Being a mama can feel like an endless game of Should I worry about insert new development? And yes, newborn rash is one of the many possible “new developments” on the list.
The good news is:
In most cases, rashes on newborns are nothing to be too concerned over and will clear up with a dose of Magical Mama TLC.
What is a newborn rash?
The first thing to know is that not every newborn rash is created equal. There are a variety of reasons why your little one may be breaking out—as well as a number of locations where this may be occurring.
So let’s break it down:
What causes skin rash in newborn babies?
Newborn diaper rash
Newborn diaper rash is common. Both you and that little poop factory are getting used to this new world of diapers, so it’s not surprising that there will be a few (literal) bumps in the road.
The most common cause of newborn diaper rash is good ol’ chafing.
So here’s how you prevent and treat it:
Change diapers often, clean and dry the area well, and apply a diaper rash cream before popping the next one on.
Another possible cause of a newborn diaper rash is a yeast infection. Because yeast thrives in damp, moist places, the same prevention tips apply.
Changes in diet and irritants in lotions, wipes, and detergents can also be culprits. If you think this is the case, put your baby’s bum on an elimination diet.
So how long does a newborn rash last? It should go away in a few days. If not, chat to your doc.
Newborn rash on face
AKA baby acne. A newborn face rash just seems so unfair. Surely, those nasty bumps should wait until puberty before making their appearance on those gorgeous cheeks?
Baby acne looks like this: little red (or white) dots on your baby’s cheeks, forehead, and nose. This type of rash can make its grand entrance from around two weeks after your baby’s birth. It’s generally nothing to worry about and should exit the stage within a few months (or even weeks) of its arrival.
Why does this happen? Well, you may not be surprised to know that hormones and acne are happy bedfellows. Your baby has been exposed to quite a few on their journey from the uterus.
If your baby looks as though they are donning a tiny newborn rash hat, that’s likely cradle cap. Yup, it can look a little gross. It’s yellow. It’s crusty. It can be oily. And it’s coming for your baby’s scalp.
We don’t know exactly what causes cradle cap but it likely has something to do with the hormones that flow from you to them during the birthing process. Those hormones can cause excess oil to be produced in the hair follicles.
Luckily, however, there’s no real reason for concern here, and it’s probably not causing your little one any discomfort.
Newborn heat rash
If your baby gets too hot and bothered, their delicate skin may protest. Newborn heat rash has various names (miliaria, prickly heat) and comes in the form of tiny red or white pimple-like bumps.
When your little one gets too hot and gets their sweat on, those tiny pores can get clogged and their skin reacts in protest.
If you live in a hot, humid place, your little one is of course more susceptible. Keepin’ it cool as far as possible is the best prevention method. A damp cloth goes a long way. And loose clothing. Let that baby breathe. Mmmm.
A condition common in babies with darker skin tones, pustular melanosis (exhausting to say, we know) can cause pus-filled bumps that open up to create dark spots.
It happens right at the beginning of your baby’s life and should go away within a few days. The dark spots may linger for a few months but they are not causing your baby any discomfort.
When should you worry about a newborn rash?
In some cases, a rash can be a sign of a bigger problem, if accompanied by other symptoms.
If your little one experiences any of the following, call your doc right away:
- A newborn rash that doesn’t go away, swells, or is very hot to the touch
- Excessive pus
- A fever
- Extreme fussiness