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A red baby bum can be a diaper rash, fungal infection or just a result of heat and moisture. Learn how to distinguish diaper rashes from fungal infections; and how to treat and prevent red bums and associated wounds.
Heat and humidity in the nappy.
Babies need diapers. The wetter and warmer the diaper, the more likely your child will have a diaper rash or fungal infection. Indeed, with today’s modern diapers and its fantastic superabsorbent features, the problems of diaper rash are much lower than they were a few decades ago when wadding and dense plastic diapers were used.
How often do you need to change diapers?
You need to change your child’s diaper when you notice that they have pooped. How often babies poo varies a lot. Some poo 3-4 times a week and others poo 6-7 times a day.
You also need to change their diaper when it is full of pee. Always in the morning and a few times during the day. If you use cloth diapers, you may need to replace them more often than with modern plastic diapers, as they tend to feel damper sooner.
Clean the bum when changing diapers.
If your baby has pooped, you need to wash their bum clean. Especially between the labia of little girls. Rinse with water if necessary and pat dry. Wipes are practical, and very effective at dissolving dirt. They are great at cleaning dirty shoes and leaving cars sparkling clean, but they can be a bit too harsh for a baby’s bum.
Also some babies also react to the content of wipes and end up with a red and irritated bum. Try cleaning your baby with only water first and if necessary, use weak soap.
Some babies can become very dry from the water. If this is the case for your baby, then it may work better to use pure oil poured onto a washcloth instead. Baby oil, olive oil or regular cooking oil works well.
Libero, Pampers or other diaper brand?
Many parents notice that their children react differently to different diaper brands. Some diaper brands have lotion in the diaper while others do not. If your child gets a red bum from one brand, then try another one. Diaper preferences are individual. Certain diaper brands suit some children more than others.
If your child’s bum begins to turn red, the first thing to do is to have nappy-free time. That means that between diaper changes, your child should have periods where they are not wearing a diaper. Practice this for a few days. Leave your child on a changing bed or on a towel that you can either throw away or wash if your child pees or poos on it. Do this for as long as you can. Babies usually think it is nice. Warning : boys’ pee stream can travel quite far, so place your baby away from your favorite armchair…
If the skin in the diaper region is red, dry and spotty, it may be diaper rash. At this stage, it is ideal to wash the area gently with oil and aerate. Often, a cortisone cream with an antifungal component works wonders. Fungal infections thrive very well on a diaper rash so a cream with both cortisone and an antifungal agent will treat the rash and the fungal infection simultaneously.
Fungal infections on the bum.
Fungal infections on young children’s bum look sore, angry, red and spotty in the diaper region, between the buttocks, on the genitals and around or in the folds of the groin. This often occurs at the same time as diaper rash. There are two over-the-counter antifungal/cortisone ointments available at Swedish pharmacies: Cortimyk and Daktakort. They are totally equivalent and contain the weakest type of cortisone which can be used on infants.
If you suspect a fungal infection on your child’s bum and an angry diaper rash, try applying Cortimyk or Daktakort twice daily for some weeks. If you see results, apply the cream until the symptoms subside and then begin to taper down the usage over a week.
You may have to start again after some time and that is all right.
Perianal streptococcal infections
Perianal streptococal infections on the bum, usually start around the anus and spreads from there. The symtoms are similar to a nappy rash and fungal infection, but not so bumpy and can also exude pus.
If you suspect a streptococcal infection, you should visit a medical center. Sampling and antibiotic treatment are needed.
Ointment for the bum of diaper wearing babies.
Ointment is not commonly requied for the bum unless the skin is irritated and red. In that case, a protective zinc ointment is recommended. Inotyol, Silo and Bepanthen are three ointments that can be applied in thick layers after a diaper change to protect the skin against irritation from pee and poo. They can be used for certain periods but are often not needed routinely.
Baby powder, is this required?
Baby powder is not necessary, but as far as we know, also not harmful to children.