Diaper rash is a very common skin condition. It mostly affects babies between 9 and 12 months old. The condition is usually not as a result of negligence. In fact, most babies will experience it at least once no matter how careful their moms are.
While diaper rash is not always obvious from its symptoms, it can be recognized during physical examination. The condition presents with signs similar to those of atopic dermatitis. These include pinkness or redness, bumps, skin irritation and dryness in the diaper area. Severe rash may present with signs that extend to adjacent areas not covered by diapers.
Only about 7% of all cases are treated medically. Most babies are able to recover at home. In this article, we look at the role of breast milk in diaper rash treatment, plus the other natural remedies that may also help.
Can breast milk heal diaper rash?
First of all, what is diaper rash? Diaper rash can be described as a form of atopic dermatitis that occurs in the diaper area. The following types can be identified:
Irritant diaper rash
This is the most common and perhaps the easiest to get rid of at home. It is caused by wet diapers, where moms leave soiled diapers on for too long. Normally, diaper changes should be done 8-10 times a day or after every two hours. It is recommended that you use a protective cream and powder when changing the diapers. Irritants can also be found in soaps, certain diaper brands, scented wipe and so on.
Contact diaper rash
This type is caused by friction between baby’s skin and diaper. Use larger diapers, applying powder and not fastening diapers too tightly can help.
Yeast rash usually occurs when your baby has had to use antibiotics in the recent past. It is characterized by small red spots that persist even with home treatments. Mums are advised to not use breast milk for diaper rash when yeast infection is responsible.
A staph or strep infection in the diaper area can present with the signs of a rash. For bacteria to reach the inside of skin there has to be a portal of entry, usually already irritated skin or sores. Bacterial infections are characterized by pus-filled blisters which easily break open and ooze.
Seborrhea is a skin condition that mostly begins in skin folds such as between the thighs. If left untreated, it can spread to body areas such as the face and scalp. Seborrhea is characterized by red, greasy, scaly and sometimes yellow skin patches.
Why do babies get diaper rash? Any of the following can cause diaper rash:
- wetness in diaper region
- new foods
- use of new products such as different brand of soap
- bacterial infection
- yeast overgrowth
So can breast milk heal diaper rash? Like other natural remedies, breast milk may or may not heal diaper rash.
How breast milk for diaper rash may help
If you are sitting there wondering if breast milk for diaper rash will work or not, below is some information that may help.
It fights bacterial infections:
There are antibodies in breast milk that help fight bacterial infections, especially ear infections. Several drops are to be applied directly.
Breast milk contains lauric acid. This is the same substance that gives antimicrobial properties to coconut oil. Other than fighting pathogens, lauric acid may succeed in reducing inflammation.
Promotes skin healing:
Other than antibodies, moisturizers are also to be found in breast milk. These help in keeping affected areas from drying out and thus promote faster recovery.
Has antiseptic properties:
Severe rash in diaper region is usually caused by bacterial or yeast infection. For either to reach superficial tissue, the skin has to be broken or cracked. Breast milk has antiseptic properties which promote quicker healing and thus prevents germs from entering the skin.
As you can see, breast milk has several properties that may help with diaper rash. Regardless, most of these benefits can be gotten from other treatment options such as hydrocortisone cream, essential oils or diaper rash cream. But breast milk is more affordable, easy to use and safer. It perhaps is the safest of all newborn diaper rash remedies.
Treating diaper rash with breast milk
When it comes to treating diaper rash with breast milk, the easiest method is to apply a little of it onto the rash and allow it to dry.
The other alternative is to make a skin lotion out of breast milk. In fact, this option has gained a lot of popularity in the recent past. Some moms claim that it cures most skin conditions, including eczema, acne, burns and diaper rash.
- You will need beeswax, coconut oil, grapefruit seed extract, vitamin E capsule and breast milk.
- Melt the beeswax and add coconut oil or grapefruit seed extract. You can use either.
- once melted, add breast milk until a lotion or cream forms.
- open the vitamin E capsule and smooth its contents into the cream.
- store in an airtight container.
The recommended measurement of ingredients depends on the amount of cream or lotion you desire. Also, a cream will require more concentrated ingredients than lotion. Start with 1 cup of breast milk and work yourself around. You may not come up with the best homemade diaper rash cream at first.
While breast milk lotions and creams are generally well tolerated, it is important that you first try it on a small area before applying it liberally, especially for newborns.
When not to use breast milk for diaper rash
Breast milk is all natural. It contains antibodies and other beneficial nutrients, which makes it a very possible treatment choice.
Regardless, treatment with breast milk is advised against when diaper rash is caused by yeast overgrowth. The milk contains natural sugars that will most likely spur yeast growth.
Yeast overgrowth is often caused by use of antibiotics by either baby or mother. Antibiotics kill the good bacteria that keep yeast growth in intestines and on skin in control.
A yeast diaper rash is not always obvious. Typical signs include bold redness, red lesions on raised skin area and well defined borders. The rash usually starts in skin folds where conditions are dark, moist and warm. It is not uncommon for diaper rash on vagina to be caused by yeast overgrowth.
Other natural remedies to try
Along with breast milk, you can try the following other natural remedies:
- Coconut oil – as mentioned earlier, the same lauric acid found in breast milk can also be found in coconut oil. It gives antimicrobial properties to the oil.
- Olive oil – a powerful skin soother and moisturizer. It provides almost similar benefits like diaper rash cream.
- Cornstarch – cornstarch reduces friction and keeps the diaper region without moisture. It remains debatable whether cornstarch actually plays a role in faster recovery from diaper rash.
- Apple cider vinegar – apple cider vinegar reduces irritation effects of ammonia which is present in urine and fecal matter mixture.
- Baking soda – when diaper rash is being caused by diarrhea or acidity in poop, try baking soda. It can be used directly or in baths.
Apart from natural remedies, much can also be achieved with self care measures. For instance, mums are advised to avoid foods that cause diaper rash in toddlers, make diaper changes after every two hours and apply diaper rash cream at every diaper change. You can start by searching for the best baby diaper rash cream.
If home remedies are not working, consider over the counter options such as Balmex diaper rash cream. See your doctor should the rash prove unresponsive for more than 3-5 days.
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