Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Diaper rash in babies - are diapers really required?

Diaper – is it really required?

As new parents, during our initial days we really blessed the companies that produced diapers because it saved us a lot of work and headache in managing our baby’s needs. He used to wet himself every half an hour, especially during his sleep and this led to his sleep being disturbed and he becoming cranky and starting to cry. We looked for the best brands of diapers available in India, searched all kinds of medical and genera stores, and consulted many of our so-called experienced friends who recommended an array of choices for us. We finally zeroed in on our first diaper – Wipro – a new one in the market that we saw in a supermarket store. We brought it home and introduced it on our baby. He felt a little discomfort in the beginning but he gradually adjusted to it. But we didn’t know that we were doing a mistake – a small one though!

Diapers are not essential for the baby. Diapers should not be used very frequently, especially in case of boys, because it seems to compress the scrotal area and increase its temperature. The scrotum is a very important organ of the reproductive system and it is kept intentionally “outside” the body so that it can stay a little cooler compared to the rest of the body. It should not be as warm as the rest of our body. Any increase in the temperature of the scrotum can adversely affect the production of sperms in the child which can lead to future complications like impotency when the child turns adult.

We got to learn about this late when during a consultation with our pediatrician, he scolded us left and right. One day, suddenly our baby started crying very painfully – yes, I can feel his pain in me, I could understand that he is suffering from some sort of pain that he has not experienced before. His tears were telling me what he was going through. To investigate the source of his agony, we removed his clothes to check if he was bitten by some insect or something. When we finally removed his diaper, we finally saw what was making my child, who seldom even moans and who didn’t even cry when he was being vaccinated, go into fits of agony. There was a huge rash in his scrotal area and his scrotum was hugely swollen. We immediately tried to remove the diaper but it was stuck to the scrotum because of the high level of moisture inside it. It might have so happened that he wetted the diaper more frequently than usual and the diaper was not able to absorb it all thus leading to his ultrasoft skin becoming loose and developing a big rash with high level of swelling. I was scared to my pants after looking at that scene and I cannot fully explain it in words over here. And add to it that my child was screaming in agony and I knew that it is time to throw that packet of diapers out of the window. I took off the diapers and put lot of baby talcum powder onto that area so that the moisture is absorbed and the area becomes dry. I kept the baby without diaper or any underwear or lower body cloth for around 1 hour so that the area is exposed to air and gets cooled off. After around 1 hour, the scrotal skin became dry and some dry flakes, which were actually dead skin, started to appear on the surface. One should never attempt to clean those flakes themselves as they will be removed by themselves as they dry off. Removing them by hand will cause huge amount of pain to the baby and s/he will start screaming like hell. It is then that we took him to the pediatrician the next day and we got the good scolding that we so deserved.

So friends, just to sum up, I am not against diapers or anything. Sometimes, diapers are a necessity like when you are going out or you are not in a position to change his clothes when they are wet. But diapers should not be used as a regular feature in your baby’s wardrobe. The best thing to do is to plan your day so that the diaper is not used for more than 3 to 4 hours. And if you notice any sort of rash or redness on the perineal (the crotch or anal area), you should, as a first aid, put baby talcum powder on that area so as to dry it first; keep the area to open air so that the moisture is removed and the skin normalizes (remember that the skin is also an organ and it requires oxygen and breathing for normal functioning). And last but not the least, consult you pediatrician immediately the next day and be ready for a good scolding!!

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