Special Needs Sunday: Severe Diaper Rash

24 Aug

When Jenna was an infant, we were constantly fighting battles with diaper rash. Actually, that term doesn’t even begin to do justice to the problems she had. It was more like perpetual-raw-and-acid-burned-bum-and-labia syndrome. We’re talking about problems so severe that she would have open, raw and sometimes bleeding places on her skin. Poor little thing. As a result, she spent a lot of time on her tummy with her bare little bum sticking up in the air and a light shining on it (a trick we learned in the NICU). Here’s a sad picture of her little raw butt airing out in the NICU. Doesn’t she look miserable? If you click on the picture, you can see the raw, redness of her tiny little tush.

Here’s another (Yes – I’m sure she’ll kill me someday when she’s in high school, but it’s just a butt!)

It’s quite likely that she had more problems in the diaper area because of her intestinal issues. She was much more prone to diarrhea, and because everything moves through her super-short intestines much faster than it does for the rest of us, her poops are a lot more acidic. Even with constant diaper changes, the sensitive skin down there does NOT like to have acidic yuck on it.

We tried about every product available. At one point, we were even prescribed a cream/paste that they use on burn victims (we weren’t impressed). One thing we learned very quickly: products with zinc oxide (i.e., MOST BABY DIAPER CREAMS!) were a no-no. For some reason, they seemed to intensify the redness and rawness. I couldn’t believe how many diaper creams contained zinc oxide! Apparently, it must work well for most other kids. So began my quest for an effective, safe and gentle diaper cream. We needed something that would work as a barrier against the diarrhea and acid, and we needed something that would help heal.

Here’s what we found that worked:

  • Hydrocortisone Ointment – we used when the first signs of redness started appearing, and only until the redness subsided. We used ointment instead of cream for its barrier properties.
  • California Baby Calendula Cream – we followed up the Hydrocortisone Ointment with this for about a week. Now that she doesn’t have as much trouble, this is what we use at the first signs of redness.
  • Alba Multi-Purpose Un-petroleum Jelly – when she doesn’t have a rash going on, we use a thin coat of this at every diaper change as a barrier. We always use it overnight, when she’s in one diaper the longest length of time. If she has a rash, we apply one of the other products first, and this one lightly on top.
  • Lanisoh – Also used this for a while with some success instead of the Alba product as a barrier.

Occasionally, the rash/burn would evolve into a yeast infection, and we found over-the-counter Lotrimin (or its equivalent) mixed with the Alba Jelly to be effective. I should also mention that we keep a soft, clean cotton diaper with our diapering supplies and pat her bottom dry EVERY time we change her.

When the rash was at it’s worst, we stopped using baby wipes and used soft, cotton squares (like what you find in the make-up aisle) dipped in water with a drop of tea tree oil (which is good for a million things – I LOVE it!). We would pat her dry and place her on her tummy with a positionable floor or desk lamp beside her shining right on her tush. It worked best to lay her on a large continence pad for ease of clean up. We tried softly patting over-the-counter liquid antacid on the area and letting it air and dry, but we never really noticed that this sped things up.

Let me stress that this information is not meant to replace the advice of a doctor. These were our own experiences and solutions, and they may not be what works for you. I’m sharing them because they might give you an idea you hadn’t thought of or something else to discuss with your doctor. Please know that any persistent diaper rash should be discussed with your doctor to rule out more serious infection or fungal problems.

Finally, here’s a site with some good diaper rash information.


Posted by on August 24, 2008 in Jenna, Parenting tips, Special Needs


13 responses to “Special Needs Sunday: Severe Diaper Rash

  1. iMommy

    August 24, 2008 at 3:45 am

    Can you shed some, er, light on why shining a light on the bum helps?

  2. anymommy

    August 24, 2008 at 4:55 am

    We are dealing with a horrendous diaper rash right now. I didn’t know they got this bad and I have no idea what happened except that our little guy isn’t feeling that great. Anyway, thanks! I just dug out our tube of Lanisoh – hoping that helps tomorrow.

  3. Holly

    August 24, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Love your suggestions. I just recently went through the same thing with my daughter. She has SBS as well.
    Here’s my post on it:

    I just found your blog and I am super excited about looking around already!

  4. psychmamma

    August 24, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    iMommy –

    I really don’t know for sure (and I tried looking it up), but my guess is that, mostly, it keeps the area completely dry. There are lots of articles on “phototherapy” for other skin conditions though, that discuss the effects of the radiation from the light on the skin cells. I just know it worked wonderfully. I should not that you need to be very careful about keeping the baby far enough from the light to avoid burns and testing their skin with your hand now and then to make sure it’s not to hot/burning. We frequently moved the light just slightly until it had totally “orbited” her bum. We did have one time when she was older and lots more wiggly that she kicked her foot out and hit the bulb. It was only a slight burn, but we felt HORRIBLE.

