free Time
    Try and give your baby's bottom some nappy free time every day to allow air to circulate freely. Make sure they are lying on an open nappy or a towel if the floor is not easy to clean! 

    How to Treat Nappy Rash?
    All of the above techniques can also be applied to help clear up baby's nappy rash.  Nappy free time is a must and the more of it the better.  Using disposable nappies and baby wipes that are free from harmful chemicals will also aid in clearing up nappy rash.  If your baby's rash has developed into thrush, don’t use a barrier cream or ointment, as this can make the rash worse. 

    How long will Nappy Rash take to heal?
    Generally nappy rash should clear up in about 3-4 days.  If it does not show signs of improvement  then you should consult your Health Nurse or Doctor as the nappy rash could have developed into thrush or a bacterial infection and become very sore and uncomfortable. 

    In Summary
    Remember, nappy rash is very common and can happen no matter how careful you are about looking after your baby’s bottom. Following the above tips can help prevent or at least minimise the severity of nappy rash caused by the indirect factors which are out of your control. If you are unsure of your baby's symptoms, see your health professional as it could be something more severe that needs medical treatment to heal.

    Next Blog Post
    We talk to a lot of new mum's here at The Nappy Shop and many of them are seeking information about swaddling their baby and safe sleep practices.   So we thought we would dedicate our next blog post to giving you some tips for safely swaddlling your baby for better sleep.

    Sources for this article: