Soothing oatmeal bath for diaper rash relief

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Eva has just had a diaper rash that just wouldn’t go away. It started really bad after an undiscovered poopy diaper, but we quickly got it under control using boiled water cloths. Or almost. The rash was healing so well, when Eva decided that she did not want these cloths or any diaper cream or oil on her bottom. She hardly wanted to get her bum washed during diaper changes. Then what to do? Since she could still be persuaded into taking a bath, I decided to look into healing baths and I’m really thankful that I did. After one bath her bottom looked much better, the redness had pretty much gone, the skin seemed less irritated and the healing could finally commense.

So what am I talking about? Oatmeal baths! You might already know of this, but it works so well it derserves to be mentioned again and again. I gave Eva an oatmeal bath two days in a row and her diaper rash has now gone away. I still swear by boiled water cloths, but this is a great, chemical free addition to the “red bum”-repetoire.  The oatmeal bath might not cure the diaper rash in itself, but it helps soothe the inflammation really well. The cause of the diaper rash should of course still be looked into and treated.

So how does it work?

Oats are known to have some great antioxidant properties which are great against skin irritation and inflammation like a diaper rash, but also eczema, bug bites etc. Further oats contain saponins which gently absorb dirt and oil on the surface of the skin making it a great skin cleanser for sensitive skin like a bum with a diaper rash. Oats also contains fats (lipids) that will stay on the skin after a bath, creating a protective barrier to keep moisture locked in and are are even suppose to help protect againt yeast infections. Therefore make sure to not rub the skin dry after the bath, but instead either pad it dry gently or let it air dry, so you don’t remove the protective barrier.

I was so pleased with how well the oatmeal bath worked that I think I’m going to grind and add some oats to the next diaper cream I make for Eva or her baby brother or sister.

You’ll need:

There are two ways you can do the oatmeal bath – for one of them you’ll need a grinder and for the other you’ll need a cheesecloth or similar.

  • About 1 dl (0,4 cups) rolled oats (organic preferable) – this should fit a standard baby bathtub

Verison 1:

  • A porous bag or piece of cloth like a cheesecloth, old stocking/pantyhose, muslin bag or similar
  • An rubber band or piece of string (to close the cheesecloth)

Version 2:

  • A coffee grinder, food processor or whatever you that can grind the oates very finely

A little heads up: The oats will make the bath more slippery, so try not to let your child stand up in the tub without your help.

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How to (version 1):

  1. Add the oats to the bag or cloth of your choice. Make sure to close it securely, so the oats don’t come out – either with a knot or a rubber band. You could grind the oats if you want making it a bit easier/faster to get the oats “working”, but it is definitely not necessary.
  2. Pop the oatmeal bundle in the bathtub and fill it with water. Make sure the water is not to hot. If you wish to add anything extra to the bath, this would be the time – just make sure it won’t irritate the skin further.
  3. Put your child in the bath and gently sqeeuze the oat bundle under water to get the oats activated faster. The colour of the water will turn all milky white.
  4. Let your child soak in the bath for 15-20 minutes. No need to remove the oat bundle. It can be played with. I do however also recommend adding ducks and other fun toys to the bath.
  5. For best relief let your kid’s bum air dry before putting on a new diaper. If you don’t want to wait with the diaper, remember to pad the bum dry – do not rub the skin.

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How to (version 2):

  1. Grind the oats in grinder of choice. It needs to be grinded up into a fine powder. To test if the oatmeal has been ground fine enough, add a small amount to a glass of warm water. If the water turns a uniform milky white, it’s perfect. If not, grind some more.
  2. Fill a bathtub with water. Make sure the water is not to hot.
  3. Add the oatmeal mixture to the water and stir until it seems to be dissolved. The colour of the water will turn all milky white. If you wish to add anything extra to the bath, this would be the time –  just make sure it wont irritate the skin further.
  4. Pop your kid into the bath and let them soak in it for 15-20 minutes. I recommend adding ducks and other fun toys to the bath – preferable something that can easily be cleaned as this version will leave some residue on the bottom of the bathtub.
  5. For best relief let your kid’s bum air dry before putting on a new diaper. If you don’t want to wait with the diaper, remember to pad the bum dry – do not rub the skin.  

You can grind a big batch of oats so they are ready next time your kids – or youself – needs an oatbath. Just make sure to keep it in an airtight container, so it stays fresh.

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