Can Breast Milk Cause Diaper Rash? The Surprising Truth

  • By: Sandra
  • Date: March 18, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

There’s no doubt that breast milk is the best food for newborns, providing them with all the nutrients they need to grow and develop. But did you know that it can also cause diaper rash? It’s true!

Breast milk is often said to be the cure for diaper rash, but is it really the culprit?

The good news is that breast milk is not usually the cause of diaper rash on baby’s skin. In fact, most cases of diaper rash are caused by a yeast infection, and can be easily treated with over-the-counter creams or ointments.

What causes diaper rashes?

There are many different things that can cause diaper rash, including:

  • Wetness and chafing from diapers
  • Soap residue
  • Yeast infections
  • Allergies to detergents or other products used on the skin
  • Food allergies
  • Teething
  • Sickness
  • Babies who have skin problems such atopic dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis (eczema) are more prone to get diaper rash.
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Sensitive skin

Can a baby be allergic to Breast milk?

NO! If your baby is cranky, gassy, barfy, snorty, or rashy, you may be wondering, “Can babies be allergic to breastmilk?” But relax, the natural proteins in breastmilk are so light that they do not cause allergies in newborns.

But babies can be allergic to things that you eat, and small particles of these foods can get up in your milk! Babies are perfectly well with their mothers’ milk; but, they may be allergic to proteins that move through the mother’s intestines, into her circulation, and then into her milk.

Within an hour of eating a meal, the proteins from the food go into her breast milk. If your baby is allergic to a food, you may see symptoms within an hour of nursing.

What causes a baby’s food allergy?

The causes of food allergies in babies are not fully understood, but they may be due to a combination of genes and the environment. Some babies are more likely to develop food allergies if their parents or siblings have them. Exposure to certain allergens early in life (before age one) may also increase the risk of developing food allergies.

Babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop food allergies than those who are fed formula. This may be because the proteins in breast milk are more easily digested than the proteins in formula.

The best way to prevent food allergies is to avoid exposing your baby to potential allergens. If you are breastfeeding, try to avoid eating foods that could cause an allergic reaction.

What are the symptoms of food allergy in babies?

The symptoms of food allergy in babies can vary, but they may include:

  • Rashes or hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Colic
  • Diaper Rash

What to do if your breastfed baby has a food allergy?

If you think that your baby might be allergic to something in your diet, talk to your doctor about it. He or she may suggest that you keep track of what you eat and when your baby has symptoms. You may also need to eliminate certain foods from your diet.

3 Day Rule

If you are breastfeeding and your baby has a food allergy, you should avoid eating the food that is causing the reaction for at least three days. This will give your baby time to clear any traces of the allergen from his or her system.

During this time, it’s important to continue breastfeeding so that your baby still gets all the nutrients he or she needs. You can also give your baby an over-the-counter allergy medicine, such as Benadryl, to help relieve his or her symptoms.

Rethink your diet to Help Prevent Diaper Rash

No matter what food you are having or your baby is showing signs of discomfort from its important for any lactating mother to have a varied healthy diet. Allergies can develop at any time and a varied diet will help you notice sooner rather than later if something your eating is causing problems for your little one.

Your doctor may advise on an elimination diet to find the source of the allergy so it’s vital you keep a food diary every time you introduce a new food into your diet or baby’s diet.

Additional Tips to Treat Diaper Rash:

If your baby does develop diaper rash, then it’s important to help heal the baby’s skin as soon as possible.

  • Avoid scented baby wipes which may aggravate the baby’s sensitive skin and be skin irritation. Warm water and cotton balls or cloth wipes are the best to clean the irritated skin.
  • Leave your baby diaper-free as much as possible. Air is the best healer for a rash.
  • If you use a disposable diaper, change them often (every two to four hours). A baby’s diaper should not be allowed to sit for more than eight hours.
  • Babies can be allergic to disposable diapers so maybe try switching brands to see if this helps.
  • If you use a cloth diaper, change them frequently and rinse off the wet ones immediately after use. Use a stay-dry liner to keep the skin dry as a moist environment will make a diaper rash worse.
  • Avoid using harsh laundry detergent when washing cloth diapers and see if your need to strip wash your diapers. Wash diapers every 1-2 days and never use fabric softener.
  • At diaper change time make sure to thoroughly clean and dry your baby’s bottom. Frequent diaper changes are essential
  • If you are using a cream or ointment on the diaper area, make sure it is fragrance-free and made for babies.
  • Give your baby plenty of fluids to drink including human breast milk. This will help him or she avoid becoming dehydrated.
  • Use breast milk on diaper dermatitis its been proven to help clear up diaper rash. Consider making a breast milk lotion to help heal the rash for Diaper dermatitis care. 
  • Use a thick layer of diaper cream at diaper changes (natural is better than petroleum jelly) as a barrier cream or even use human milk to heal!

When should you consult a doctor or a medical professional?

If the rash persists for more than a week, consult your doctor.

If the baby has other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat, seek medical attention immediately.

Low Down on Whether Breastfeeding Can Cause Diaper Rash?

The key takeaways are:  Breast milk contains nutrients for your baby, but it may also contain allergens or irritants which could make your child’s skin break out in a red rash. If you notice any signs of discomfort from food allergies, talk to your doctor about eliminating certain foods from your diet while continuing breastfeeding so that your little one still gets all the nutrients he or she needs.

Breastfed babies may be more prone to diaper rash than formula babies due to the various food proteins which may pass through their mothers milk. Once babies start eating solid foods, the likelihood of diaper rash increases for all babies.

There are many ways to treat diaper rash, but it’s important to identify the cause first. If your baby has a persistent rash that does not improve with home treatment, consult your doctor for further evaluation and care.