Demystifying diaper rash connected to citrus

Little ones often love to try new and exciting flavors, especially citrus flavors. But their digestive systems might not be ready to fully process these fun foods. What causes citrus-related diaper rash, and what can you do about it?

By Pamela Diamond




My son gets diaper rash every time he eats oranges – but he loves them. It isn’t an allergy (we’ve checked), it’s just a reaction to the citrus on his skin. Is there a way to prevent diaper rash so that his bum doesn’t turn red when he eats certain foods?

Introducing solids and experimenting with new foods can be such a fun time in our babies’ lives.

It can also be messy and sometimes troublesome, like when diaper rash happens. Lindsey Hurd Reeves, a registered dietitian, lactation consultant and founder of Angel Food Lactation & Nutrition, LLC has answers for you.

Lindsey noted that certain foods such as citrus fruits, fruit juices, tomatoes, pineapple, and grapes can impact the chemical make-up of your baby’s stool, making it more acidic.

She said our bodies prefer a neutral acid/alkaline balance and will jump into action to help neutralize the acid when there’s too much. “In an infant, this system is still immature, and their bodies are still developing these control systems within their digestive system to help neutralize the higher acidity they are consuming,” Lindsey explained. Limiting how many acidic foods baby eats in a day may help him better handle the ones he does eat. “One of the best ways to help your little one when he is enjoying oranges is to be mindful of other acidic foods he is consuming that day, and especially at the same meal, to help reduce the overall load in his digestive system,” she said. For example, it might not be ideal to serve oranges at lunch and spaghetti with marinara for dinner.

Earth Mama Organics

Diaper rash ointment may be one of your most helpful tools as well.

It’s important to use a strong barrier cream for your little one’s bottom when you are serving acidic foods. Zinc oxide and petroleum jelly are the most common ingredients in diaper rash ointments because they are water insoluble, giving them a barrier effect. Use it liberally in the areas that get irritated. And of course, change wet and dirty diapers often.


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