If your child has ever had a rash and you decided to Google it to see if you could figure out whether it was a diaper rash or yeast rash, you may have been overwhelmed with the results.
There are so many different types of rashes, many of which look the same, that it’s hard to tell which is which.
I hear a lot of moms (and yes, even some doctors) mistake yeast rashes for regular ole’ diaper rash.
It’s easy to do because at first, they both look very similar, but after a couple of days you can really start to see a difference… if you know what to look for.
Today I want to talk to you about the causes of these rashes, what you can do to prevent them, how to tell which is which, and what you can do to treat each of them quickly.
Causes Of Diaper Rash
Diaper rash (including yeast rash) is caused by a variety of different things, but the following 5 are what I’ve found to be the most common.
- Infrequent diaper changes
The most well-known diaper rash culprit is infrequent diaper changes.
Now, I’m a mom living in the real world of having 3 children and a load of responsibility, and this is a safe zone. I’m sure we’ve all let our kids wear a dirty diaper a little too long at some point or another… and yes, that includes wet diapers, not just poppy ones. No one here is judging you for that. The fact of the matter is this… diapers are a convenience, and we as moms can get busy and let them become REALLY convenient. For some babies and toddlers, this is more of a problem than for others. Some kids have sensitive skin and can develop a rash quickly and easily. Others (like mine) rarely get rashes… especially when it comes to wearing a diaper a little too long.
Foods are also a big cause of diaper rashes, specifically when your introducing solids to your baby.
Now, with my kids, I was never really been in a big hurry to get them eating on their own. They were all breastfed, and that’s what I wanted as their main source of nutrition. When it came time to introducing some first foods, I tried to focus on choosing foods that were less likely to irritate their bottoms (and their guts) when I first started feeding them. Mashed avocado is a first food in our house! This cut down on food related diaper rashes a lot for my babies.
As my kids got older and grew into toddlers, we still had some instances where they would all of a sudden get a terrible diaper rash because they ate something and their poo ended up becoming very acidic, burning their skin. No fun.
Another cause for diaper rashes is sickness.
When kids get sick their bodies and everything going on with them can change. Their gut can slow down because their body is putting a large amount of energy into fighting the sickness they’re dealing with. This can mean less digested foods, and it can also mean toxins in their poo as their body fights off the nasties that are making it sick. Both of these things can end in your little one having a red bottom.
Friction will also cause diaper rash on babies bottom.
This is seen mostly when a baby is in between diaper sizes. If you use disposable diapers, you won’t see this as much because disposable diapers sizes overlap a bit, but if you cloth diaper you may see it a bit more if your baby’s current diaper is a bit snug and the next size up is a bit too loose.
For the most part, diaper rash from friction will show up around the waste or the legs where the diaper would rub at.
Lastly, allergies can cause diaper rash.
No, I’m not talking about seasonal allergies. I’m talking about allergies to chemicals that cause a skin reaction. This could be from disposable diapers, the type of fabric used on your cloth diapers, to the detergent you’re using to wash diapers or clothes in. If your little one is sensitive to a chemical or fabric, their skin is going to react to it when exposed.
How To Tell If Baby’s Rash Is A Diaper Rash Or Yeast Rash
Over and over, you’re told that regular diaper rash is a red rash that is slightly raised or bumpy feeling and is scattered across the diaper area whereas a yeast rash is much more red (called beefy red) where the edge of the rash is very defined and raised and that there are bumps that surround the edge of the rash (called satellite lesions).
Not getting a mental image? Google is your friend although you may come across some photos of some really bad looking diaper rashes and question how on earth it got so bad or why no one did anything about it early on. Some are really pitiful. Just be aware.
For me, browsing through photos sometimes works and sometimes it doesn’t. Most times it doesn’t.
So how do I tell if my baby has a diaper rash or yeast rash? Well, I don’t really. What I do is that I always treat any rash on my kids bottom as if it were a regular diaper rash, and if it doesn’t go away or start to improve within a couple days, I’ll start treating for a yeast rash. This has always worked for us. I’ve never needed to take my kids to the doctor over a rash that wouldn’t go away on their bottom.
Preventing Diaper Rash
Prevention is always first. Always.
If you do your best at preventing your child from getting a diaper rash, yeast or not, you don’t have to worry so much about treating it, right? The thing is, it’s easier said than done, but we can all try our best.
First things first… change those diapers!!!
