How to Get Rid of a Diaper Rash

A diaper rash is challenging for both parent and baby. Discover 5 remedies and treatments to get rid of a diaper rash quickly.

How to Get Rid of a Diaper Rash

The dreaded diaper rash. No matter how careful I tried to be, my baby still ended up with red bumps on his bottom. Even mild rashes often made changing diapers difficult, so much so that I practically had to wrestle him to stay put. Wiping felt excruciating, and hearing him cry during diaper changes made me wonder how much longer this rash was here to stay.

He was also extra fussy not just during diaper changes, but throughout the day, too. After all, a rash on any part of your body can feel miserable. You can imagine how uncomfortable having one around your bottom—with a diaper on, no less—can feel.

Thankfully, I learned a few tricks to get rid of diaper rashes, quickly and effectively. The rashes also didn’t come back as often as they used to. Take a look at these tips:

Wash with water, not wipes

The ideal way to clean a diaper rash is with warm water, not baby wipes. Not only do wipes—even the sensitive kind—have ingredients that could irritate the rash, but the actual rubbing on your baby’s skin could make the rash worse.

Instead, use water, especially if the messes are mild.

Use flat cotton pads or a soft washcloth dipped in water to wipe most of the mess away, patting or at least gently wiping his bottom. Think of the rash as a wound, something you’d be careful not to irritate further. You wouldn’t wipe a sensitive wound, and neither should you wipe a diaper rash.

Expert tip

If pads are still making his fuss, you can also carry him to the sink or tub to wash his bottom with your hand.

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Air your baby’s bottom out

Any contact with your baby’s diaper rash—including wearing diapers—runs the risk of irritating it even more. When you’re home, air his bottom out as much as possible.

For instance, do tummy time on an old towel on the floor or place him on his back and drape another towel in front in case he pees.

Another option is to extend bath time. Give him an extra-long bath and allow him to play for a bit longer, if only to keep him out of a diaper even more. Every little bit of time out of diapers helps to heal the rash even quicker.

The less time he sits in a diaper, the faster the rash will go away.

Change diapers frequently

Confession time: I wouldn’t always change my baby’s diapers in the middle of the night. If he only had wet diapers, I’d simply feed him when he woke up and put him back to sleep.

But with a diaper rash, regular and frequent diaper changes are important, especially if your baby keeps peeing through his diaper at night. You want to avoid any moisture from making his rash any worse and keep him comfortable while he sleeps.

At night, put him in a new diaper before feeding, even if he didn’t soil his diapers. Yes, even if it means you have to undo his whole pajama / swaddle / sleep sack ensemble.

The same is true for the daytime—follow the clock and change his diapers more frequently than you usually do. Maybe you change after every nap or every two hours. Perhaps you put him in a diaper with a wetness indicator so you can easily see if he has peed.

A clean, dry diaper is the next best thing to being bare-bottom. Regular and frequent diaper changes will help make that happen.

Switch diaper brands or sizes

Sometimes it’s the diaper itself that could be making the rash harder to go away. Every diaper is different—even if one baby is fine in one, another could find the same diaper irritating.

If the rash doesn’t seem to go away or keeps coming back, one option is to switch to a different diaper brand. Buy a few in small packages to see if it makes a difference before getting a larger box. Or consider cloth diapers, which tend to be more comfortable and gentle on the skin.

Another option is to move up a size in diapers. Sometimes we forget how quickly our babies grow and overlook the signs that they’re ready to size up. If your baby has elastic imprints on his skin or securing the diaper seems tight, it may be time to get the bigger size.

Use a good diaper cream

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Even if your baby hates diaper changes, at some point, you’ll need to put him in a diaper once again. When you do, apply diaper cream to his rash.

Diaper creams and ointments can soothe his current rash so it doesn’t feel so itchy and irritating. It’ll also add an extra barrier on top of his skin so the rash isn’t in direct contact with the diaper. And finally, the cream will keep his skin from getting moist and making the rash worse.

The key to applying diaper cream is to make sure the area is dry before applying it. It’s this moisture that can make rashes worse, so keeping his diaper area dry is a must.

Now, which diaper cream to use? After talking with several parents, I compiled a few of our favorites below:

The bottom line

No parent wants to see the dreaded redness of a diaper rash. We instantly cringe when we open that diaper, knowing what we’ve got stacked against us. At least you now have the tips to help even severe rashes go away quickly and effectively.

Now you change his diapers comfortably—with no wrestling required.

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