An infant’s diaper needs to be changed every two to four hours during waking hours and always after a bowel movement to prevent diaper rash. It is not necessary to wake an infant in the middle of the night to change the infant’s diaper, however if during a night feeding the diaper is wet it can be changed. If the infant has a bowel movement in the middle of the night she should be changed as soon as it’s noticed. Sitting in a soiled diaper for a prolonged period of time can lead to skin irritation and diaper rash, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
When caring for the infant’s diaper area always wipe front to back, away from the infant’s vagina or penis towards the anus. Baby wipes or a wet, soft cloth can be used. Remove stool and urine using a fresh wipe with each swipe. If the infant’s diaper is on too tight or if the infant sweats a lot her skin might become irritated. Soak an infant’s irritated bottom in warm water, pat it dry and leave the skin exposed to the air for 15 minutes to help soothe the irritation.
An infant with a diaper rash will have red, rough and scaly skin in the diaper area. The area could also appear to be covered in pimples. Soaking the infant’s bottom, patting it dry and applying a preventive cream can help to protect the skin. Zinc oxide based products, vitamin A and D ointments and petroleum jelly can all be effective in treating diaper rash. If the rash does not clear in a few days, it could indicate an allergy to laundry detergent if the baby is wearing cloth diapers or to a chemical in a disposable diaper. A persistent diaper rash that doesn’t respond to diaper rash cream could also be yeast or another type of infection. Children who are taking an antibiotic may also develop a diaper rash as the antibiotic will kill useful bacteria in addition to harmful bacteria. Once the course of the antibiotics has ended the rash should clear up.
Nannies should always report diaper rashes of any kind to their employer. If consulted, infant’s doctor may recommend a topical antifungal cream or other medication to eliminate the rash. If a diaper rash is extensive or looks infected, the infant’s doctor might prescribe a hydrocortisone cream to reduce the inflammation or an antibacterial ointment.