DIAPERS

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DIAPER TYPE: Diapers are another area of controversy and worry with many parents in our age of environmental concerns. In the past, studies showed that the use of cloth diapers reduced the number of diaper rashes, but not as much if plastic pants were used over them. The better diapers made since the mid 1990's cause babies to have much less diapers rashes and I rarely see parents using cloth diapers anymore. Changing your baby often and following the advice under DIAPER RASHES will reduce the number of rashes in both types of diaper usage. The brand of disposable diaper you chose does not really matter much, but some babies have rashes where the plastic meets their skin and a change in brand usually fixes this. The cost in dollars is roughly the same over a 2 year period for both types (roughly $2,200 in 1989). The environmental cost is still debated, but consider that the chemicals used and sludge produced by cleaning cloth diapers is probably not much worse or better than landfills filled with plastic diapers. Finally consider that you will change on the average of 5-6,000 diapers over the next 2-3 years and you may want to use the easiest to change. By the way, there are cloth diapers with Velcro closures.

DIAPER CHANGING: Try to change your baby's diaper as soon as it is soiled as possible. WETNESS CAUSES DIAPER RASHES and the less your baby is exposed to wetness the less you will have to deal with diaper rashes. Also, for the first couple of months and whenever your baby has a rash, diaper wipes may be irritating to your baby's skin. If you notice redness on the skin when using the wipes, then this may be the cause. Clean your baby's bottom (including all of the cracks and crevices) with water and a clean cloth (these can be kept in a plastic zip lock bag when away from home). After your baby's bottom is clean, dry the bottom thoroughly especially in the creases. Remember that yeast infections, a.k.a diaper rashes, are caused by moisture. Your baby's skin should be dry to the touch before you do anything else. You can speed the drying process by fanning the bottom with the diaper or using a hair dryer on low heat. After your baby's bottom is thoroughly dry, then you can apply any powder or cream you wish or just put on a diaper. When applying a powder, NEVER SHAKE THE POWDER OVER THE BABY. This will cause an aerosol that the baby will inhale and that can damage your baby's lungs or worse. Always apply the powder to your hand and then from your hand to your baby's bottom. Any cream is OK, but A&D and Desitin are the most commonly used (we used plain Vaseline). When fastening the diaper remember that the gathers around the leg should be loose enough to fit one finger under or your baby's legs may turn blue or swell up.

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DIAPER RASH IN THE FRONT OF THE DIAPER AREA: Diaper rashes that are light pink will usually go away with the use of most over the counter diaper creams such as A&D and Desitin. If the rash is bright red with surrounding spots of redness, is around the front of the diaper area, gets worse or does not change with the usual creams and is not associated with other signs of illness, then your child most likely has a yeast infection. Yeast infections are caused by antibiotics, a wet diaper staying on too long, occasionally just happen and are usually worsened by diaper creams because they seal in heat and moisture which helps the yeast grow. Most yeast infections can be cured by changing the diaper as soon as possible after it is wet and drying the skin as thoroughly as possible. If this does not work or you wish a faster cure, then use over the counter Clotrimazole. Clotrimazole is the medicine in Lotrimin, Gynelotrimin, Femcare, and Mycelex (not Monistat). The generics are just as effective and are usually half price. Apply the Clotrimazole at every diaper change until the rash is gone and then for 1 or 2 more days as some of the yeast will still be there after you can’t see it. The rash will be better in 2 to 4 days and usually will be cured in 7 to 21 days. Make sure not to buy Lotrimin AF for athletes foot as this contains an acid and may sting if used in the diaper area.

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DIAPER RASHES AROUND THE BOTTOM: Diaper rashes around the bottom are usually caused by irritation from either harsh stools or diarrhea and may be caused or worsened with the use of diaper wipes. This type of rash is usually not a yeast infection and is not usually helped with the medicine used to treat yeast infections. To help this rash first stop using diaper wipes and start using cloth and water. Dry the area thoroughly, dry the area thoroughly and dry the area thoroughly. That was not a typo. If the area is raw, apply Maalox ( yes the antacid ) and let dry. The Maalox is a buffer that neutralizes the harsh chemicals in stool and helps heal the skin. Next apply Vaseline to the rash as this is the thickest barrier and is much better than other diaper creams.

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