Tuesday, April 7, 2009

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RASHES Happen!

High fevers and listlessness aside, there’s little else that raises our mommy alarms than a rash! Rashes come in all shapes and shades, even textures… some are quite frightening but typically harmless. Generally, rashes are usually a sign or symptom of a problem; this is especially true for diaper rashes.

First and foremost we always recommend consulting with your pediatrician, they are far more experienced and qualified to determine whether the rash requires any medical treatment or if it’s nothing to fret about.

Now, the good news for those who cloth diapers, rashes are a less common occurrence. Studies have shown approximately 5% of cloth diapered babies experience diaper rash issues as opposed to 50%+ amongst the disposable diapered babies.

Why such a drastic difference between the two?
Disposable diapers are made from plastics, not paper like many people mistakenly believe (even chlorine-free diapers are also made from plastic polymers). Plastic does not allow the skin to breathe properly and causes heat retention which can ultimately leads to rashes.

Additionally, some babies are very sensitive to the chemicals found in disposable diapers and are unable to wear them at all without developing severe blistering rashes. This is referred to as allergic contact dermatitis.

However, diaper rashes aren’t exclusive to the disposable diapering bunch. Rashes that occur with cloth diaper usage are typically either the result of prolonged wetness, sensitivity or reaction to detergent and/or bacterial residues on the diaper, or more rarely an allergic reaction to material/fabric itself.

Prolonged Wetness
Frequent diaper changes will generally resolve rash issues caused by prolonged wetness. It also helps to ensure baby is dry before putting another clean diaper on. Allow your children a few moments between changes to “air out.”

Some babies develop yeast rashes/infections due to continuous exposure to moisture/wetness, especially in their little nooks and crannies since yeast thrives in warm and moist areas. Therefore, it’s especially important to change baby regularly and ensure they are dry.

It’s important to note when battling a yeast rash/infection – the diapers do require disinfection. Otherwise, bacteria from the rash linger in the diapers and can ultimately re-infect your little one making the rash last for weeks and sometimes months on end!

Ways to disinfect your diapers
These are also helpful if you suspect a rash due to a buildup of bacteria as well…

Hot Water
Make sure you’re using hot water to wash your diapers (after your initial cold rinses of course). Hot water does help in killing a good majority of bacteria.

Vinegar

Depending on what type of diapers you’re using – you may consider using between ¼ - ½ cup vinegar in the main wash. The vinegar is acidic and works to kill most, if not all the bacteria.

Sunshine!

Be one with the SUN! Sunning is an excellent way to rid your diapers of bacteria naturally. It also helps whiten, brighten and remove pesky stains from your diapers.

Skin Reactions
Adverse skin reactions are trickier to figure out since there are so many!

If there is detergent buildup on your diapers then it is likely a child will experience a reaction due to the buildup while other children may truly have a sensitivity to the particular detergent. I suggest washing the diapers several times in hot water with no detergents or additives to ensure the diapers are free from detergent residues and see if that doesn’t resolve the issue. If a true allergy to the detergent is suspected then it is recommended to discontinue use of the product.

There are other skin reactions such as eczema, psoriasis, or just plain friction which results in rashes. Although rare, some children develop a sensitivity or allergy to synthetic fabrics and well. Therefore, it’s really important to consulting with your pediatrician or family doctor as they have years of experience and seen the gamut of rashes to provide a proper diagnosis.

Diaper Creams, Medicated Ointments and Powders
If you thought your cloth diaper options were numerous – try checking out the number of diaper creams and ointments on the market! A large majority of diaper creams and ointments aren’t cloth diaper friendly. There are a few that are, and my personal favorite is Northern Essence Better Butt(er). One of you wonderful mamas asked me about it a couple weeks ago so I decided to order some and test it myself… this stuff is wonderful! It has a lovely whipped texture and goes on very easy! I noticed a comparable improvement in my son’s yeast rash overnight (on par with the prescription cream from the doctor).

Additionally, it has done wonders to soothe my poor hands which are affected terribly by eczema! My little guy scraped his chin raw the other day, I decided to rub some Northern Essence Better Butt(er) on it and the next day there was a noticeable improvement! I need to buy a vat of this stuff!

