How to Apply Diaper Cream The Right Way [Step By Step Guide]

Changing diapers is a huge part of raising a baby; you’ll change thousands in the first two to three years of your baby’s life.

That means you have to learn how to apply diaper cream because, well, rashes happen.

Diaper rashes are part of being a baby.

Many babies have sensitive skin, and the combination of moisture, warmth, and limited airflow creates an environment that yeast and bacteria love.

It also leads to irritation and chafing from different diapers or hot weather.

Yet, having a good diaper cream available helps to soothe or prevent rashes. It’s undoubtedly a product that parents need to have and need to know how to use.

That’s why we put together this step by step guide on how to apply diaper rash cream, so whether your applying Desitin vs. Boudreaux, a natural diaper rash cream, or a cloth safe diaper cream, you can apply diaper rash cream with confidence and ease.

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What Does Diaper Cream Do?

Diaper cream is an essential item that parents need to have available because you never know when a rash will appear on your baby’s bottom.

Diaper rash cream has two purposes:

1. Prevents Diaper Rashes

When you apply a cream to your baby’s bottom, it creates a barrier between your baby’s butt and irritants. You might think that a diaper is a closed environment, but several irritants occur in this area.

  • Moisture
  • Chemicals from the diapers
  • Acidic poop from foods, teething, or illnesses
  • Chafing

Diapers are breeding grounds for all kinds of problems. Using diaper cream regularly stops problems before they happen.

2. Treats Diaper Rashes

Unfortunately, diaper rashes happen even when we try our best to prevent them. In those cases, diaper cream helps to soothe and treat rashes. Most creams include ingredients that reduce any discomfort, burning, or pain your baby feels from the rash. Simultaneously, moisturizing ingredients create a barrier to give the skin time to heal without more irritation.

The 3 Types Of Diaper Cream Products Available

Diaper cream is just one term, but there are three types of cream sold to parents. No matter what you call it, the products help to protect and heal your baby’s skin. Here are the three types of rash cream for babies.

Diaper Cream

Most creams are water-based, so they are easy for your baby’s skin to absorb. This type is great for soothing existing rashes because they spread easily across your baby’s bottom.

Diaper Paste

Pastes have less water or liquid included in the components, so it’s thicker. That means it might be a bit harder to spread across your baby’s bottom, but the paste creates an effective moisture barrier to prevent irritation.

Diaper Ointment

Diaper ointments are oil-based formulas, so your baby’s skin won’t absorb the product as quality. Oil repels moisture and water, so this type of rash cream creates the longest-lasting barrier between your baby’s skin and moisture.

When Should You Use Diaper Rash Cream?

Many parents wonder when to use diaper cream. We have found the best time to use diaper rash cream is when your child has irritation or has a problem that might lead to a rash.

Here are some examples:

  • The first sign of a rash developing
  • Redness or irritation
  • Newborn meconium, which often sticks to your baby’s delicate skin.
  • Diarrhea
  • When your baby is teething, has a cold, or takes antibiotics.
  • If your baby has sensitive skin
  • When your baby sleeps long stretches at night

You may be also curious to know, there are quiet a few different uses for diaper rash cream other than just your baby’s bottom!

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How To Apply Diaper Cream

Applying diaper cream properly ensures that the product accomplishes its job properly. Here are the simple steps to remember.

1. Gather Your Supplies

The first step to your diaper change is to gather all the required supplies. We love to use a diaper caddy to store ours in so they are always easy to access. Diaper changing supplies you may need include:

2. Place Baby In A Safe Place

When changing your baby’s diaper, you will need to find somewhere that is clean, dry, and accessible. If you are putting your baby on the change table, make sure to strap the baby secure. 

3. Remove The Dirty Diaper

The next step is to remove your baby’s dirty diaper. Use a baby wipe (or as many as needed) to clean your baby’s bottom. Make sure to get all of the previous diaper cream off your child’s buttocks and genital area.

4. Use a Dime-Sized Amount of Diaper Cream

Despite what some think, you don’t need an enormous amount of diaper cream. A dime-sized amount is perfect.

Squeeze the diaper cream onto your finger. Now, you’re ready to apply diaper cream to your baby’s bottom.

5. How to Apply Diaper Rash Cream

Parents apply diaper cream primarily to their baby’s buttocks where the rash takes place, but take a close look at the rash beforehand. If the rash is in between your baby’s cheeks buttocks his anus, you should apply the cream in those areas for maximum benefits.

Use your finger to apply the cream over your baby’s bottom. It should be thickest on any area that is red, inflamed, or irritated.

