How Much Diaper Cream Should I Buy? (Answered By RN)

How Much Diaper Cream Should I Buy

Article by Jessica Holbrook – Register Nurse & Educator

Diaper rash is a type of contact dermatitis and is one of the most common problems that will affect your baby’s delicate skin. You baby’s skin is incredibly sensitive, so even waiting an hour or two between diaper changes can cause irritated skin or rashes on your baby’s bottom.

Rashes can keep your baby (and you!) up all night, leaving you both miserable the next day.

Diaper rash can get worse while your child is sick. If they have diarrhea, are teething, or if they are taking antibiotics, keep an especially close eye on their bottom.

Keeping your baby in a clean diaper and using diaper cream can save your baby from a painful rash and unnecessary suffering. Choosing a good natural diaper rash cream (free from nasty chemicals) can make a world of difference for preventing those red and itchy rashes.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice.

How Does Diaper Cream Work?

Diaper cream works both as a preventative measure and as a way to treat diaper rash that has already developed.

It works by acting as a moisture barrier to protect your baby’s skin from urine and poop. This protective layer should prevent diaper rash from appearing in your child’s genital area.

If your baby already has a diaper rash1, diaper rash cream can also prevent irritation and keep the rash from getting worse. Diaper cream can soothe your baby’s sensitive skin and keep poop and urine from irritating the diaper rashes.

How Much Diaper Rash Cream Do I Need?

It is hard to guess how much diaper rash cream you will need. Since you only need to apply a thin layer of diaper cream to your baby’s bum, don’t expect to use more than one tube of diaper cream each month.

A tube of diaper cream should last several weeks, even if you are applying diaper cream with every diaper change.

If you run out of diaper creams, you can use mineral oils (baby oil) as a substitute2. This can be just as effective as more expensive diaper balm.

Keep in mind that in contrast to diaper creams and balms, I don’t recommend lanolin – you can find out why in this article.

How Much Diaper Rash Cream Do I Need

When Should I Use Diaper Cream?

Diaper cream does not do any harm to your baby’s skin. If you want to slather their bum in diaper creams with every diaper change, you can. However, you do not have to.

If your baby has redness from poop, moisture, or allergies, make sure you put cream directly on their sore bum every time you change them. Consistently applying cream can help heal babies delicate skin.

You should always apply a thick layer of cream on your baby’s bottom before bedtime at night, especially if your baby sleeps for long stretches.

If your baby’s diaper is full of stool or urine all night, they will need the creams protective layer to prevent direct contact between their skin and their soiled diaper.

You can use creams and ointments for babies and children of any age. Even older children who have trouble with nighttime bedwetting can benefit from using cream as a preventative measure.

Should I Use Nappy Cream At Every Change?

If your baby’s bottom shows no sign of irritation and you are sure that you can quickly change a soiled diaper, you do not have to apply diaper cream. However, babies with sensitive skin or who have problems with chafing may need you to apply diaper cream with every diaper change.

Should I Use Nappy Cream At Every Change

Can You Put Diaper Cream On A Newborn?

Zinc oxide, the active ingredient in most diaper creams, is safe for newborn and older infant’s use. You can use diaper cream to prevent chafing and avoid rashes from the first day you bring your baby home from the hospital.

Mineral oil is also safe for both newborns and older babies.

Where Should I Apply Diaper Cream?

Diaper cream should be applied to your baby’s diaper area. Pay special attention to the skin between their bum cheeks and in any skin folds.

Yeast loves to grow in folds and creases where there is a lot of rubbing and moisture. The moisture barrier created by diaper cream prevents moisture from sitting on the skin of your little one.

Can You Use Too Much Diaper Cream?

Diaper cream is safe to use on most infants, and unlike other types of ointment, using too much diaper cream will not irritate the skin. Using more than the recommended amount of diaper cream will not hurt anything but your wallet.

How To Apply Diaper Rash Cream

Applying diaper cream is an important part of preventing rashes and helping existing ones heal.

To apply diaper cream:

  1. Place your baby on a changing table or changing mat.
  2. Remove your baby’s dirty diaper.
  3. Using baby wipes or warm water, clean your baby’s bum. Be gentle but thorough, and clean well between their cheeks. If your baby is a girl, make sure you wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from getting to the urethra.
  4. Place a clean diaper underneath your baby’s bottom.
  5. Apply diaper cream to your baby’s entire diaper area.
  6. Secure the diaper around your baby’s waist. Avoid pulling the diaper too tightly to avoid rubbing and chafing.

One of the best diaper rash creams

Diaper Rash Treatment & Prevention – What NOT To Do

Some things that parents try to use as diaper rash treatment can actually cause further irritation and make their babies rash worse.

  • Do not use antibacterial or hand sanitizing wet wipes on your baby.
  • Do not use larger diapers to stretch out the time between diaper changes.
  • Do not use prescription or steroid ointments without consulting your pediatrician first.
  • Do not use baby powder, especially for babies with lung conditions3 or who were born prematurely.

What Diaper Creams To Avoid

Some products are not safe for use on your little one. Talcum powder and cornstarch are particularly unsafe4 for babies. Both of these products can cause severe lung problems and even death in newborns.

If your baby has a yeast infection, your doctor will prescribe an antifungal cream. Only use antifungal creams if directed by your doctor. Using an over the counter antifungal balm without consulting your child’s pediatrician may cause problems for your baby.

Safety Tips – How To Prevent Diaper Rash

Almost every baby will get a diaper rash at some point. However, there are some things you can do to protect your baby’s skin health.

  1. Keep your baby’s skin clean and dry. Change your baby’s diapers as soon as you can if it is wet or dirty.
  2. Wash cloth diapers with a mild, fragrance free soap.
  3. Bathe your baby with plain water and use fragrance free baby wash.
  4. If your baby has extremely delicate skin, you may have to try several kinds of diapers to find the brand that is best for your baby.
  5. If you moisturize your baby after a bath, avoid putting lotion around their diaper area.
  6. If your child develops a diaper rash, keeping them naked is one of the best treatments. Lay your little one on a towel and let their irritated skin be free for as long as you can.

When To See A Doctor?

If your child develops a severe rash that does not clear up within a few days, you may need to see your pediatrician. You baby’s doctor might prescribe a steroid or antifungal cream5 to get rid of your baby’s diaper rash.

A sudden rash that appears all over the body could be an allergic reaction. If this happens, call your pediatrics office right away.

If your baby’s diaper rash is accompanied by a fever, extreme fussiness, poor appetite, or worsening sleep patterns, call your pediatrician right away.

Medically Reviewed By Jessica Holbrook, RN

Jessica Holbrook has been a registered nurse and educator for over 8 years. She has experience in critical care, neonatal, intensive care, and postpartum intensive care. Currently she’s working in Intermountain Medical Center Coronary Intensive Care Unit. She’s been creating educational materials for both new nurses and patients in the hospital. She has also written for several parenting blogs and healthcare career websites.

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.


About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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