Babies move through several milestones in the early months of development that include babbling, drooling, and blowing bubbles and raspberries.
Drooling becomes noticeable between 3-6 months of age, which is caused by increased salivation (sialorrhea) that may be due to teething or the baby putting things in the mouth out of curiosity.
Drooling is normal but if the baby shows any signs of being unwell along with excessive drooling, you must contact the pediatrician.
Drooling or increased salivation serves several important roles in babies.
- It helps soothe the gums during teething.
- It moistens the baby’s mouth.
- It helps the baby feed on solid foods.
- It helps wash away the food residue from the baby’s mouth, thereby preventing oral infections.
- It protects against tooth decay.
- It contains enzymes (salivary amylase) that aid in the digestion of food.
Although saliva serves many purposes, the persistent presence of saliva can irritate your baby’s gentle skin, causing a drool rash. Drool rash can cause pain and irritate your baby’s skin and make them uncomfortable.
The rash is not contagious and can be managed easily with appropriate care at home. You must, however, consult your pediatrician to rule out any underlying health conditions. The pediatrician will also help confirm the diagnosis, whether it is a drool rash or an infection.
Drool rash appears as red, swollen areas on the skin. You may also notice some small red bumps. The rash generally affects the areas that stay in contact with the saliva, such as lips, cheeks, and chin. In some babies, a rash may also be noticed on the neck and upper chest.
Although drool rash is commonly seen during teething, it is also observed in babies who use a pacifier or when the baby’s face is not wiped well after feeding. The residual milk left after feeds may irritate the baby’s skin, causing a rash.
What is the treatment of drool rash?
The treatment of drool rash involves the following:
- Keep your baby’s skin clean and dry by gently wiping their face, neck, and chest with a soft cotton cloth. Make sure the cloth is washed well because residual detergents can irritate the skin.
- You may use a damp cloth and gently dab the skin rather than rubbing it. Use tepid water and a clean, soft cloth to clean after every feeding.
- Make sure you don’t use scented wipes, which can further irritate the skin.
- Gently apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly. It acts as a barrier on the skin, preventing any more irritation.
- Sanitize the pacifiers before use. If pacifiers worsen the rash, limit their use, if possible.
- Wash the baby bottles after every feeding.
- Use a mild, unscented baby wash for bathing your baby.
- Keep your baby’s nails short because they tend to scratch the inflamed area. Making them wear soft cotton gloves will also help.
- Make sure you feed your baby well and keep them hydrated.
Drool rash generally gets better within 5-6 days of the above home remedies. Consult your pediatrician under the following circumstances:
- The rash does not get better even after a week of home management.
- The rash starts cracking or weeps.
- Your baby gets increasingly uncomfortable.
- Your baby looks lethargic.
- Your baby refuses to feed.
- Your baby has difficulty breathing or swallowing.
- It is accompanied by a fever.
- Anything else that you think needs medical attention
Is there a way to prevent drool rash?
Take the following steps to prevent drool rash from occurring:
- Frequently blot any excess drool from your baby's skin by gently dabbing with a soft cloth, such as a burp cloth.
- Use breathable clothes for your baby.
- Wipe your baby’s face by gently dabbing with tepid water after feeding.
- Use gentle, fragrance-free detergents for your baby’s clothes.
- Change your baby’s clothes if drooling dampens them.
- Use waterproof bibs for your baby.
- If your baby is teething, give them a cool teething ring or a cloth from the refrigerator. This will soothe the gums and prevent excessive drooling.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Michigan Medicine. "Newborn Rashes and Skin Conditions." <https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/zx1747>.
New Parent Support. "Teething Rash: How to Help Your Baby." <https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/teething/teething-rash-how-help-your-baby>.
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