Booty Rash From Hell

Hi Mamas,

I’ve totally HAD IT with my 7 month old’s diaper rash, and I don’t know what to do! It’s red, angry, and sometimes it even bleeds. I’ve put everything on it I can think of, including desitin, butt paste (recommended by YOU), and every other brand name I can find. Nothing seems to help for more than a couple days and my poor little guy is suffering. It’s the booty rash from hell. Please tell me how to make it better.

Baby’s Hurting!


Hi Sonya,

Your frustration comes through loud and clear. Diaper rashes can be a pain in the you-know-what and some babies tend to get them while others don’t, no matter how diligent you are about keeping their little bums clean and dry.

That said, it sounds like this may be a rash of a different color, so to speak. Sometimes, when baby’s sensitive skin gets inflamed by the irritating byproducts of pee and poop it’s a set-up for infection with microbes that live in the neighborhood. Yeast, staph and strep are the usual suspects.

When this happens you must cure the infection to 86 the rash. Diaper rash creams can’t do the job, no matter how good they are at forming a barrier between the skin and the offending waste — that barrier’s already been breached (and we stand by our Butt Paste advice … it ROCKS).

The first step is to make an appointment with kiddo’s doc to take a look-see. Often rashes and microbes have their own distinctive personality that can be spotted by the trained eye (one that sees scores of baby butts each week), so take advantage of her expertise.

While you’re waiting for appointment time, pick up a couple of over-the-counter items at the pharmacy to try a quick and crafty cure. Since the most common cause of a rash like the one you’re describing is yeast overgrowth (yeast love to multiply in moist, dark places), an anti-fungal cream like Lamisil or any other common brand is a must. Grab a tube of 1% hydrocortisone cream along with it to calm the inflammation and you’re good to go.

Mix a squirt of the anti-fungal with a squirt of  the hydrocortisone cream in the palm of your hand. Apply this mixture to babe’s clean, dry butt 2-3X a day until you get in to see the doctor. Continue to use your barrier cream over the mixture.

If yeast is the culprit things should improve pretty rapidly and the rash should clear up within a few days. Be sure to tell your doctor about your ‘home’ remedy. If you don’t see improvement, a bacteria like staph or strep may be to blame and an antibiotic preparation (prescription needed) will help.

The good news is that diaper rashes improve tremendously when babies learn to walk and aren’t spending all their time sitting on their little tushies, and they disappear entirely with successful potty training.

Thanks for asking this one, Sonya. Lots of babies struggle with this, and you gave us a chance to share one of our over-the-counter secrets.

Hang in there!

~  The Mamas

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.

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