Here are 16 foods that may cause diaper rash in toddlers plus important tips for diaper rash treatment and prevention.
If you’re a first time mom and dealing with a diaper rash, you may be surprised to know that your baby’s diet may be the cause.
We’re sharing common foods that cause diaper rash in toddlers and what you can do about it.
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What is a diaper rash?
Before we discuss the foods that cause diaper rash in toddlers, it’s important to understand what a diaper rash is, the different types of diaper rash, and other common causes.
This will help you accurately determine the source of your child’s rash quicker.
Diaper rash is a common form of skin inflammation that shows up on a child’s skin in and around a child’s diaper area.
These occurrences typically peak around 9-12 months of age according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Diaper rashes may manifest as tender patches of red skin and even open sores.
This sensitive skin may also itch or ooze puss and yellowish liquid.
There are 7 common forms of diaper rash to be aware of so you can apply the proper treatments.
The Different Types of Diaper Rash
- Chafing: This is the most common form of diaper rash. You’ll see redness, typically along with small spots or bumps in high friction areas.
- Yeast infection: This condition, also known as, candidal dermatitis, shows up as a bright red, tender rash that usually starts in the creases and skin folds between the abdomen and thighs and spreads from there.
- Cradle cap: You may be familiar with cradle cap (seborrheic dermatitis) as a condition that can affect a baby’s scalp. But, it can also initiate in or travel down to the diaper area, too. The distinguishing signs of cradle cap are a deep red rash with yellow scales.
- Eczema: Atopic dermatitis or eczema causes itchy, red patches on the skin. This is typically experienced in other areas of the body but can appear in diaper areas, too.
- Impetigo: This secondary bacterial infection causes puss-laden sores that can tear and ooze yellowish fluid and appears crusty when dried.
- Intertrigo: This final form of diaper rash tends to pop up in skin folds. It emits oozing white or yellowish fluids causing an itch.
Common Diaper Rash Causes
- Failing to quickly and regularly change a dirty diaper
- A reaction to products like your toddler’s brand of diapers, wipes, lotions, soaps, etc.
- A yeast, bacterial infection, or fungal infection (these are common around moist places of the skin)
- Skin sensitivity
- A reaction to antibiotics you or your toddler have been prescribed
Surprisingly, diaper rash may also be caused by an allergic reaction to food. Many new moms overlook food allergy or sensitivity as a possible reason for their child’s rash.
So, it’s important to know what to look for.
Below, are the most common foods that cause diaper rash so you can pinpoint or rule them out.
Foods That Cause Diaper Rash in Toddlers
When your toddler starts solid foods, it’s very important to start with one new food at a time. And you should also follow the three-day rule.
This rule requires that you wait at least three days in between introducing different new foods to your child.
This can help you easily discover food sensitivities or food allergies.
If your child has a response to a particular food, you’ll know right away to eliminate it from their diet, and/or discuss it with your pediatrician.
Foods to Watch Out For
Acidic foods are hard on a toddler’s digestive system and may cause acidic poop leading to diaper rash.
Common toddler foods that may cause diaper rash:
- Citrus fruits and juices like orange juice, lemon, and lime
- Tomatoes and tomato-based products (including tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, and even ketchup)
- Pineapple and other tart fruits
When your toddler has a diaper rash, you’ll also want to steer clear of foods that cause diarrhea or loose bowel movements.
These may be:
- Formula made from cow’s milk and other dairy products like yogurt.
- Fruit juice including apple juice, pear juice, cherry juice, and prune juice.
- Stone fruits including apricots, peaches, plums, and prunes.
Foods in the mother’s diet can also cause diaper rash when breastfeeding.
Moms should consider reducing or eliminating:
- Spicy or hot foods
RELATED: 40 of the Best Breastfeeding Tips
Foods That Help with Diaper Rash
If diarrhea caused or worsens your toddler’s diaper rash, try adding more starchy foods to your baby’s diet. Foods like whole grain cereal are great, too.
Here’s a full list of foods to help with diaper rash:
- Bread or toast
- Beans or lentils
- Whole grain cereal
Once your baby’s rash and/or diarrhea clears up, ease off of these foods to avoid constipation.
How to Prevent and Treat a Diaper Rash
Now that we’ve detailed the foods that cause diaper rash in toddlers (and other common causes), here are some simple methods for treatment and prevention.
Whether you use disposable diapers or cloth diapers, here are some good practices to avoid diaper rash.
- Offer frequent diaper changes (a soiled or wet diaper is a breeding ground for bacteria!).
- Regularly rinse your baby’s bottom.
- Avoid alcohol-based baby wipes.
- Make sure your baby’s bottom is completely dry before putting on a new diaper.
- Pay special attention to skin folds.
- Wipe front to back.
- Let your baby go diaper free from time to time.
- Use preventative creams and ointments.
- Ensure cloth diapers rinse completely clear of soap.
You can find more comprehensive information on how to prevent diaper rash here.
Even if you’re completely diligent, your baby will likely experience diaper rash from time to time.
Here are some standard methods to treat an inevitable rash:
- Submerge your child’s bottom in warm water to soothe and clean the rash.
- Switch from wipes to a moist cloth.
- Use a mild soap to wash away stool if plain water doesn’t do the trick.
- Expose your baby’s bottom to open air as much as possible.
- Apply diaper cream on the affected diaper area (consider an oil-based barrier rash cream like A+D Original Ointment or zinc oxide cream like Destin cream).
However, severe rashes may require a doctor’s intervention.
When to See a Doctor
Depending on the type and severity of your toddler’s rash, your child may need rash treatment from a medical professional.
Here are the symptoms of severe diaper rash:
- A rash with a fever.
- A rash that’s severe or unusual.
- A rash that persists or gets worse despite home treatment.
- A rash that bleeds, itches, or oozes.
- A rash that causes burning or pain when your baby urinates or has a bowel movement.
And if you can’t determine the source of your baby’s rash, a pediatrician, allergist, or dermatologist can help.
Yes and no.
Acidic foods are the most common culprits of diaper rashes, but this does not necessarily mean your child has a food allergy.
However, if your child does have a food allergy that causes them loose stools, they may experience redness and sores on their bottom from frequent diaper changes. And in some cases, a diaper rash lasting longer than a month may be the only indication of a food allergy.
In these cases, if the diaper rash persists and does not respond to topical ointments, it’s best to speak with your child’s pediatrician or an allergist.
Starchy foods and bland foods may help a diaper rash and help your baby have more solid stools.
Here are some great options to try:
– Whole wheat cereal
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Did we answer all your questions about foods that cause diaper rash? Let us know if we missed anything in the comments!