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Don't Be Rash

Thursday, August 8, 2013
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Dear Miriam,

My three-month-old just started daycare and now has diaper rash. One of the caretakers pointed it out and asked me to bring in cream. He never had it during the three months he was home with me. Also, it seems that every time I pick him up from daycare, he has a really dirty diaper. I really like the caretakers and they seem to really like my son and my husband and me. As much as I don't want to stir the pot and be "those parents," I can't shake the feeling that I should say something. Any ideas on how to approach this without suffering too much backlash? 

Signed,
Don't be Rash


Dear Rash,

The transition back to work after parental leave is challenging no matter the circumstances, and I'm sorry to hear you're dealing with an additional set of complications. It's wonderful that you like the caretakers and that they seem affectionate towards your son, and I imagine that makes dropping him off every morning at least a little bit easier. But you're right, you do need to say something, and you should approach the situation with as much kindness and honesty as you would want the caretakers to show towards the members of your family.

Since they mentioned the diaper rash, you have a pretty easy opportunity to mention the dirty diapers as well. Bring in some diaper rash cream as requested. Tell them that you're not sure if this brand will work for your son's tush because you've  never had to deal with diaper rash before. Then say that you noticed his dirty diaper the past few days when you picked him up, and you suspect that prolonged time in a dirty diaper could be contributing to the problem.

Then wait a few days and see if the situation improves. Pay attention to his rash, and pay attention to his diapers when you pick him up. If you notice that both are improving, thank the caretakers for working with you to be attentive to your son's needs. Obviously it's their job, but it's a difficult, and, I imagine, often thankless one, and I'm sure they'd appreciate having a parent thank them for being resposive to their concerns. If the diapers are clean at the end of the day, but the rash isn't improving, try another brand of cream, or try switching to sensitive skin diapers and/or wipes. Babies' skin does change, and even if he never had a rash before, it may just be a normal baby thing that he's going through. If the rash improves but the diapers are still dirty, tell the caretakers that you're so glad the cream is working, but you're still concerned that staying in a dirty diaper too long could cause a relapse. 

Every time I call the pediatrician, and the calls are frequent, I admit, I worry about being "those parents," and every time I've mentioned that feeling to a friend (especially fellow parents), the response is always the same: everyone is "those parents." We care about our kids, and we want them to be taken care of in the best possible way even when we're not with them. On the one hand, that means these daycare workers are surely used to parents complaining about everything imaginable. On the other hand, you're the ultimate decision maker as to what really is best for your child, and if something raises your concerns about the daycare even after taking these steps, you may feel better considering other childcare options. 

Be well,
Miriam
 

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