As anyone who's changed diapers can tell you, diaper rash happens. Sometimes it's inevitable, and I'd venture to say that some babies are more prone to it than others. Here are a few tricks I've learned—mostly courtesy of well-seasoned fellow moms—to keep baby's diaper area as smooth as a baby's ... well, you know.
Watch the wipes.
Baby wipes are convenient, but over-wiping your baby’s sensitive areas can irritate his skin, especially if you're using the scented kind. My kids have always had sensitive skin; for their first couple of months, I tried to do the majority of diaper changes with a warm, wet baby washcloth, with a small drop of baby soap when needed.
Let them go commando.
You have to be careful so you don't end up with a mess, but after baths, for instance, I have a friend who lets her baby air dry a bit. Sitting in a damp diaper for the majority of the day is the perfect breeding ground for a nasty rash. Which brings me to the next point ...
Change your baby frequently.
It's sometimes easier to wait until you’re home to change your little one than to fumble on top of a public changing table, but try your best not to let too many hours go by. When on the go, I’ve used both my stroller laid down flat—and even the backseat of my car—as a place to do a quick change in a pinch.
Don't skimp on the diaper cream.
It doesn't hurt to get in the habit of applying a little cream with every change—even the non-messy ones. I know some people think that creams or ointments are to treat diaper rash, but I always used these products as a preventive measure since they act as a barrier on the skin.
Dawn Papandrea is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, women's lifestyle, and personal finance. Her work has appeared in Family Circle, Parents, WomansDay.com, and more. She lives in Staten Island, NY with her husband, two fast-growing boys, and a living room full of toys.