If your kid makes a poop, change it… within 10 minutes if at all possible. Don’t let it sit on their bottom… especially if they’re prone to getting a rash. Same thing with wet diapers except it’s not as frequently. What is it… change them every 2 hours if it’s wet diapers only? I honestly can’t remember, but I think it’s close to that. The skin can tolerate a wet diaper longer than a poopy diaper without developing a rash, but if you leave wet diapers on your baby all day, only changing it when it’s full and can’t hold anymore, you’re setting them up for a nasty rash (and most-likely a yeast one).
Warm, moist areas are breeding grounds for bacteria and yeast. The goal is to keep baby’s bum clean and dry.
When it comes to preventing diaper rash from foods, don’t rush into introducing foods. Baby’s love mama’s milk, and it’s so good for them. They don’t have to get going on solids right at 4 months. Give them some time. When you do begin to introduce solids to you baby, try out the Weston A. Price model of feeding babies and see how that works for you. I love it because I feel like it really works with your baby’s development and gives them optimal nutrition with breast milk or healthy homemade baby formula being the base of it all.
As far as sickness goes, there are a couple things to think about when it comes to preventing rashes. First of all, preventing sickness in the first place is #1. Feeding your kids healthy foods and healthy fats so their immune systems are running at an optimal level to keep their bodies healthy. If they do get sick, boosting their immune system with immune stimulating herbs and protecting their bottoms against nasty poos will go a long way in preventing diaper rash.
Friction diaper rashes are a no brainer… loosen up those diapers!
Same goes with allergies. When it comes to your kid getting a rash due to his diapers, it may take some time to figure out the exact cause of it. It could be the brand of disposable you’re using. It could be the type of material his diaper is made out of. It could be the detergent you’re using. In order to prevent this from happening, going with natural, un-dyed, un-scented, chemical free options are your best bet. Diaper rashes occur less frequently with cloth diapered babies than disposable diapered babies, and using a natural, homemade laundry detergent is way better for sensitive skin than store-bought baby detergents.
Lastly, and this one is big for me, protect those tushies! I’m religious about putting diaper cream and powder on my baby’s bottoms with each diaper change. Not only does this create a barrier between their skin and irritants, but it nourishes their skin at the same time. I’ve had enough nasty diaper rashes that make miserable babies and a sad mama to know better than to skip this part of our diapering routine.
Treating Diaper Rash Or Yeast Rash
So if you’ve done your part in preventing your little one from getting a diaper rash, and they still get one, there are some things you can do to help it get better quickly… naturally of course.
1. Air Out
One of the best things you can do is to take those diapers off (cloth and disposables) and let your baby’s bottom get some clean, fresh air and dry out. Let them take a nap without a diaper. Just cover your mattress with something that can be washed. Let them run around the house diaper-less for 30 minutes and clean up any accidents that do occur. This is easier if you don’t have carpet. If it’s warm outside, take them out and expose their bums to the sun! Vitamin D is a good thing!!
2. Soothe Skin
When a child has any sort of diaper rash, their bottom hurts. Sooth their skin by putting something on their bottom that will reduce friction against their diaper (as in herbal baby powder) and at the same time allow their skin to breath and heal.
Also, use products that are 100% natural and don’t have any medicines or chemicals in them which can further harm or burn the skin. There are plenty of products that contain herbs and minerals like zinc that protect and heal damaged skin. These sorts of things can make a world of difference in your baby’s comfort.
3. Switch Gears
If your child has a red rash that won’t go away with the above tactics, then consider that it could be a yeast rash. Regular treatment for regular diaper rashes tend to not work if the rash is a yeast rash. You’ll need something that is geared towards yeast.
There are over-the-counter anti-fungal medications that will work, but I wouldn’t advise that. They can make yeast resistant to them and cause it to come back with a vengeance if they’re used too much. Plus, typical anti-fungal medications are metabolized through the liver… even topical medications, which can bog down your little one’s liver and cause problems of it’s own. It’s best to go with something that will take care of yeast naturally.
Coconut oil has anti-fungal properties. Baking soda and diluted vinegar are anti-fungal. Anti-fungal herbs are also great to use in yeast creams and salves to help deal with yeast diaper rashes as well.
If you’re looking for actual recipes, I have an excellent one for diaper rashes in my Ultimate Guide to Herbal Butters & Creams and another that works wonders on yeast rashes in my Ultimate Guide to Herbal Ointments, Salves & Balms. Enjoy these guides and the exclusive remedy recipes you’ll find there!