Even with the use of cloth diaper friendly creams or salves, I like to recommend the use of a protective barrier/liner just to be cautious. Disposable liners such as the Bummis Bio-Soft liners or washable/reusable liners such as Hemp Babies Raw Silk liners are wonderful products that I recommend. On a budget? Make your own liners by cutting up an old t-shirt or some very thin fleece.

I do not recommend the use of baby powder or corn starch. This is unnecessary and has been known to cause more problems than any possible good. Studies have shown babies do inhale the powder which can lead to respiratory problems. Additionally, baby powder is believed to be associated with the increase in Urinary Tract infections (UTI’s) and promotes yeast rashes (especially when using corn starch based baby powders).

NOTE: If you’re using medicated creams or ointments that aren’t cloth diaper friendly it’s important that you wash all wipes and liners separately from your diapers, otherwise the creams/ointment can be deposited onto the diapers during the wash cycle and cause repellency issues.


- By Serena

40 comments:

Upstatemomof3 said...

See look at how smart you are. It didn't even occur to me that I should not be washing my liners with my diapers. Yikes!! I hope I didn't already do some damage. I gotta get some of that stuff so I have nothing to worry about it.

Angela said...

good to know and another item to the long list of 'must" gets.

God Displayed in my Family said...

Such good information, thank you for taking the time to post it!

Lauren said...

My kids have such sensitive skin! It is the main reason I switched to cloth. While I am hoping to never see another diaper rash it is exciting to know there are cloth diaper friendly products like NOrthern Essence better butt(er) out there!

Denise said...

We haven't had any rash issues since switching to cloth last Summer! In disposables, everytime she got a new tooth she would get a bad rash.

EdenSky said...

Very informative, thanks for the info. Callendula cream from the health food store also works great.

Katrina said...

I can't wait until we have warm sunny days to get my diapers out on the line every week...my favorite way of disinfecting and brightening my fluff.

Serena said...

Hi Wonderful Mamas!

There were a few things I forgot to mention...

The Kissaluv's Diaper Lotion Potion (recently decided to give it a try too) is also a great option to consider if your little one has a yeast rash and you're not currently using a solution with tea tree oil, Witch Hazel, etc...

Witch Hazel calms the skin and the Tea Tree Oil provides anti-bacterial protection to help keep the the yeast at bay.

Previously I had been using my own little homemade wipes solution but it wasn't nearly as effective as the Kissaluv's Diaper Lotion Potion.

NOTE: If you buy the concentrate version be sure to buy a bottle of Witch Hazel (your local drug or health food store should carry it) to make your solution.

*~*a.l.s*~* said...

I've been contemplating rice liners for some time now but will have to check out the ones you mentioned! Thanks for the tips!

TheOGMamaBear said...

My daughter is very rashy. It's horrible. Switching to cloth helped, but didn't solve the problem sadly.

Sarah said...

This was really helpful to me! Thanks for posting it!

Kelly said...

Very informative! Thanks for all the info. My daughter, unfortunately, gets rashes from time to time. I always feel so bad for her poor little bottom!

Sara said...

Now that is some VERY good advice. Thank you so much!

Brittany said...

This is so helpful! Thanks again for the great post!

Sara in Seattle said...

I can definitely attest to the fact that my baby is more irritated by disposables. After a trip to California, it took me about 10 days to completely resolve the rash she developed! With her regular cloth, we don't find that we have much of a problem, so I feel good knowing that our diapering choices are keeping her comfortable and healthy!

Katie said...

I am going to have to try it. My 11 month old gets rashes and yest infections with disposables(used on vacation). hey usually clear right up when he is back in cloth diapers, but I would like to use a cream that helps too.

I use liners too in my cloth diapers if I ever use diaper rash cream. i have cut up fleece pieces I use.

The Soldatke family said...

I love the fact that using cloth diapers has almost eliminated the rash problem for my little one! I LOVE it!

Suzy said...

My baby girl was allergic to sposies. I am glad I had already decided to cloth diaper. I learned about needing to strip dipes the hard way after a yeast rash. Two weeks and I finally looked on the interenet to find that they needed to be stripped better.

Ashley said...

Great info! I really love the stat on babies that get diaper rashes with disposables vs. cloth. Another reason to brag about my baby's fluffy buns!

hosiewosie said...

So nice to see this info laid out so clearly and thoroughly. Before we started cloth diapering, we actually heard that babies in cloth got more rashes (we didn't believe it- not a reliable source). Thanks!

