Why do we need to make sure babies’ bums are kept dry?
Ever heard the phrase ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’? In other words look after the bum and it won’t do anything rash! Basically speaking, a dry bottom is a healthy bottom. A nappy is used to prevent clothing and bedding getting wet. It isn’t there to allow you maximum time between nappy changes. A nappy should be removed as soon as it is soiled.
How frequently should babies be changed?
Let’s start with what is normal. It is normal for a baby to have at least five wet nappies in 24 hours. Stools in a breastfed baby can be as far as ten days apart (as long as the stool is soft there is nothing to worry about) and stools in any baby can be as frequent as with every feed. Normal skin is warm, dry, intact and healthy.
What causes nappy rash?
Several things – and some babies are more prone to it than others, particularly those with sensitive skin, like redheads or blonde babies. The combination of moisture, urine and poo, if left against your baby’s skin for any length of time, will make a bottom sore. Bottle fed babies tend to suffer more from nappy rash than breastfed babies, because their ‘deposits’ are of a slightly more stinky nature. Terry toweling nappies that haven’t been rinsed properly, scented fabric softeners, a nappy that is either too big or too small, or too tight on the legs or waist, are all things that can make little bottoms uncomfortable too.
How will I know my baby has nappy rash, rather than another kind of rash?
Nappy rash is skin in the diaper area that is sore, red, broken, blistered, spotted or bleeding. The symptoms depend on the cause of the rash. Stale urine breaks down into ammonia, and this in turn breaks down the normal integrity of the skin. Micro-organisms love moisture, nutrition, warmth and time to multiply, which is why wet, soiled nappies are the worst combo when it comes to sore bottoms.
The City Hospital provides a range of obstetric, maternity and paediatric services. www.thecityhospital.com (04 435 9999).
Dee’s top tips for a beautiful bum
1 Clean and change baby as soon as you can after he wets or soils his nappy, and change him after feeding or before putting him down for a nap.
2 Baby wipes are okay for most babies, but if your little one’s bum is particularly sensitive, hold baby safely under your arm over the basin and use running warm water and gentle soap to clean the skin. Rinse, rinse
and rinse again, then pat dry.
3 If the skin is red and sore, try to leave the baby without a nappy and exposed to the air. Sunshine is lovely as long as it is not too hot or prolonged.
4 Nappy cream isn’t essential on a bottom that isn’t sore, but apply one as soon as the skin looks red.
5 If the rash does not settle and the skin is very red, raw, broken or has spots consult your health visitor, nurse or doctor. The skin might have an infection and need a specific cream.
Three to try…
A little goes a long way, Sudocrem forms a barrier to protect bub’s bum against wetness.
Dhs24 for 125g.
Bioderma Water Paste
A combination formula that soothes a sore bottom and provides a protective barrier between changes.
Dhs50 for 75g.
Mustela Barrier Cream
A vitamin-enriched cream containing zinc oxide and shea butter which promises to protect and softens the skin while reducing redness and easing irritation.
Dhs30 for 55g.
Available from all major stores.