When my son got his third ear infection by six months of age, our pediatrician decided that the normal amoxicillin routine wasnʼt going to cut it anymore. He prescribed a stronger antibiotic which did completely clear up the infection, but unfortunately also gave my son a terrible yeast infection. At ﬁrst I wasnʼt sure what the raised red spots were, and by the time I had done some internet searching and saw pictures that looked exactly like what he had, the rash had grown and gotten a little out of hand.
All the cures I read about involved more prescriptions, more creams, more things that I couldnʼt use with my cloth diapers. I am committed to cloth diapering, but I donʼt want my fun hobby (isnʼt that why we all do this??) to go so far as to interfere with what my son needed to cure this rash. However, we had just moved and didnʼt have a pediatrician yet in our new town to give a prescription. Plus I was just a little sick of all the prescriptions weʼd given him already with his other issues and I was ready for a natural cure.
Yeast thrive in a certain environment and if you can change that environment to be less hospitable, they die. So how to kill them?? (Cue the release of mama bear.)
Four key elements to our ﬁght against the yeast:
- 1. Probiotics. By introducing “good bacteria” back into his system, it helped his body ﬁght the yeast on its own. I found a brand at Whole Foods that is specially formulated for children and has age-appropriate dosing information. For my seven month old son, we gave him 1/2 tsp once a day, mixed in with his food. He also willingly took it off of my ﬁnger, but that was more time consuming.
- Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE): This is a natural antimicrobial concentrate that you must dilute before using on babiesʼ skin. I used it in a wipe solution - 10 drops per 1/4 cup of water. I got the wipes really saturated so that there would be plenty of GSE getting to his skin with each diaper change. Itʼs important to air dry the skin before putting on the next diaper. (Incidentally, this is how my son learned to blow through pursed lips! He saw mama doing it a lot!)
- Tea Tree Oil: Also a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent. We tried adding it to his bath water, but it didnʼt really do much other than make the whole upstairs of our house smell very medicinal. Ultimately what worked best was adding about 10 drops to the wipes solution and then applying 2-3 drops directly to the rash itself with each diaper change. Put the drops onto your ﬁnger tips, and then rub into the skin. Also allow to dry before putting on the new diaper. There shouldnʼt be any oily feeling to the skin, or else you might cause wicking on your diapers.
- Sunlight and Air: Yeast loves dark, moist places, so bring on the breeze. We joked about “where the sun donʼt shine” actually getting some sunlight! Most mothers are so afraid of the sunʼs rays touching their baby that the idea of putting your baby in direct sunlight unprotected by sunscreen is shocking! I only gave him a couple of minutes at a time, legs spread out and rash exposed, in direct sun each day. Then I let him hang around inside without a diaper for an hour or two in the afternoons. Some instructions said to not put any diaper on for several days, but that wasnʼt practical for us at the time.
Diaper rashes should be treated according to your pediatrician's recommendations. Before using any type of product to clean your diapers we recommend checking with the manufacturer of the product to be sure it is safe to use.
By Stephanie G.