The Diaper Rash That Won’t Go Away…

He's as perplexed as I am...

I switched pediatricians 5 times with Fia. I finally found one I liked—Dr. Gold with Tribeca Pediatrics. She has since become my friend and was kind enough to call me the other night, even in her exhausted state, to give me a refresher course on newborns.  Problem is, she’s in Brooklyn and I’m in LA.

Out here we found a place that came highly recommended by several friends. But once again, I feel like I’m getting mixed messages. This is a field that often seems to me to have no consistency in all the various theories and diagnosis. It seems like it’s often a guessing game, since newborns can’t speak their mind.

Emmett’s diaper rash never really went away. Our main pediatrician said it was a bacterial infection. She gave us prescription ointment to put on. It didn’t do much. It got a little better, then worse again. I bought an anti-fungal (Lotrimin) and mixed that with Desitin. Then I tried Triple Paste. Then I tried Calmoseptine. Nothing seemed to make a dent. So today I took him back to the doc and saw a different guy.

This one tells me it’s not bacterial (even though it looks exactly the same. The first one told me you can tell if it’s bacterial because the skin starts to break down, which is exactly what is happening). He recommended I make a paste of pure zinc oxide, lotrimin and something called stoma-paste powder. The latter you have to order from your pharmacy, which I did. He said to mix it until it’s like a glue that will stick to his butt and provide a semi-permanent barrier.

I told him how Emmett seems to poop constantly. Perhaps (his theory, of course) is that whatever I’m eating is making Em’s poop extra acidic. This, despite my friend’s pediatrician who told her it rarely has to do with the diet (so more conflicting information). I also told him Emmett has gas pains because he often stiffens up and cries, grunts and groans. He told me that gas pains don’t exist.  Huh? What? He said it’s not the gas that causes those pains, but rather something inflaming the digestive tract. I am so frustrated and confused.

Then he started talking about my diet. He told me to eliminate, in this order:








He said 90% of the reactions babies have to breast milk are in these foods. He said to start with the first two and see if that helps. Then work down the list.

This is already starting to feel like too much work.  My head is starting to spin.

Then I showed him how Em’s eye looks red again. My main doc said that when the whites of the eyes are red it shows an infection. He negated that. Then went on to say bacteria in the eye is normal. So now I honestly don’t know who to believe and what to do.

I ordered the powder and found the zinc oxide and I’ll give it a try. But I’m already thinking I need to find another practice. If it’s going to be a guessing game, I at least want it to be consistent. I can’t have different doctors in the same office giving me absolute opposite information.

I walked into the parking lot with Emmett and started to cry.


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  1. by Cheryl

    On February 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Jill, I am really sorry to hear what you are going through. It is especially difficult to get conflicting results. It almost sounds like your little guy has reflux issues. I have had friends describe similar situations. It may be an allergy from something coming through the breast milk or it may just be discomfort in general. I was fortunate enough to not be in this situation but perhaps look into reflux for newborns? There are tips about keeping the baby upright after eating and keeping the crib propped up during sleeping. Please take care and remember this will not last forever. You will make it!

  2. by ss

    On February 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    We had great success with tummy massage and ‘toes-to-nose’ (alternating feet) when our little guy had gas- for the massage start low on his right side and do a U up- across under his ribs and down his left side pressing in about 1/2 an inch- it really helps get things moving… good luck- the conflicting info stinks- did you talk to the practice about it? They may need a staff meeting!

  3. by jane

    On February 27, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    In my culture, a nursing mom would always be careful about what she eats. So I think it’s worthwhile trying out the doc’s advice. Besides, did you try different brands of diapers? When my son started having a rash during the summer, I changed his diaper brands several times until I settled down for Huggies. Also ask the pediatrician about probiotics which may help reduce the poops.

    Hope it helps and Em recovers asap.

  4. by itslikemusic

    On February 28, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I highly suggest you put some breastmilk on your baby’s butt, and a little in his eye. Sounds weird, but it will help SO MUCH. I hope baby feels better!

