Dealing with Diaper Rash
Diaper rash can develop for a number of reasons, from teething to illness to sensitivities to foods, fabrics, materials, and detergents. It is important to first try to determine the root cause of a rash and deal with it accordingly. Change baby frequently, and give baby’s bum plenty of diaper-free time and warm soaking baths to ease discomfort and speed up healing.
Ammonia/bacteria — An insufficient wash routine can leave behind ammonia and bacteria in the diapers. This is most frequently caused from using small amounts of weaker “cloth safe” detergent or homemade detergents and soaps. If the diaper rash is caused by the wash routine, the best solution is to do at a bleach soak, or a mineral strip.
Yeast — Yeast is a common cause of persistent diaper rashes. A yeast rash will often show up as small bumps, but can also be solid red and warm to the touch. Yeast can be treated with antifungal creams like Clotrimazole or Nystatin (prescription). If using creams or ointments be sure to use a disposable liner to help prevent the transfer of any ingredients that could be harmful to your cloth diaper. Fluff University offers more information on dealing with yeast in diapers.
Teething, acidic foods, food allergy, or food sensitivity — It’s common for teething or food to cause diaper rashes. Frequently, these will present as a red patch inside the baby’s bottom, but can also show up where the skin comes in contact with urine. It can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of food-related diaper rashes, but acidic foods such as oranges can often be the cause.
Cloth diapers actually allow baby’s skin to breathe, and therefore heal more quickly than their disposable counterparts. Natural materials such as bamboo, cotton, and hemp are far superior for protecting baby’s bottom and absorbing moisture than (often) chemical filled disposables. Super absorbent disposables are filled with gel and other moisture wicking chemicals that pull away the natural oils on baby’s skin that help to prevent and heal rashes.
Keeping your cloth diapers dry and clean with a natural detergent, free from residue, and changing frequently (about every 2 hours, or whenever diaper is soiled) is all you need to keep baby’s bum rash-free.
When a diaper rash requires a little extra help from creams and ointments, continue reading below for considerations when selecting a brand.
If diaper cream is necessary, using a disposable liner will help to prevent the transfer of any ingredients that could be harmful to your cloth diaper. Liners can be store bought, biodegradable, fleece, microfleece, or cloth wipes. Even t-shirt material cut to fit your diaper will work!Take care in choosing a brand that uses ‘cloth diaper safe ingredients’. Some common diaper cream ingredients that can cause staining, repelling, or odors and should be avoided are as follows:
- Petroleum/petroleum jelly
- Zinc OxideWhite or yellow petrolatum
- Cod liver oil
A great resource we often refer to is the Diaper Cream Index by Fluff Love University.