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Thursday, 16 October 2014

Diaper Rash Treatment

The phrase "just a dot" has new meaning for first time parents who have never applied the popular Desitin brand of diaper rash cream. When confronted with diaper rash older folks will tell you to run down to the pharmacy and buy some Desitin and you apply "a little bit, not plenty". Some of us (like me) may think, they just saying that because of the old adage "waste not, want not". Some of us may think we have understood what they said until we try to apply it and realize that small dots of Desitin have very large margins of error.
Diaper rash is very common in babies and appears to be a collection of small red dots or red inflammed areas. The causes can vary from fungal and bacterial to allergic reactions. In any case it is very common and no matter how careful you are this is an ailment most babies will get at some point.
On top of my list of things to note about diaper rash is that girls are far more susceptible to it than boys as their vaginal skin is more sensitive and they are more prone to Urinary Tract Infections, generally and as a result of diaper rash. So for starters we need to take extra care when dealing with baby girls' private parts.
I am a believer in cloth diapers as these allow air to circulate unlike pampers and reduce the probability of developing rash. It's also a lot healthier for baby. Of course, for outings and for night time I do use pampers but during the day at home I tend to stick to cloth diapers. I couldn't find anything locally except for the regular cotton white cloth diapers that need to be folded and don't actually hold much of anything. We did purchase a lot of these and they are very useful for spit-up and mopping up spills. I understand that some moms try to use these in combination with plastic pants which is A+ for effort but this also impedes air circulation.
It took a while but my research showed cloth diapers have come a long way. And if you are willing to invest the money and time to launder them they are well worth it. Searching on Amazon or AliExpress or other online shopping platforms for "cloth diaper" will reveal the kind that I have purchased. You can rest assured that these are VERY high quality and stand up to the test of time and wash and wear. A good idea would be to buy additional inserts which can be removed to wash and a clean one put in its place while using the same outer diaper. I took some shots of how you can fasten the diaper for a smaller baby and as the baby's tummy and legs grow you simply move the fasteners outwards.
Cloth Diapers
Bamboo Insert Cloth Diaper
Cloth Diaper Folded for Small Baby
Cloth Diaper Folded for Bigger Baby
Cloth Diaper Folded for Toddler

These last the duration of your child's diaper years and are still in excellent condition to reuse for another child for the same duration. You can also get cloth diaper pull ups with the same bamboo inserts for when its time to potty train. These diapers are best initially soaked in a bucket with water and some Dettol, Savlon or other good quality antiseptic liquid before hand/machine washing. I bought 30 of the outer diapers and 60 inserts. This quantity lasts about 2-3 days when baby is small and urinates very frequently and lasts longer as they grow and urinate less often. It is a fairly big initial investment to get these diapers but if you think about the tradeoffs in the cost of pampers over the same time they are used, potentially expensive doctor visits for rash and the health of your child it may be well worth the money and time. 
For the second most important point I credit and will have to quote my Lamaze class teacher who has been a registered nurse and midwife for more than twenty years having served in this capacity in many countries across the world. She said (paraphrased), "The use of powder is a deep rooted West Indian cultural tradition. But it is the worst thing you can do to a baby as it raises their risk for asthma and does nothing positive from a hygiene standpoint. It is also a 'no-no' for use in the private parts as it traps dirt and sweat." She said while Vaseline is 'ok' it should also be avoided. The best thing you can do to prevent diaper rash and other infections in a baby's private parts is to use cloth diapers.
Vaseline simply functions to keep the moisture that can lead to infection away from the skin. A better alternative is coconut oil or olive oil. The best coconut oil can be bought in the market and is the freshest. My baby did not respond well to the coconut oil at first and olive oil seemed to agree with her better when she was young and her skin was more sensitive. Most babies should not have a problem with the coconut oil though. Both options should be applied in moderation (just a few drops to massage into the skin) and should be applied at night. Both coconut oil and olive oil have excellent natural antifungal and antibacterial properties.
A good option for the bath water (for most average sized bath tubs) in the case of diaper rash is to add about a tablespoon of baking soda and about 4-5 drops of tea tree oil. Note that this should be put into the final rinse water for baby when it's playtime with bath toys after all soaping and cleaning is done. Do not apply these directly to a baby's skin or make it too concentrated as it will cause irritation! Please also note that these recommendations are not a substitute for your over-the-counter diaper rash cream and can be used occasionally in a prophylactic manner or in conjunction with standard treatments prescribed by a medical professional. 

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