Monday, April 2, 2012

The Ongoing Battles of Cloth Diapering Part 1: Rashes

For the next few weeks I will be doing a series on The Ongoing Battles of Clothdiapers.

Rashes. They are a part of life. Some kids have more, some kids have less. There are so many types of rashes, and everyone has their own ways of dealing with them. Unfortunately, some moms give up on cloth diapering because of this. While most people have something that works for them, not everyone has mastered the diaper rash battle.

So, how do you deal with a rash in cloth diapers?

Step 1. Identify that rash!

Teething? Food sensitivities? Yeast? How can you tell what is what? Well, what has changed? Have you made changes in your wash routine? Diet? Is the rash raised? Are there red bumps? Yeast is the most common  type of diaper rash. It is recognisable by the little red bumps.

Step 2. Treat that rash!

Different rashes need different treatment.
Treating yeast is a tricky one. Many moms will resort to using disposables until the rash is cleared up. This is one rash that can linger for a long time. So, how do you beat it? You have to treat your diapers as well as the rash. The best ways to treat your diapers are:
Sun shine
Hot Hot Hot water

Now that's done, what about the rash it self? The best thing to do is keep that bum dry. Air is a babies sore bum's best friend. Yeast thrives in warm, wet, dark places. So air that bum out! The best option for treating yeast is with an over the counter or prescription anti-fungal cream. CJ's BUTTer has a yeast formula, but I have not tried it yet, so I can't comment on it's effectiveness. Some natural yeast remedies include Tea Tree oil, Grapefruit seed extract, and Apple Cider Vinegar. Dilute with water and apply directly on the rash. 
Another great trick is Probiotics. You can safely give them to the baby by opening up a capsule and pouring it in their food, or applying onto a nipple or soother and have them suck it off. This will kill the yeast internally as well.

Cranberry juice! Drinking cranberry juice treats and prevents rashes by lowering the acidity in the urine. This was the only thing that worked for my son.

Detergent Sensitivities 
Diaper rash due to detergent is common. The problem can be too much or too little detergent, or a sensitivity to the detergent itself. First you have to find out what the issue is. Strip your diapers by washing them in hot water with no detergent 2-4 times. For the first wash, use a lower water setting, and look for suds. Lower water causes the diapers to agitate more aggressively, forcing the soap out of the fibres. If you see suds, you are using too much soap. Strip out the build up, and the rash should improve. Continue washing with no detergent until there are no suds left.

If you do not see suds on the first wash, the problem could be too little detergent, or hard water. Many people are so afraid of causing a detergent build up that they don't use enough detergent. If you suspect your detergent is to blame, try contacting the company. Many cloth diaper detergents offer amazing customer service that can help you fix your wash routine. If that is not an option, then a change in detergent might be the trick.
Now, what about water softness. Well that's a whole new set of troubles. First check the map to see if you live in a region with hard water.
Canada Water Harness Map

There are many companies that offer hard water detergents. Next week, I will go into wash routines more, and offer more hard water options.

Food sensitivities
The only way to fix this one is to identify the offending food. If your baby is especially rashy, keep a journal of the foods the baby (and/or Mommy if breastfeeding) are eating and the rashes that develop. The rash should disappear only the offending food is out of the baby's system.

Step 3. Prevent that rash!

As with anything else, prevention is the best. The best way to prevent a rash is naked time. Air really is the best thing for your babies skin. Natural fibres, breathable covers such as fleece and wool, and barrier creams all do their part in preventing rashes. Well all want to keep smiles on our baby's faces.

I realize this is really the tip of the iceberg. There are many other types of rashes. These are just some of my experiences, and what worked for me. Other good ideas are the use of  Hazelwood or Amber jewellery.
If you have a persistent rash that is not going away, consider  visiting your family doctor for more help.

Here are links to some clothdiaper safe creams. (The top 2 are my favourite


Thirsties Booty Love

GroVia Magic Stick

Don't forget, even with clothdiaper friendly creams, it is still a good idea to use a liner (flushable or fleece) to protect your diapers.


Divine.Unity said...

My babies have skin issues too. I use organic castile soap and it helps alot. I get mine at EverGreenHerbals.etsy if your interested.

Karen Hedden said...

Thanks for the blog, I will be passing it on to my niece who is expecting twins in November!