One of the most delicious things about babies is all of their adorable fluffy rolls. Rolls on their belly, rolls around their wrists, and those undeniably edible little chunky rolls on their chubby thighs. However, sometimes these rolls come with a little something extra when they get a bit too moist — yeast. And I don't mean the stuff that makes bread rise. These tricky infections are uncomfortable for the baby, smelly, and all-around unpleasant. But how to remove yeast infections from baby's skin seems like it could get complicated due to the sensitivity of baby's skin. It's very fortunate that pediatricians have the treatment for this fungus down to a science so that we just have to follow along.
Yeast infections of the skin are really common in babies, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They noted that the fungal infection is caused by an overgrowth of candida albicans, which is found on the skin under normal conditions, but can grow rapidly in areas that are particularly warm and moist, like the folds of the neck, diaper area, and thigh. According to Johns Hopkins University Hospital, yeast infections are fairly easy to identify. The hospital noted that "the skin is a deep red color with patches outside of the diaper area. A baby may also have a yeast infection in the mouth (thrush)." As for treatment, they wrote that you should keep the area clean, cool, and dry, and that your pediatrician might prescribe an anti-fungal cream.
My daughter seemed especially prone to diaper and yeast infections. It seemed that every week her bottom and thighs broke out in a flush so red it could've doubled as a coloring for a crappy political hat. She would get really angry and irritable whenever it happened, and we did our best to prevent it. Our pediatrician was very specific — we were instructed to change her diaper frequently, only give cool baths with gentle, fragrance-free cleansers, and apply a barrier paste like Aquaphor to irritated areas before diapering.
But not for all the prayers in the world did she avoid them. Now I'm a master of how to remove yeast from baby's skin because I had to become a yeast Jedi. (Which is also the name of my new post-punk feminist sci-fi themed bakery.) Her poor skin just took to the yeast like a duck to very fungus-ridden water. Eventually, we were given Nystatin cream to apply a few times per day when she would break out, and it seemed to be the only thing to work — for a while. Later on, she had to take an oral anti-fungal as well. She hasn't had a problem since.
Orlando pediatrician Dr Gregory Gordon, MD said on his website that there are a few tricks that can really help get rid of the yeast on baby's skin. "One of my favorite tricks to treat diaper rashes is using a blow dryer on low setting. After the 'poopy' diapers: wipe the area clean, blow dry on low until completely dry and then coat with a barrier cream (like Destin)," he said. My daughter hated the blow dryer treatment, but my son thought it was a gift. He'd laugh and laugh as I'd fan the air back and forth. Pro tip: cover your son's penis before you blow dry, as it means almost instantaneous pee to the face, otherwise.
If you think it's yeast, call your pediatrician. They might think there's cause for a prescription cream or more care than what you're able to provide at home, but don't worry. Treating yeast eventually becomes like a muscle memory — I could do it in my sleep.