safe motherhood


Nappy rash/thrush

If your baby's bottom is very sore and red then he or she may have a nappy rash. Most babies get this at some time, there may be red spots or just general soreness.

Nappy rash can be caused by:

• Substances in your baby's urine reacting with bacteria in the faeces, which irritate the skin. You should change your baby's nappy frequently. If a rash has developed, apply a cream, such as zinc and castor oil cream.

• Your baby's skin being damp. Dry your baby's bottom thoroughly after changing their nappy, or leave your baby without a nappy on to let the area dry. Small babies love to kick when their nappies are taken off.

• The use of soap or baby wipes. Your baby may be allergic to the productuse warm water and cotton wool instead.

• Washing terry nappies in strong detergents or conditioner. Use mild non-biological detergents and rinse very thoroughly.


If the condition gets very bad or won't go away, the nappy rash may actually be thrush, which is an infection that needs treatment by your doctor. Thrush is caused by the overgrowth of the fungal organism Candida albicans and flourishes in moist areas of the body such as the vagina, groin or mouth.

Oral thrush appears as small white spots on the baby's tongue and the inside of the lips and cheeks. If these are wiped off there is a red raw area underneath. Thrush causes the mouth to be tender and will make feeding difficult. (See also Feeding your baby/breastfeeding problems, for thrush affecting breastfeeding)

There are two treatments available on prescription for oral Thrush: a suspension with a dropper, and an oral gel. If your baby experiences recurrent oral thrush, and you are using feeding bottles and teats, try another method of sterilisation other than tablets or sterilising fluid, for example, steam sterilising.

Topics In This Article: