Allergic Reaction or Diaper Rash: How to Tell the Difference

If your baby is suffering from constant diaper rash and you’ve tried every cream in the aisle and trick in the book, it may not be diaper rash. While only roughly 10 percent of the general population suffered from a plastic or latex allergy as of 2016, when you consider there were about 7.4 billion people on earth in that year, 10 percent seems a little more significant.

How to tell if your child has diaper rash or a plastic allergy:

If your child is suffering from a plastic or latex allergy rather than typical diaper rash your first clue would be that typical diaper rash cures don’t have an effect. For example, your child may get the rash no matter how often you change his or her diaper.

Next, the location of the rash can be a good indicator whether or not you are dealing with a plastic allergy or diaper rash. Typical diaper rash occurs where fecal matter and urine touch most often and in high heat areas such as the creases between the genitals and legs. A rash caused by a plastic allergy will present where the skin is in contact with the plastic such as the waist line.

Finally, you may also notice a child with a plastic allergy frequently suffers from contact rashes outside of the diaper region, severe or minor. Keep a look out for tiny rash-like bumps on areas of the skin that come in direct contact with surfaces such as the forearms or legs. In severe plastic allergies, you may even find clothing with synthetic blends causes a reaction. An allergic reaction may present as a rash, hives, redness, itchiness or swelling. Allergies can develop at any time from birth to adulthood.

What to do about plastic allergies:

Unfortunately, there is only one option for parents with a baby or toddler allergic to plastic or latex, and that’s to stop using latex and plastic containing products. This does not mean you must use cloth diapers, though cloth diapers without the plastic cover are an option as long as they are made with materials that don’t contain synthetics. You can also find latex-free diapers such as Seventh Generation or G diapers. Pull ups which have a different design than normal disposable diapers to create less skin-to-skin contact with plastic also work for some children. You can ask your pediatrician for more latex- and plastic-free alternatives.

Many children outgrow a plastic allergy by age 5. Plastic allergies can sometimes be an indicator of other allergies or skin issues such as eczema though. Even if you determine your baby has an allergy and not typical diaper rash the situation should be evaluated by a health care professional.

You may also find useful:
Baby Rash Decoder
Diaper Rash Treatment and Prevention
Are Disposable Diapers Safe? Just the Facts

Diaper Rash Treatment and Prevention

Diaper rash is probably the most common baby bane in existence affecting, well, pretty much every baby ever born at some point. This makes diaper rash treatment a valid topic of discussion among parents.

There are numerous types of diaper rash, but the appearance is generally the same, redness in the diaper region which may range from a few sore pink spots to an all over puffy, hot and even bleeding mess– and just about everything in between. Many people assume diaper rash is always a result of a parent that isn’t changing their baby’s diaper often enough. Though this is one cause of diaper rash, the various types of diaper rashes all have different causes and many of them have nothing to do with parental error.diaper rash treatment

Diaper rash treatment is basically the same as far as home methods no matter the type. Knowing the type of rash will, however, help prevent the same type from occurring again. If it was, for example, caused by the ingestion of a certain food and allergy-based or a new type of diapers rubbing on the skin, or even an environmental element such as hot weather, these are all preventable causes of diaper rash. Evaluating the type of diaper rash will also help you better know your baby’s skin as a whole to keep it healthier all over.


The basic causes of diaper rash include:

-Regular diaper rash: This is usually just caused by prolonged exposure to moisture, but you may also notice it after your baby starts solid foods if he/she has eaten a lot of high-acid foods or fruits. High heat will often make diaper rash occur more frequently or actual heat rash may be mistaken for diaper rash. Some babies are also just more prone to diaper rashes than others.

-Allergic reaction: If the rash is less on the bottom and more where the diaper touches the skin, such as by the waist line, you may actually be looking at a contact rash. Try changing diaper brands. Food allergies can also cause consistent diaper rash. If you notice a rash after any major routine change from laundry soap to the menu, change back, let the rash go away, and re-introduce, if the rash comes back you have your culprit.

-Yeast diaper rash: Finally, sometimes the natural balance of yeast in your baby’s digestive tract may go out of balance. Yeast diaper rash doesn’t respond to ointments and may be accompanied by white patches in the mouth called thrush. You can treat yeast diaper rash at home with over the counter yeast creams such as Mono-stat, however, if your baby also has thrush you will need a prescription from your pediatrician.

Diaper rash treatment:

-Begin by keeping the area extra clean and dry.

-Change diapers as frequently as possible and try to never let the baby sit in a dirty or wet diaper. You don’t necessarily have to wake your baby if he/she is sleeping unless it’s a poop butt.

-Consider ditching your baby wipes and using a small squirt bottle to rinse baby’s butt after peeing or give a quick tub rinse for poop butts to avoid the irritation of wiping. Pat the area dry with a soft cloth or allow to air dry.

-Try to let your baby hang out naked for awhile, the fresh air helps. You can place a plastic cloth below his/her blanket to prevent messes in younger babies.

-Consider using a diaper rash ointment. These ointments contain petroleum usually to form a barrier on the skin from moisture. Many also contain zinc oxide or other medications to help ease the pain and speed the healing of diaper rash. You can purchase these creams just about anywhere.

