The Evil Diaper Rash and How to Treat It

 Our baby started daycare at just over 7 months and we braced ourselves for the first cold we’d heard would follow within the first two weeks. Sure enough, right on cue, she started coming down with something 10 days later. On the second day of it, she just looked downright miserable – sniffling, coughing, fever – and she was pretty out of it. We thought it was the worst!

That is, until the diaper rash that followed the cold.

Suddenly, we were wishing that it was still just a harmless little cold, because that was nothing compared to this raging rash. Her poor little bum was totally red and raw, and she was screaming through every diaper change since it was so painful.

I immediately contacted a friend who’s a dermatologist to ask what to do. Then I rushed out and bought all the supplies (and doughnuts) that would get us through the day until my Amazon order of the really good stuff came through.

Here are the tips I learned to treat the rash, which helped it to heal pretty quickly. It was only VERY bad for one, traumatizing day. Some redness continued for another few days until her post-cold diarrhea cleared up, so we kept up the regimen, but every day it got a little better – and she didn’t seem to be in pain anymore, which was the most important thing.

But first, before we get to the good stuff, two quick disclaimers: (1) I am not a medical professional, just your average mom, and these are only my suggestions based on my personal experience. (2) The links contained in this blog post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. More info at the very bottom of this post. And now, drum roll please, how to treat a nasty butt rash…

Treat Diaper Rash: The 12-Step Program

  • Give them as much diaper-free time as possible to let things air out. I put large-sized Chux pads down on her Baby Care play mat to help contain the mess (believe me, you want these when there is greenish liquidy poop flowing freely – I would say “TMI” but let’s face it, we parents are completely desensitized to poop talk within 24 hours of having a baby).
  • Use Water Wipes or just soft cloth wipes dampened with warm water, and pat instead of rub. Better yet, when possible and especially after a poop, do a Sitz bath in a little warm water with some gentle soap (I like Aquaphor Baby).
  • If you do the bath, blow dry with a cool hairdryer. If you’re using wipes or damp cloths, pat dry with a soft dry cloth – I got these disposable cloths, which are great  and very inexpensive.
  • Make sure the area is COMPLETELY dry before you put on any creams or ointments; otherwise they’ll lock in the moisture and make it worse.
  • DO NOT USE BREAST MILK ON THE RASH. There are people who claim that breast milk cures anything and everything – but if the rash is fungal, the sugar in the milk will only feed the yeast and make it worse.
  • The very best over-the-counter stuff is Triple Paste AF (different from regular Triple Paste – and no, the AF doesn’t stand for that, although it should because this stuff is amazing AF). I went to three different drug stores and wasn’t able to find it, so I rush ordered it from Amazon.
  • While waiting for it to come, you can sort of make your own with Clotrimazole, Aquaphor and a strong butt cream with high zinc content – I like Boudreaux’s Butt Paste Extra Strength because it doesn’t contain any added fragrance like other well-known brands (ahem, Desitin). Mix it together and layer on a thick paste like frosting.
  • OR you can also just put on a thin layer of the Clotrimazole with a thick layer of extra strength butt paste over the top. Alternate the Clotrimazole with 1% hydrocortisone cream. Do this at least 2-3 times per day.
  • Our doc said it’s also ok to give Infants’ Tylenol if the baby is in a lot of pain and I think this definitely helped her when she was at the height of pain. Be sure to check the correct dosage based on your baby’s weight.
  • Since it’s not realistic to do diaper-free time ALL day long, just be sure to change the diaper frequently so the baby isn’t sitting in a wet or dirty diaper for long.
  • Overnight, no need to wake them to change the diaper (especially if you put a thick layer of butt paste on before bed to protect the skin, which will help to keep the moisture off the skin). I’m a big fan of Pampers Baby Dry for overnight, and I also used these Sposie Booster Pads in the diaper during peak redness, since they’re great for wicking away extra moisture.
  • We also started feeding her bland and constipating foods (bananas, applesauce, rice cereal, toast) to try to stop the diarrhea, which was making the rash worse, and stayed away from the laxative foods (pears, prunes, plums peaches) or anything too acidic (citrus, tomatoes, etc.).

If you follow all of that rigorously, the rash should get better fairly quickly. If it’s not getting any better within a few days, it’s probably a good idea to get it checked out by a doctor and/or to explore other reasons why the rash might be reoccurring – e.g., an allergy, the type of wipe or diaper being used, etc. I’ve also heard some stories about the natural wipes getting moldy if they’ve been open too long and causing a rash, so check over your wipes to make sure they’re mold-free!

Now, if we ever see her bum starting to get a little pink, we put either a thin layer of Triple Paste AF or the Clotrimazole and a thick layer of regular Boudreaux’s Butt Paste (which I now buy by the tub-full) on before bed, and it’s usually cleared up by morning.

Wishing the best butt luck to you and your baby!


(1) I am not a doctor or health professional of any kind, just your average mom and these are just my suggestions based on my own experience. So do not consider this to be medical advice, take or leave these tips, ask your pediatrician if you’re unsure about anything, I am not liable, yada yada yada.

(2) The links contained in this blog post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. But rest assured, I did not get any of these products for free in exchange for promotion, so they are truly my own personal recommendations.

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