Dani said...

We love the Northern Essence Better Butt-er Cream - we battled a persistent eczema rash and this cream really helped my son.

Kristin said...

It's amazing how complicated rashes can be! I guess it's because there are so many kinds. My little guy gets them fairly often and they clear up with Butt Paste or Desitin but I'm always scared with the cloth diapers. We haven't had any problems yet, though. I need to try this Northern Essence stuff!

Maria said...

Great to read about these other creams and to know they're safe on cloth. We've used Desitin and placed a fleece between the cream and the cloth to protect the diaper. After a couple of months of trying everything from baking soda baths, frequent diaper changes (7+) a day, and even trying vaginal yeast creams, we were beside ourselves. We started cloth diapering shortly after, and noticed a significant change in my daughter's rash. This alone, made my husband a fan of cloth diapering. We're now expecting our second daughter and feel like we have a new set of "tools" for tackling diaper rash.

The McKitterick Family said...

Thanks for sharing this info. I will definately have to re-read this article. My daughter has been one of the few children that has gotten rashes, just recently from her cloth diapers. I had use the vinegar trick and the hot water wash (4 hot water washes, with nothing also), and it did help. I think that my daughter is sensitive to the oxi clean that I was using in the diaper washes 1-2 times a month. Thanks for the extra suggestions!

A Psych Mommy said...

Have you ever heard of using grapefruit seed extract as an additional way to disinfect diapers during a yeast infection? I've heard of some moms using this on a local eco-friendly board.

AScott said...

I really want to try that baby butter!

So I tried letting my baby air out a little bit on the table today. She ended up sitting up on the table that didn't have a cover on it and pee'd. Since there was no cover it spread all over the table, onto her clothes, and she decided to splash her hands in it. Fun fun!

mearat said...

Great info for someone who is trying to start to use cloth!!! Thanks!

Kristin said...

Thanks for the info! Very helpful.

Kelly said...

Thanks for the reminder that about the Sun. I always think of the Sun as a stain remover and brightener but forget that it can also help out in the bateria department. Now that spring/summer is coming I will definitely be hanging my diaps out in the sun more.

Amanda said...

Thanks for all the tips Serena. My DD (& myself) had thrush when she was itty bitty...less than 8 weeks old. She was in sposies at the time...but, I'm tucking all of the info you posted about yeast into the back of my mind in case our 2nd baby gets the same thing. And I will definitely keep that better butter stuff in mind too.

Amanda G.

the Garrigus' said...

My son has very sensitive skin and once in awhile he develops a small rash on his bottom, since using cloth diapers I wasn't sure what I could use that wouldn't alter the diapers absorbency. Great informative information, I will be ordering the Northern Essence Better Butt(er). Only one question: Does the Northern Essence cream build up a film on the diapers? Also, I never considered using vinegar to kill bacteria. Thanks for the great advice.

MeghanT said...

Oh so much useful information! Thank you, Serena.

I'm filing the info away for the future. Hopefully we won't need it but you never know!

Diana said...

I also find that bathing in water with baking soda, tends to neutralize the pH of the skin, and is calming!

Rhone Family said...

I have avoided most rashed with some homepathic cream called dercut.

Kelly Wels said...

the Garrigus':
So long as you use the cream sparingly (not slathering it on like frosting - this is how my hubby likes to apply diaper cream) - then there shouldn't be a problem with the diapers getting a buildup because the stuff rinses away quite well.

Tully Family said...

What about coconut oil? It washes out of regular clothes.

Slee said...

I never really thought about how beneficial sunning the diapers could be in terms of helping kill bacteria and all the other nasties. Of course it makes perfect sense!

momof3dolls said...

I do use Northern Essence Better Butt(er)! Luckily I have not have any problems since I don't use liners. I'll had made some liners myself & will start using them. As always, thanks for your great tips!

Anonymous said...


Wonderful Site, Maintain the useful job. thnx.

Anonymous said...

My 14 year old daughter was confirmed last may and per the parish dress code had to wear a white dress and veil with lace anklets and white shoes.The girls had to wear a cloth diaper and rubber pants under their dresses and after her party,she took the diaper off and wore the rubberpants till bedtime and when she took them off,she had a rash.i had to get balmex and rub on the rash.