    AnyMommy –

    So sorry! As messy as it is, the number one way to get over it fast is to let them just have a bare bum. When J had diarrhea horribly, we papered her crib or Pack-n-Play with continence pads and kept her in there all day with a bare bum and (washable) toys. Here’s hoping your problems clear up fast!

    Holly –

    So glad you found me! I’m always on the lookout for other blogging moms with kids with SBS!! So far, you’re the first I’ve found! I’ll be checking out your site today.

  5. Renee aka MekhisMom

    August 24, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Like you I found that the remedies you used worked. I am sorry your baby had to go thru such painful diaper rash! Luckily my son only had one bout -that was treated with Lotrimin but it bothered me more than it bothered him.

  6. Jenny

    August 25, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    I am so glad I found this post! Thank you, thank you!! We have been trying forever to find something that will work. My son actually suffers from chronic constipation, which you wouldn’t think would induce diaper rash. But after not going for several days, he’ll really need to go but will be scared that it’s going to hurt, so he’ll just go a little bit, over and over and over again. Some days we’ll have to change his diaper 15-20 times. He too has had the bright red skin that cracks and bleeds. We’ve tried all the OTC creams, and they just don’t seem to do anything.

    I’m going to write down all of your suggestions and look into getting them. Thank you again for sharing all of this!!

  7. psychmamma

    August 25, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Renee –

    I think most of the time our baby’s illnesses and injuries hurt us as much, if not more than, them! 😉

    Jenny –

    I hope that you find something that works. Ouchy bottom is no fun for anyone.

  8. Carrie (Justthatgirl)

    October 8, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Poor little love! My kids have had some pretty acidic poops, too, and the calendula cream and wipes w/ TTO were a DEFINITE help. Now I use a spray bottle w/ distilled water, TTO, and GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) in it and I spray my youngest every time. It helps. The GSE fights any yeast, too.

    My mom used Bag Balm (for cow’s udders) for my youngest bro’s very bad rash.

  9. mariah

    May 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    My daughter had severe diaper rashes when she was young, I used live active yogurt. Something to do with yeast, it worked. Just rubbed that stuff all over the place. She’s adorable

  10. @heartmychloe

    July 16, 2009 at 7:11 am

    amazing post. thanks for guiding me here. chloe has the same acid problem coming out of her rear. i’ll pick up some hydrocortisone ointment tomorrow and try the light trick, too.

    thank you again!

  11. sandrar

    September 11, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  12. Jeannie

    January 12, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    When my son was an infant he had frequent bouts with diaper rash. We tried everything we could think of. We kept a blow dryer at the changing table, let him go bottomless as much as possible (he started running at 8 1/2 months-not easy to chase a peeing, pooping boy all day!), and tried every diaper ointment that could be bought at Kroger or Wal-Mart. On two occasions the rash got so bad, -chafed and bleeding, that we had to take him to the pediatrician. He prescribed an antibiotic ointment that gave little to no results. It was that weekend that we were travelling to visit family and were told of this great salve that my husband’s grandmother used to use on all her kids. It was said that she used it on pretty much any skin ailment that itched, oozed, or burned. His aunt offered up the remainder of what she had. We used it, thinking, “here we go again” but hoping it worked. Let me tell you this, the diaper rash that he’d had for a whole month (and been treated by the dr. for) was gone in 3 days~GONE!!! I thought, HALLELUJAH!! Not only has this ointment been a lifesaver, it has become a must have in our household. My son is now 10 and plays many sports. He gets chafed quite a bit and we still rely on it to heal him quickly. We all use it now. We’ve used it for chafing, poison ivy, windburn, you name it. The name of it is Resinol. It comes in two sizes- a teeny-tiny jar, and a bigger version as well. It is an over-the-counter product but is not carried by any places near where we live. We just go to the pharmacy at our local grocery store (Kroger) and ask them to order it for us. They are more than happy to do this for us and it’s usually there by the next day! I haven’t bought any in a while but I think the price was around $9 for a 3.3oz jar. Best money spent on butt cream ever!
    The ingredient list is: Petrolatum 55%, Resorcinol 2%
    Inactive Ingredients: Calamine, Cornstarch, Lanolin, Zinc Oxide.

  13. psychmamma

    January 18, 2010 at 1:10 am

    Jeannie –

    Thanks so much for the info!! Hopefully, someone else might find it helpful as well. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: