Diaper rashes are something that every parent has to deal with at some point in the parenting journey, right?! I think a lot of parents have kind of just accepted it as part of the deal. Diapers equal diaper rashes. It had not dawned on me fully just how accepting we have become of this until recently when I was chatting with a mom about a rash her son had. She felt like it was par for the course. That as long as her child was wearing diapers they would be battling a rash.
Well I’m here to tell you it’s not normal! Unfortunately because we have gotten so use to just treating things when they arise we have missed the importance of looking at the root cause.
For most children a diaper rash is bound to happen at some point. We are wrapping their bottoms in a moisture barrier to keep bacteria form leaking out on to the floor. However, if it is a re-occuring problem then you might need to do some investigating. The most common cause is an allergic reaction is either to chemicals or dyes in the diapers, lotions and/or detergents.
When I had my first child I was committed to a Huggies. They had the cutest little pictures on them, gender neutral and not too specific to a cartoon character. They seemed softer and less paperie. They were also the brand that the hospital used so I knew they must be the best. The newborn diapers where fine for us but at about 3 months in, when I switched to the next size up, I noticed my son was developing a pretty intense diaper rash. Everyone asked me if I had changed my diet? Which, as first time nursing mom, was my immediate thought, it must be me!
During this time I had a friend recommend a new diaper brand to me. She told me it was much more affordable and they really liked how well the diapers held blowouts, a dream for any parent! When I switched to the new diapers the rash immediately began to go away. It had never occurred to me at the time that the diaper would actually be causing the problem. Low and behold it was. Subsequentally, I went back to Huggies after having my second son because I, like most parents assumed my first son was just “sensitive” to the diapers, but again had the same problem with the rash. I switched to the Pampers this time and noticed that the rash got even worse. To this day I have found that 7th Generation is hands down the best diaper in terms of affordability, the quality of the material they use and their protection against leaks. Next to cloth diapers they have worked best for me.
I think there is a belief that if your child’s skin can not handle chemical exposure for an extended period of time then the the child is “sensitive” or weak. This is not true, non of us can handle prolonged exposure to chemicals. Some of us have immune systems that take longer to respond to a reaction then others or will express a reaction in a different way. If your child is having a reaction to something the skin is a tell tale sign.
Another cause of diaper rash is diet, especially in older children once they start solid foods. In these cases food that is acidic or is a little more irritating to the skin will leave a rash if the child is sitting in the irritant too long. There are times when I just can’t change a diaper, or we are on the road and have run out of them. Sometimes we are in a rush to get some where and can’t stop right then to change a diaper, it happens!! Know that this might sometimes be the cause as well. Take note of the things your child is eating and see if there is a reaction 12-24 hours later. A food allergy or sensitivity will not be confined to just the bottom it will be apparent in other areas of the body as well. If this is the case you need visit your doctor to make sure there is not a food allergy.
Note that children can have sensitivities to food in breast milk as well. If you are breastfeeding you may want to pay attention to what you eat and the reaction your child might be having to that. Diary is a big contributor to sensitivities in breastfeeding babies, but it can also be something as simple as red peppers.
If you do have to deal with a diaper rash at some point is it important to pay close attention to what ingredients are used in the diaper creams. The skin is a direct line to the blood stream and not a very good filter of toxins. One of the most damaging ingredients is fragrances. Many synthetic chemicals in fragrances are derived from petrochemicals (petroleum-based). Chemicals found in man-made fragrances include phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors, and benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and toluene, which are known carcinogens. Some fragrance compounds are neurotoxicants and others are linked with reproductive birth defects. In addition, some children and adults have allergic or hypersensitivity reactions to fragrance chemicals. Also note that companies can lump a bunch of different chemicals under the term “fragrance”, meaning they don’t have to layout everything they use to make the product smell good.
In our house I use a brand call Pure Haven. Their products are 100% non toxic, meaning they don’t contain any synthetic or man made chemicals and are organic. I will not put anything else on my children’s skin. It is only deemed safe if I know my kids can ingest it. Feel free to check out all their products and let me know if you have any questions. I am such a big fan of these products that I started carrying them to offer them to my clients as a really great starting point for eliminating toxins from your life.
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