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Calming Diaper Rash

Diaper rash results from contact with urine or feces, which cause the skin to produce less protective oil and therefore provide a less effective barrier to further irritation. Almost all babies suffer from diaper rash at some point, and it can be very uncomfortable. Here are some of the best ways to deal with it.

  • Change your baby’s diapers more frequently, and allow her to spend time without a diaper on

  • If you are using cloth diapers, consider changing to disposables for a while; they tend to be better at keeping urine away from your baby’s skin

  • If she continues to wear cloth diapers, put them through an extra rinse cycle to be sure there are no traces of detergent

  • Don’t use baby wipes with alcohol, which can dry the skin on your baby’s bottom—use water and cotton balls instead

  • Avoid using soap or any other detergents on the diaper area—rinse carefully with clean water at each diaper change

  • Zinc oxide is an excellent barrier cream for the diaper area, and can also encourage healing

  • After baths, pat the diaper area dry instead of rubbing, which can further irritate the skin

  • Make sure her bottom dries fully after each cleaning before you put a new diaper on

  • Try different brands of wipes, diapers, or baby wash if the rash persists

  • Make sure your baby is drinking enough, to reduce the acidity of her urine

  • If your baby’s rash has white patches, she may have a yeast infection; antifungal ointments may be prescribed

  • Diaper rash that does not heal within a week should be seen by a doctor; in very severe cases, your doctor may recommend a mild corticosteroid ointment or cream


Ease the Crying

As your baby becomes more settled—usually between six weeks and three months—her crying will change and you will be able to distinguish different cries indicating different needs. Sometimes she may be hungry, or suffering from colic; she may have a diaper rash, or she may be lonely and just want to be held. Here are some tips:

  • Many babies respond to being held and rocked, although you may find, frustratingly, that something that worked one day may not work the next

  • Babies often like to have their heads near your chest, in order to hear your heartbeat

  • Rhythmical sounds, such as low music or even the sound of the vacuum cleaner, soothe babies

  • If your baby is eased off to sleep by rocking, settle yourself in a position where you can comfortably rock her cradle or swing with a free hand or foot

  • Many babies like to feel securely wrapped, so you can make her feel more comfortable by swaddling her before settling her down; other babies may feel constrained by swaddles, so a sleep sack will keep her warm

  • Some babies need to suck to get to sleep or to settle, which is why they feed almost constantly when they are upset—if your baby is not hungry, she may find comfort from a pacifier

  • You can calm her down by giving her a light massage with a soothing oil

  • Try not to be anxious—babies have amazing antennae and will respond to your distress in kind

  • You may find that, if you set up a routine that makes her feel secure, she will calm down and feel more comfortable during the day

  • If crying begins after feeding, after switching from breastmilk to formula, or after a change in formula, talk to your baby’s pediatrician—there may be problems with the formula your baby is taking


Encouraging Bonding

Bonding is the intense attachment that develops between parents and their baby. A baby who experiences this attachment fosters a sense of security and positive self-esteem. Here’s how it’s done.

Bonding with mom

  • Touch is effectively your baby’s first language, so give her plenty of it; babies respond to the smell and touch of their mothers in particular

  • If you are breastfeeding, you are creating the ideal conditions for mother-baby bonding, with your skin against her cheek

  • If you are bottle-feeding, hold your baby close to you and let her know that she’s safe in your arms; skin-to-skin contact is recommended

  • Eye-to-eye contact provides meaningful communication

  • Smile at your baby and exaggerate your facial expressions; even early on she will try to imitate them

  • Your baby will be familiar with your voice from her time spent in the womb, and she will feel comforted and close to you when she hears you

Bonding with siblings

  • Don’t worry if this gets off to a faltering start—the sibling bond is an intense one, and your new baby will be willing to bond with anyone who loves her and meets her needs, even if your other children are less willing

  • Prepare young children in advance, explaining that the new baby will need a lot of attention, and probably won’t be much fun for a few months

  • Ask your little one to choose a gift to give to the new baby, and find something your child really wants as a gift from her new sibling

  • Ensure that your children feel loved, and part of the new-baby experience

  • Involve your children in the care of your new baby

  • Allow little ones to bathe together, and spend time naked—they will enjoy this intimate experience

  • Cuddle the new baby and older children together, so that they feel they are part of the same unit

Bonding with dad

  • Be patient. This normally occurs on a different timetable, mainly because dads don’t have the same early contact with their new baby, and also because baby hasn’t spent the last nine months sharing the same space with dad

  • It’s helpful for dads to set up their own regular routines with their babies, which establish them as “different” from mom, but equally loving and caring

  • Skin-to-skin contact can be enormously effective

  • Dads can read or sing to baby, and share a bath; mimicking baby’s cooing or other vocalizations can establish a rapport

  • Carrying baby in a front-loading sling is a good way for baby and dad to bond, as it lets baby feel the different textures of dad’s face

  • If you are bottle-feeding, dad can offer a regular feed each day; if you are breastfeeding, consider expressing so that he can do an evening feed

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