  5. by Celeste

    On February 28, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Kind of sounds similar to my girl. My daughter had a very very bad diaper rash (raw bum) for weeks it seemed when she was just a few weeks old. I ended up using triple paste constantly and changing very frequently. It finally went away. But she also had very loose stools her first year. When she was 8 mths we discovered that she most likely had a dairy allergy (accidently had some yogurt and threw it up & had hives). I had breastfeed her the whole time.
    I hope you can figure yours out soon, I feel for your frustration.

  6. by Jenny Hardin

    On February 28, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I was having this issue with my daughter. It happened when I switched her from Pampers Cruisers to Pampers Baby Dry – she got it so bad she had sores. I switched her back to cruisers and it was gone within a few days. My best friend’s son also struggled with chronic diaper rash (for almost a year!) and one day she mentioned he wore the Pampers Baby Dry. I suggested switching and once she did the rash went away. So, you may have already tried, but consider switching diapers. I hope this helps and you get some resolution soon. I know it must be frustrating.

  7. by Diane

    On February 28, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I’m sorry to hear you are having so many problems with the pediatricians’ advice. I had similar problems with my son’s old peds office. Have you considered trying cloth diapers? There are many chemicals in disposables that can irritate baby’s skin, especially if their skin is extra sensitive.

  8. by Tami

    On February 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    My suggestion is to try the diet changes while trying to heal his butt…..being a doctor or nurse practitioner is an art and a science! Skin is a funny thing and hard to always hit it on the nose with a diagnosis each time! Take a deep breath, work on preventing it from getting worse….which the zinc and protective creams will help with, and also try diet as he suggested! If loose or more than usual stools continue, it’s time to see a pediatric gastroenterologist!
    It will all be ok, you will always find opinions and contradicting viewpoints in medicine!

  9. by Kerri T

    On February 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    We have the same issue with our pediatrician. There are 2 doctors in the practice and we never seem to get the same answer from them. Our son had been coughing for weeks and when we took him the first time to the Dr he told us he was fine and there was no congestion. Which I didnt understand since I, not a medical professional, could hear it when he coughed. We took him home and he continued to cough. Took him back, saw the other Dr and she said he had Bronchitis!This has happened a few times with other, smaller, issues but this was the last straw. We are in the process of looking for a new office. As far as the diaper rash, my 8 month old is having the same problem. His hiney gets so raw it bleeds. We have been applying Triple Paste every 2 hours and washing him with the Triple Wash as well and for now it has helped. Also, instead of using diapers wipes, create your own water wipes as they will be gentler on his hiner. Good luck!

  10. by amanda

    On February 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    So sorry to hear this. The symptoms sound identical to my daughter. I cut dairy from my diet and she was a different baby overnight. No more spitting up, no more tummy pains, no more excessive crying, significantly decreased blowouts, and most importantly, her bleeding diaper rash cleared up within a day or so. She just turned 1 and I switched her to whole milk and it all came back, we have her on lactose free and she is a happy baby again. Good luck! Trust your instincts, you are mama and you know best!

  11. by Katy

    On February 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I’m so sorry-that’s got to be frustrating! Have you tried cloth diapers? We’ve used them since day 1 and tried to use disposables once when we went out of town and my poor son’s tush was RAW the entire weekend! The cloth diapers are not at all what you typically think of, they’re super easy, and they’re really soft against the skin :) {our favorite brand is Rumparooz-go to and you’ll see what I mean-the new cloth diapers are awesome!!!}

  12. by Celeste

    On February 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Forgot to mention, I let my baby hang out on a blanket without a diaper. Air helped a lot. Red eyes and eczema may be a sign of allergies too

  13. by Megan C

    On February 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    I am so sorry to hear this. My daughter has had a rash for 8 months now. We have been to 9 different doctors and about 40 visits. It turns out to be Perianal Strep. Google it and see if it fits your babies butt. It can be cured with a simple 9 day dose of penicillin! Good luck!

