Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Skinny On: Diaper Cream

I am paranoid about diaper rash.  I wasn’t always. I was actually pretty blasé about the whole thing because Sophie only had the tiniest bit of diaper rash during her first year of life.  At any sign of redness or irritation (usually from heat or a long car trip) I would dry her off and slather on one of the five different diaper creams people gave me for my shower and viola -- it was gone.  I didn’t really understand how kids could have such bad diaper rash (and some of them seemed to have it all the time).  With my ignorance came hubris.  I could say I didn’t judge other moms diapering skills or wonder what they were doing wrong – but that’d be a bold faced lie.  I had trouble with nursing and had my share of mommy guilt over a bunch of (what now seem like) silly things – but my kid’s bottom was rash free and I was cocky about it. 

Then Sophie came down with a virus and…crazy diarrhea.  I focused on getting her fever down and making sure I changed her diaper constantly.  Every time she pooped I changed her diaper and wiped her down thoroughly.  I doused her in the thickest cream I had at the time—Desitin—and put her diaper back on until she pooed again.  I thought I had relative control over the situation.  Silly me.  Within a day she developed a rash.  After two days it was really bad.  On the morning of day three, it was so bad that Sophie would scream and cry bloody murder when I changed her diaper and was terrified of sitting. It was devastating to see her in so much pain. 

By the morning of day three I was made aware of some of my rookie mistakes. 

First, I should have stopped using baby wipes when the diarrhea started.  Constant use of the wipes just irritates the skin and contributes to the rash (ugh).  So I switched to wash clothes and warm water.  Second, I should have altered her diet.  I was so afraid of dehydration that I made sure to keep feeding her and giving her milk.  Yeah, I forgot that milk and certain fruit and foods make the diarrhea worse.  So I switched her to soy milk and put her on the BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Apples, Toast) diet to bind her up.  Third, I needed to “air” her out more—and let her run around without a diaper. This was a recommendation most of my friends made prior to learning she had the major squirts.  I was pretty reluctant since I am generally averse to feces on my kitchen/family room floor, but I broke down and made a special area in the family room (on the hardwood floor).  I set up the super yard to keep her contained, put some towels down and dropped the naked baby in and put on baby Einstein to keep her entertained—I didn’t want to get poop on any of her toys.  Can’t tell you how gross this experiment turned out.  Fourth, I started giving her Aveeno oatmeal baths to soothe her bottom.  It worked great, until she pooped in the tub.  Fifth, I started using Triple Paste [heavens open up, cue choir of angels singing]. This stuff is fantastic.  My friend and neighbor, who also happens to be a doctor, recommended it.  It’s pricy, but it was truly a godsend.  It took nearly two weeks, but with all these changes, S’s virus, diarrhea, and diaper rash slowly cleared up. 

I can’t tell you what a humbling experience this was.  Now I am much better equip to deal with the situation and I also know that diaper rash can happen for a number of reasons.  In addition, creams and ointments may not always be interchangeable—some work better than others depending upon the type of rash.  When I am dealing with just the run of the mill rash I personally like Desitin, A&D cream or ointment, & Dr Boudreaux’s Butt Paste.  I don’t mind the Aveeno, but just think the others work better for Sophie.  When it’s serious though--I am a Triple Paste disciple.  So which brand is best?  Sorry, this is going to be trail and error until you see what works best on your babies skin.  However, you might want to wait until after your baby shower to buy any diaper cream—I’m guessing you are going to receive at least 3 tubes/jars of it as gifts!

Ask Dr. Sears has a great primer on preventing and treating diaper rash on their site. I recommend checking it out.  They cover preventing rashes, identifying different types of diaper rash, and of course, treating them.

(as always consult your doctor when you have a medical issue-this is just my opinion/experience and not a substitute for real medical advice!)   

Cost of Diaper Cream in the DC area

Ok, so I checked out the prices on six different diaper creams (A&D, Aveeno, Balmex, Dr. Boudreauxs, Desitin, and Triple Paste.)  Yes, I know I am missing California Baby and a handful of others, but I tried to pick the ones that were available at almost all of the 9 stores I looked at.  As usual, I compared prices at BJs, Costco, Sams Club, BabiesRUs, Buy Buy Baby, Target, Walmart, &

As usual I will e-mail the spreadsheet with the actual figures to my subscribers.  Here’s the gist of it though.  Target and Babies R Us have the most options and the best overall prices.  Target has the best prices on 5 of the 6 brands.  Babies R Us prices are a close second (and with the 20% off coupon would be better).  BJs has the best priced 16oz tub of Triple Paste, but in general, the three wholesale stores have very limited options (1 or 2 choices). and Amazon have a lot of choices ( has more) but their prices are $1.50 to $4.00 more than, say, Target.  However, if you are buying a lot from and use one of their discounts, you might get it for a better price. 

So that’s the skinny on diaper cream.  Please let me know if I made any egregious errors!

Previous Posts
The Skinny on Infant Formula

The Skinny on Diapers

The Skinny on Baby Wipes

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