What is the glass test?
Use the side of a clear glass to press firmly against the skin where a rash is evident. Spots or a rash that does not fade under pressure is a medical emergency. Do not wait! Please note that rashes can be harder to see on brown or black skin.
Should I call a doctor for a baby rash?
Most baby rashes don’t need medical help. Rashes can be a normal reaction to life outside the womb which was sterile. If however your baby has a temperature as well as a rash or they are lethargic, seem unwell or the rash doesn’t pass the glass test (see above) it’s essential you seek medical help.
When babies are born, they often have really clear skin. They may have some vernix on – this is the stuff that looks a bit like lard & if they’re born early, they may well have quite a lot. This is really good for their skin – just let them absorb it. But after that their skin’s often really beautiful for…a few days! Let’s take a look at some common baby rashes!
You’ll often find babies go quite spotty, flaky, and have blemished skin. Newborn photographers openly admit to using Photoshop to hide these. You’ll see this lovely image supplied by ‘Little Poppitt Photography‘, a fantastic newborn photographer & you can see how they’ve actually edited out those blemishes. So if you’ve got a newborn photo shoot booked, don’t panic! They will work their magic!
When to Get Medical Help
There’s a general rule that if your baby has a rash and they seem unwell, they’re handling differently to usual, they’re irritable or they’ve got a raised temperature, it’s essential that you seek medical help!
You can also do the glass tests. If your baby’s got a rash, place a glass on the spots & look if you can see those red spots through the glass, when you press the glass. If you can see them through, seek urgent medical attention because it could potentially be meningitis or septicemia which are really serious. But if you press that glass on the skin & the spots disappear & then when you take the glass away, they reappear, that’s really reassuring. If baby’s handling well and seem their usual self & they’ve got a rash it’s probably one of these things…
Varieties of Baby Rash
Now to start with, Milia. People usually refer to this as ‘milk spots’ & you normally find this onthe nose, or at least on the face. Milia is a protein that the body produces & then this actually becomes trapped under the skin, showing these kind of milk spots.
Another rash that you may see is Baby Acne. About 20% of babies get this & it looks quite similar to teenage acne &
in the same way, it’s generally thought to be produced by hormones. The baby in the image from Little Poppitt’s Photography is an example of this.
The most common rash is Erythema Toxicum & it sounds really bad when the word ‘toxic’ is in the title! But actually it should probably be called ‘common baby rash’ because about 70% of babies get this & it’s completely
benign! There’s no consequence to it at all. You just need to leave it be & it will go. You can see this as like a red base with a white middle that’s kind of got puss in it, it’s quite unsightly, and you normally see it on the baby’s face
& upper body. So if you spot this, don’t panic!
Another rash that you may spot is Heat Rash. Now some people refer to this as ‘prickly heat’. It appears as very small red dots. If it’s a hot day then it’ll probably be obvious that that’s what it is. But you may spot this, on cooler days if your baby is feeding lots (cluster feeding) and you’ve got them tucked into you or you’re holding them a lot that day, they may get hot & have heat rash.
And another rash to look out for, is Nappy Rash. You don’t need to use medicated nappy creams, to prevent this. Instead to help prevent it, when you change your baby’s nappy, let their legs kick a little; let the air get to their skin. You may even find they like the hairdryer on a cooler setting slowing on them briefly! WARNING! You may get splashed in the process as they do a wee! If you do spot that they’ve got some Nappy Rash then you can use coconut oil or pure lanolin such as lansinoh (yes it’s sold as nipple cream but it has more uses!) Both of these are natural products & often actually help it to go away before having to use something medicated. Do a small patch test before smearing it on!
Cradle Cap is less of a rash but more like flaky skin that you see on the baby’s scalp or trapped in their hair. You don’t actually need to do anything to get rid of this but quite often people like to because they think it looks a little unsightly. If you want to try & get rid of it, smear lots of coconut oil onto your baby’s scalp (remember to do a patch test first although it is very rare for babies to be allergic to coconut oil as it is not actually a nut). Leave it for an hour or two to do its work & then get a really finely toothed comb or a nit comb & very, very gently release the dead skin. You’ll need to wash your baby’s hair after. Don’t be tempted to use olive oil on your baby’s skin, or on their scalp because this changes the pH level. Sunflower oil & vegetable oils deoxygenate and should be avoided too.
A word of advice
Don’t be tempted to squeeze or pick these spots or rashes! If you think your baby is unwell and just not themselves, then always seek medical attention! And remember to check they pass the glass test.
Use non-biological washing products & try even consider more natural products generally for your baby. Keep them clean, but they don’t actually need a bath daily. That’s actually quite drying for their skin.
If you’d like to know more about all things ‘life after birth’ then do check out our Life After Birth Course or one of our Comprehensive Antenatal Courses with all you need to know for pregnancy, labour, birth, pain relief, coping methods as well as life after birth.
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