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Diapers

Diapers

Scott Cohen (Pediatrician, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) gives expert video advice on: What is the best type of diaper for my baby?; How many times a day should my newborn be soiling his diaper? and more...

What is the best type of diaper for my baby?

I think this is another personal preference. There are two main types of diapers; your disposable diapers and your cloth diapers, and there are pluses and minuses on both. There's a cost issue, there's an environmental issue, and I think most of the studies have found that it's about 50/50 between the two. With cost, of course, you're buying disposable diapers on and off. Of course with cloth diapers, there's the cost of keeping them clean and washing them. Regarding the disposable issue, with cloth, again, you're using up water from the environment to clean them, but with disposable ones, you're filling landfills. So, I really think it's a personal preference, and it's really up to you. It's just important to pay attention when your child is dirty and to change the diaper whenever possible to avoid diaper rashes. No matter what you do, it's going to be inevitable that they get one anyway, but you try your best.

How many times a day should my newborn be soiling his diaper?

There's no exact number of times a day your newborn should be spoiling their diaper. Books will say, "Oh, your child should poop this many times and pee this many times, they have to feed this many times or that many times", but you really shouldn't get caught up in numbers as much. Just look at your child, and see if they're doing the things that they're supposed to be doing and that they look good. So usually, especially breast-fed babies should poop a lot in the first couple weeks of life. I'm talking every feeding, so it could be that they poop 8 to 12 times a day. And peeing is sometimes hard to tell because it gets mixed up in the poop, but it is also very frequent. An interesting phenomenon happens, especially in breast-fed babies, around two weeks of age where pooping slows down. They may poop 10 times a day, they may poop once or twice a day, or they may poop once or twice a week, and it is absolutely normal. Your peeing is your sign of hydration, and we'd like to see that your child is peeing about 3 times or more in a 24-hour period, and then you know that they're probably staying hydrated.

What do I need to diaper my baby?

To diaper your baby, all you really need is a diaper. Then you can use diaper creams. There are a myriad of diaper creams with most of these creams having the purpose of creating a barrier. Your child is going to get a diaper rash, and a diaper rash is caused by the their skin touching a wet or dirty diaper and sitting in it. That could be for a minute or for hours, but it's going to happen whether you are the best parent when it comes to changing them and you've never seen them in a wet diaper. With diaper creams, you put it on the area of the diaper rash, the red area. That creates a barrier between the red area that is raw, and the diaper, so the area underneath the skin can heal as they're pooping and peeing over it, and it doesn't keep reirritating the skin.

What causes "diaper rash"?

Diaper rash is usually caused by a wet or dirty diaper touching the skin. It causes irritation of the skin so the skin usually gets really red and inflamed. That's your most common cause. It's called a "contact diaper rash" or "diaper dermatitis." Those types of diaper rash are the ones we usually treat with barrier creams by putting a cream like a thick white paste, like a Desitin or a Balmex or a Boudreaux's Butt Paste on there to create a barrier so that the skin can heal and the poop and the wet diapers don't keep re-irritating the skin. Another very common diaper rash is a Candidal, or yeast diaper rash. We often hear about these; parents will say, "Oh, my child has a diaper rash and I've been using all these creams and nothing is working." Well, any moist environment on the body, and this for is boys or girls, is a set-up for the growth of yeast. So, when you have a yeast infection, you need to use special creams that are best for yeast, like Lotrimin cream or Nystatin. One of the differentiating characteristics of what a yeast infection looks like on the skin is that often there are these little red bumps (called satellite lesions, or little papules) around the red areas and also into the creases of skin. So, you have to think, if the red areas are in places where the diaper doesn't touch, like inside creases, then something must have crawled in there. The thing that usually crawls and grows in there is the yeast, and then we treat that diaper rash with different types of creams.