You apply the cream to these areas:

  • Buttocks
  • Between the butt cheeks
  • Around the anus
  • On the outer genital skin

How to Apply Diaper Rash Cream to a Girl

Diaper cream is safe to use on the external genital region of a baby girl, but you should never apply it inside the vagina. Diaper rashes don’t occur inside of the vagina; they typically stay on the outer genital skin and buttocks.

How to Apply Diaper Rash Cream to a Baby Boy

Baby boys often need rash cream applied to their outer genital skin, so it’s safe to use cream there. Boys often need it in their thighs’ creases or where the diaper meets their legs due to chafing.

However, if your baby is not circumcised, don’t retract to apply the cream. Make sure you only apply it to the foreskin.

6. Put on a New, Clean Diaper

Wipe the excess cream off inside of the clean diaper and position the diaper on your baby. Securely fasten the clean diaper on your baby.

7. Wash Your Hands

After your baby has a clean diaper, put your baby somewhere safe, like their crib, and wash your hands with soap and water. It’s easy to assume that wiping your hands with a baby wipe removes bacteria, but baby wipes aren’t antibacterial.

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What Not To Do When You Apply Diaper Cream

Diaper cream is one of the most widely used baby items however there are a few things that you should make sure you don’t do while using it.

Don’t Use Baby Powder As Well

Don’t use baby powder with your diaper cream because the powder becomes airborne and enters your child’s lungs. That’s proven to be unhealthy, and the cornstarch used to create powder is a yeast food source. So, if your baby has a yeast rash, it makes the problem worse.

Always Wash Your Hands

Always remember to wash your hands with soap and water when you apply the diaper cream. When you apply the cream, your hands contact fecal matter, and baby wipes don’t kill bacteria. Wash your hands with hot soapy water.

Never Put Inside The Vagina

Diaper cream belongs on the outside of genital areas; never put cream inside of the vagina.

Don’t Forcibly Retract

If your baby is uncircumcised, make sure you never forcibly retract the foreskin to apply diaper cream.

Forget to Check The Ingredients

Always check the diaper creams that you use for potential allergens. If your baby reacts, you know what ingredients you need to avoid. Some of the common ingredients that cause reactions are:

  • Lanolin
  • Mineral Oil
  • Beeswax
  • Sunflower Oil

Common Questions You Might Have About Diaper Creams

1. Should I Apply Diaper Cream at Every Diaper Change?

Whether you need to use diaper cream at every change is a parent’s choice. Some parents prefer to use it daily as a preventative measure to stop diaper rashes but realize it doesn’t always prevent them, especially if your child has a yeast diaper rash.

Some parents only want to use rash cream when they see that their baby’s bottom is irritated.

If your child’s skin is healthy and free of redness, you don’t have to apply diaper cream every time you change a diaper. Some like to apply a thin layer to prevent rashes, but this isn’t necessary.

2. Can You Put Diaper Cream on a Newborn?

Most diaper creams are safe to use on a newborn if they have signs of redness or irritation. It’s best to use gentle formulas that are fragrance-free to avoid irritation, however always read the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully to ensure the product is suitable for a newborn baby.

Newborns have thick, sticky meconium for the first several days after birth. It makes changing your baby’s diaper difficult because it has a tar-like texture that sticks to the skin. Using a thin layer of diaper cream prevents the meconium from sticking to your baby’s bottom.

3. Why Isn’t Diaper Cream Getting Rid of My Baby’s Diaper Rash?

If your baby’s diaper rash isn’t getting better when you use diaper cream, chances are you may be dealing with a yeast diaper rash.

Yeast rashes appear in the thigh creases and folds. There will be bumps or a pimply appearance along with redness.

Dealing with a yeast rash is difficult; yeast is stubborn and likes to hang around. Chances are you’ll need antifungal or anti-inflammatory cream to get rid of the rash entirely.

If you are concerned about your baby’s diaper rash or it is not going away, consult your child’s healthcare provider for guidance in treating your child’s yeast diaper rash appropriately.

Final Thoughts On How To Use Diaper Cream

Figuring out how to apply diaper cream is easy. After the first few times, you’ll have the process down pat.

Just make sure you apply the cream thickest at the source of the irritation, where it’s the reddest and inflamed.

Proper use should get rid of a diaper rash in no time.

And if you’re looking for more great diapering guides, then check out these guides on how many changing pad covers do I need, disadvantages of using disposable diapers, must have diaper caddy essentials, and are pull ups as absorbent as diapers.

How To Apply Diaper Cream