  14. by Sharon

    On February 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I have been there too! My son had some blood in his stool and a persistent diaper rash starting at 6 weeks old. I took him to 2 pediatricians and a ped gastroenterologist. The gastroenterologist had me cut out many of those allergens, which I did for a month with no improvement in my baby. then, instead of looking any further, he said my son was allergic to my breast milk and that I needed to stop breast feeding. I left the office balling…I was devastated. Finally, after another opinion, we found that I was feeding my baby too frequently, so he was getting lots of foremilk which has a laxative effect, causing a fissure (hence the blood) and very frequent loose stools. Now, at 9 months old, I’m still breast feeding and my baby’s tushie is perfectly fine. (As a side note, I notice that he has looser stools when I eat cheese, so I’ve been avoiding that too). I hope you find the solution for Emmett! Good luck and hang in there!!

  15. by Jill Cordes@ Of Fi I Sing

    On February 28, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Wow you guys. I love all your advice and insight! I have to report that the diaper rash is getting better. Will post the concoction and my thoughts tomorrow! Stay tuned.

  16. by Marianesb

    On February 28, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    I had the same problem with my baby. I felt the same way you did and cried often because the doctors never got it right. I knew something was wrong and could feel it. Maternal instinct. Well, I took it upon myself to eliminate dairy from my diet, including soy. And it worked. No more gas pains or rash or crying or discomfort. She has a milk allergy. I suggest you also eliminate it and see what happens. Remember though that dairy can stay in your system for weeks so may take a while to see a difference but you will know. I’m sorry you’re going through this and hope you find out what food is causing this.

  17. by Jennifer

    On March 3, 2012 at 12:22 am

    My daughter had a strange diaper rash for two weeks. I tried all the usual stuff – bare bottom time, ointments, etc. We went to the pediatrician who said it was fungal. However, two weeks of anti-fungal ointment did nothing. We went back to the ped who now said she had no idea what it was and told me to “throw the kitchen sink” at it – that meant a different ointment at every diaper change. I did not like that treatment option at all and hated seeing my poor baby suffer. I decided to take her to a dermatologist who told me it was a form of eczema. One week of prescription hydrocortisone cream cleared it right up!

    I have no idea what your son’s rash looks like, but maybe a dermatologist could help? Best of luck to you!

  18. by AbsoluteMommy

    On March 3, 2012 at 12:59 am

    For diaper rash I use Resinol. It’s a very old cream that my Grandma’s been using for years. You don’t need a prescription but will have to order it from a pharmacy. I get mine at Target. It takes a few days to come in.
    As far as your diet and his reactions. I had a post partum hemmorage after my second which required massive doses of iron. I was told by my OB, my pediatrician, and a lactation specialist that I wasn’t passing meds to my newborn. However she was a gassy hot screaming mess from 9-12 every night until I stopped breastfeeding. I couldn’t stop the iron so we moved to bottle. Just saying that if the little guy is having problems with those common allergens then a diet change may help!
    I’m sorry you aren’t getting a clear path! Hang in there!!

  19. by Angela Wilson

    On March 3, 2012 at 1:20 am

    Baby Powder works wonders. The problem is that there is too much moisture in the diaper area. You need to eliminate the moisture with baby powder. Baby Powder dries out the rash. Creams just add moisture to the rash making it worse for the baby and you. Doctors who are trying to sell you a product that they bought from a manufacturer is hoping the medicine works, so they make more money. That’s why you are getting different answers from different doctors. Have you ever got a refund from a doctor or pharmacy from something that didn’t work for you? Nope! Just empty pockets. You can get simple relief from
    Baby Powder with Aloe (that’s my favorite). It will calm your baby and your nerves. You can even use household remedies like Corn Starch. Oh and after cleaning the baby. Air drying works great too.

