Can Formula Cause Diaper Rash for a Breastfed Baby?

Updated on April 14, 2008
A.S. asks from Roanoke, TX
7 answers

I've breastfed my baby since birth but he's beginning to lose interest and not gaining weight as well. So, I've been supplementing with some formula after I nurse him along with his solids. I've never had much luck with pumping, so I turned to formula to supplement. The last few days, he has developed what I consider the worse diaper rash his little tail has ever seen, and I was wondering if it's the formula. He really has never had a serious case, but this is terrible IMO. Anyone with a similar experience? are some formula brands better than others about preventing diaper rash?

Also, what's the best bottom goo (aka rash cream) to put on it? We've been using A&D but it doesn't seem to be doing much for this. TIA.

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So What Happened?

Thanks mamas. I thought about his diet and adjusted his solids so it was more balanced. Also we've been using the suggested diaper rash creams, Dr Smith's and Aquaphor, and his little tail is looking great now! Thanks everyone!

More Answers



answers from San Diego on

Hi Amanda,

We had the opposite affect with our son when he was a newborn. The breast milk made his BM to be so watery and it made the worst little rash on his bottom that it actually bled a little. We switched to formula at that time.

As for bottom goo, I swear by Aquaphor, I think it's the best thing ever!! It works great for dry skin on faces too and I use it on my hands when they get dry. But for diaper rash - it's the best!!

Good luck, I hope his little bottom clears up soon!



answers from Dallas on

Most diaper rashes have nothing to do with formula; however, it is possible. Here is a list of the types of diaper rashes:

Chafing dermatitis. Also known as friction rash, this is the most common form of diaper rash, which makes its mark as redness wherever the diaper rubs against the skin (around the legs, for example, hips, and belly button, in addition to the bum and genitals). Chafing dermatitis is apt to come and go, causing baby little discomfort. It can be easily treated — and sometimes even prevented — with diaper cream, frequent diaper changes, and a looser fitting diaper (consider going up a size if the fit is too tight, and go easy on those tabs, Mom!).

Candidal dermatitis. This tender, deep-red rash is caused by Candida, a yeast-like fungus. (In other words, a yeast infection. And yes, boys can get it too!) It appears in the creases between the abdomen and thigh and can spread from there. Children who are on antibiotics are susceptible to yeast infections, which can be cured with antifungal cream.

Perianal dermatitis: This appears as redness around the anus and is usually caused by alkaline (a high pH factor) in your baby's stools. If your baby is formula-fed and/or has started solids, diet can sometimes be a culprit (this skin condition is uncommon in breast-fed babies). Depending on the severity, treatment can be as simple as a diet change (less fruit, perhaps) coupled with a diaper ointment.

Intertrigo: This type of rash is caused by the rubbing of skin on skin, often at the deep folds between the thigh and lower abdomen. In can sometimes ooze white or yellowish pus, and it may sting when urine touches it (causing your little one to cry each time he or she pees). Generally, a hydrocortisone cream, either prescription or over-the-counter, is the remedy.

Atopic dermatitis: This itchy rash, also known as eczema, often shows up as red scaly patches in other parts of the body first. It can spread to the legs and groin area when a child is between six and 12 months. Causes of infant eczema include allergens, irritants, or hereditary factors. Treatment is usually a hydrocortisone cream.

Seborrheic dermatitis: Better known as cradle cap, this rash can start on the scalp and spread south, or start in the diaper area and spread north. Despite its ugly appearance (deep red, often with yellowish scales), it doesn't appear to cause infants too much discomfort, and generally, cradle cap goes away on its own. Treatment for seborrheic dermatitis in the diaper area is usually a prescribed steroid cream.

Impetigo: This rash, which can occur anywhere on the body, is caused by bacteria (streptococci or staphylococci). In the diaper area, it shows up in two different forms: Bullous has large, thin-walled blisters that burst, leaving a thin, yellow-brown crust; nonbullous has thick, yellow, crusted scabs and a lot of surrounding redness. The treatment is usually a prescription antibiotic.



answers from Dallas on

If you think it is the formula than try another brand or type (like soy ). Once the rash clears up go back to the original type. If another rash develops, you know it's the formula.

My boys were sensitive to the brand of diaper and wipes. They got rashes that were hard to get rid of whenever I used anything but Pampers brand. You may want to try switching diaper brands too. Also don't use the wipes on the rash. The chemicals sting their little bottoms. I would buy the disposable wash cloths, but rinse out almost all the soap. You could use wet paper towels, but they are kind of rough.

My sister is a pediatrician and she recommends you use several creams. Like the other response said there are several causes for diaper rash, this covers the most common. Here is her "recipe":
1) Yeast cream such as Vagisil. (make sure you but the Vagisil with the tube of cream, usualy in the 7 day treatment and the cheapest box.)
2) Neopsporin (or other triple-antibiotic cream)
3) 1% Hydrocortisone (ointment or cream)
4) Diaper rash cream (like your A&D)
Apply a small amount of each cream in this order. I labeled my tubes 1-4 with a sharpie. Then I removed the lids and lined them up. After cleaning with the disposable wash cloths, remember no chemical wipes, allow to air dry. Then put the creams on. Yes this is very messy and hard to do, especially the first time or when the baby is wiggly. I usually set everything up on a towel on the floor.

Good Luck.



answers from Dallas on

Hello Amanda,

he could be allergic to that particular formula. try soy formula and see if helps. search mamasource for diaper rash and you'll find a lot of other responses. sorry I'm in a hurry right now but wanted to add my .5 cent. good luck! and keep searching for the source of the rash. does he have any allergies? could it be eczema... hopefully he's not allergic to soy. my Godson was allergic to soy, milk, wheat, ragweeds and nuts by the time he was 8 months old. keeping him away from wheat and milk for 1 year then he was able to have those. no luck /w soy yet. ~C.~



answers from Dallas on

This sounds a lot like a formula allergy. If the formula is soy based, it could easily be a soy allergy. I would stop the formula ASAP, start with a different kind, make sure it's a different base, i.e., rice. Check with your baby doc about a formula allergy, they can recommend a different formula for you to try if you don't feel comfortable doing it on your own.



answers from Dallas on

I would try athlete's foot powder and see if it clears up the rash if it does it was a yeast infection. Even if he is not on antibiotics he can still get yeast infections.
if it doesn't clear it up then i would try any of the below recommendations from the other posts.
there was another post today about diaper rash. i will refer you to that one. there was alot of good ideas.
and just for the record, candida is not a yeast-like fungus. IT IS a yeast and yeasts are considered fungus. So make sure to use medication specific for fungal infections and most over the counter topical yeast medications can be used. any vaginal creams can be used topically, as can athelete's foot powders, lotrimin. do not use any aerosol sprays however.
if it is not yeast, get the thickest thing out there.
i uses desitin, but the other post listed about 5 different good products.
Wendy P posted, using creams in a certain order. You can also squeeze them all together and make your own cream. I have done that also. HD had alot of good interventions. I wouldn't underestimate OTC hydrocortisone cream either.

good luck.



answers from Wichita Falls on

formula can do that to a child if they have an allerguic reaction to the formula that you are giving. I would try Dr. Smith's diaper rash cream... i have used that with both my children (6 yrs and 15 months) and they responded wonderfully. My daughter at one point had a rash that started to bleed. When i got this diaper rash for her, the next diaper change her bum was barely pink... It does work well. I would also suggest that if your son is not wanting to feed off of you maybe you can pump and see if he takes it like that... do you also feed him jared/ table foods? that can also be the case of him not gaining so much weight but you just have to make sure that he eats enough for the iron and other nutrients that he needs....

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