-Put diapers on loosely rather than good and tight or buy one size bigger than needed to use during diaper rash treatment. The extra room will allow for better air circulation.

Remember, if you are following all these measures and the rash is still present in 3 to 4 days and shows no sign of improvement or is accompanied by fever, see your pediatrician.

Preventing diaper rash:

Preventing diaper rash is a good final step to take after you’ve treated one. Prevention is very similar to treatment. Be sure to keep your baby’s diaper dry and clean.. A good rule of thumb is to check baby’s bottom every two hours minimum.

Next, make sure you are using baby wipes that aren’t irritating skin. In some cases, you may even need to make your own to ensure they are gentle enough for your baby’s skin.

Find a diaper that fits your baby well, secure but not too tight as even baby bottoms need air to breathe. Be sure it’s not the materials in the diaper causing the rash. I also have a post on telling the difference between diaper rash and an allergy. Anytime you change laundry detergents, soaps, etc you should watch for rashes.

When introducing solid or new foods be sure to watch for allergic reactions and cease feeding anything that causes diaper rash until your child is older.

Finally, breast feeding has also been shown to reduce the occurrence of diaper rash. If you choose to do so, do so as long as possible.

Baby Poop Color Decoder: All About What Comes Out of Your Baby’s Bottom

You’re officially a parent when you’ve smelled your baby’s butt to see if they’ve pooped, and officially a smart parent if you’ve examined said poop before tossing it. Sound weird? What a baby puts out can tell you a whole lot about what’s going on inside if you know what to look for. Knowing what weird poop means can also relieve a lot of, “OMG My baby’s poop is purple!” freak-out episodes. I’m not saying to put your babies poop under a microscope, but just give it a quick look to note color and texture.

baby poop

A first poop:

Your baby’s first poop will likely look the weirdest. This poop is called Meconium and is made up of amniotic fluid, dead skin cells, and bile. Considering its ingredients, its no wonder meconium poop looks sort of like black tar. It will pass within the first 24 hours. A baby that does not pass meconium needs to be seen by a doctor right away, this could indicate an intestinal blockage.

All the colors of the rainbow:

Normal Baby Poop:

Breast fed baby poop: Yellow to Mustard
Formula bottle baby poop: Yellow to Peanut
Babies that have begun solid food: Yellow to Brown

Green Baby Poop:

Possible meanings: too much iron (may be almost black), stomach bug, allergy, jaundice, or hind/fore milk imbalance in breast fed babies (switching breasts before baby has gotten to hind milk).
Normally green poop is nothing to worry about, if it persists for an extended amount of time, you should consult your pediatrician.

Black Baby Poop: (Other than in the first 24 hours of life)
Indicates digested or old blood in stole. See a doctor.

Red/Bloody Baby poop:
Bleeding towards the anus (hence it’s not black). See a doctor if excessive. A small amount of fresh blood accompanied by hard poop may just be some minor tearing from constipation.

White/Pale Baby Poop:
Could indicate liver problems. See a doctor if persists.

Orange/Purple/Etc. Baby Poop:
Eating carrots? Prunes? Baby poop will often take on the color of their food. In the case of odd colored poops not mentioned above, try feeding them something else today and see if it changes. If odd colored poop persists after dietary changes and time, consult a doctor.

Consistency Counts:

Seedy/Curdled Baby Poop: Regular in breast feed babies.
Creamy/Peanut Buttery Baby Poop: Regular in bottle fed babies or babies that have began other foods.
Chunky/Thick/Pellet-like Baby Poop: Could indicate constipation. Try a water bottle a day, it will ease bowel movements. This should also be done if urine is very pungent.
Mucus in Baby Poop (looks like boogers in the poop): Indicates stomach bug or virus. Watch for fever and other symptoms.
Watery/Extra runny Poop: Breast fed baby poop does tend to be a bit more liquid-like, but after awhile you’ll get the hang of how watery is too watery when it comes to poops. Too watery is diarrhea. Keep good fluids and electrolytes. See a doctor if it persists.

Some random baby poop information:

-Breast fed baby poop smells sweeter. Breast fed babies also suffer from diaper rash and constipation (breast milk is a laxative) less frequently, but will poop more than a formula fed baby.

-Fruits will cause baby poop to smell sweet as well, and are the worst food when it come to creating said diaper rash. For this reason you may want to hold off on them at first, and start slow like many other foods in the first year. Some of which are even dangerous.

-A baby that poops less often is not necessarily constipated, nor is chunky poop always an indication. It’s normal for bowel movements to slow down as a baby ages, and poop to change consistency as they start on solid foods. Normal varies from baby to baby.  For instance, while a newborn may go several times a day, a six-month old may poop just once a day, if that. Grunting and/or turning red, again, is also not always a sign of constipation, some babies just do this.

-You’ll likely notice your baby’s digestive system is faster than yours, and what goes in comes out somewhat unchanged when it comes to solid foods.

So there you have it, whether you ever expected to be reading about it or not, you now know all about your baby’s poop. Welcome to parenthood.