  20. by Shilpi

    On March 3, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Hi, I am really sorry to hear what you and your baby is going through. Actually Even I faced the same problem with my daughter. In my culture, they say kids do develop gastric problems and their stomach pains bcoz of this. So, we give GRIPE WATER to small babies, to remove the gastric. secondly, about rashes, if you keep changing the diaper more frequently, it might help you, as well as you know when your baby is going to poop, accordingly make him wear only pants and no diapers for half an hour in a day anytime. it will help the infected area to get dried up, as well as infection won’t increase. It helped my daughter and rashes went away in 2 days. Gud luck.

  21. by Vona_Nicole

    On March 3, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Sorry to hear ur baby is sick, its sounds like he could have a yeast infection has ne1 mentioned this……as for the rash try some regular cornstarch n air to the infected area nothing else bcuz if u put all day other stuff cover it up ur making the perferct breeding ground for bacteria moist n wet……n for his comfort try sirrn him in a warm water bath….relief hope this works:)

  22. by Blanca

    On March 3, 2012 at 4:40 am

    For my nephew this is what works: stop using baby wipes, we cleaned his butt under running water everytime. Is very time consuming but totally worth it. Use a clean towel and make sure he is completely dry. Then sprinkle him with cold cornstarch. Keep it in the refrigerator. This will help clear the rash. If the rash is because an infection then you’ll have to work with your doctor on that.

  23. by Kathy

    On March 3, 2012 at 6:22 am

    There is a diaper cream called Butt wonders.

  24. by Ashley Vickery

    On March 3, 2012 at 7:01 am

    I am sorry to hear about your son. It sucks when they’re sick. I had two instances where my son had almost the same issue. One was when I was breastfeeding. I had to cut back on dairy as it was making my son have terrible poops. I brought in one of his diapers so they could see and it turned out he had a mild milk allergy. (his bottom was very red and loads of runny poop).
    Second time, he had the flu. He had diahrrea for almost 2 weeks and his diaper rash was so bad his bottom bled. We used triple paste mixed with a little plain Maalox for diaper cream. The nurse said that the Maalox helped with the acidity of his poop before it touched his skin. We also started him on kids probiotics. It’s called Floristor. It took a few weeks, but he eventually got better. Ask your doctor about it.
    I hope this helps!

  25. by Jennifer

    On March 3, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Love Boudreaux’s Buttpaste, have used it on both my children with great results! I have had the same issue with diaper rash with my 10 week old and used Lansinoh lanolin (used for nipple irritation) until it cleared in a couple of days ( most important to apply when area is dry). We also went through eliminating food from my diet with no results, he was diagnosed with reflux early on.

  26. by Karmen

    On March 3, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Huggies in red package and dry his skin then use petroleum jelly (Vaseline). Good luck.

  27. by Erin

    On March 3, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    AQUAPHOR! It forms the best barrier and has always cleared up my babies diaper rashes. Best of luck.

  28. by Sarah

    On March 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I have a friend whose baby was born without an anus(!). I don’t know the details; they live across the country, so the only news I get is from her mother. When they fixed the poor kid, he had CRAZY diaper rash. My friend and her husband tried everything. For weeks. Finally, someone told her that she should just use water. When she changed his diaper, she would spray him gently, then wipe with a clean soft rag, then pat him dry, then put on the clean diaper. Nothing else, and within a few days, the rash was gone. I don’t know if it will work with Emmett, but it might be worth trying, right?

    This baby is about a year older than mine, and I literally had nightmares that my kid would come out without an anus. It just sounds awful. My mantra was “ten fingers, ten toes, one anus.”

  29. by oneseemehere42

    On April 22, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Thanks for a great reference for blogging. Am hoping to build a learning blog with my grade 6 students this year and I’m sure I will be back often to get some fantastic inspiration. Just wondering if I could use and adapt the guidelines you have on your class blog. TIA

  30. [...] let me backtrack for a moment. I wrote about my frustration with all of the various (7) pediatricians I’ve been to since Fia was born. A couple of them [...]