Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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Cloth Diapering a Sensitive Bottom

We’ve all heard cloth is good for baby’s skin as compared to the plastics and chemicals commonly found in disposables, but what if your cloth diapered baby breaks out into a rash that clears up when you switch back to throw-aways? This happens more often than you might think, but there are lots of things you can try before giving up on cloth.

First of all, tackle the rash while you search for the cause. For a generic rash, any cloth diaper safe cream will do, but if you need something stronger or have to get a prescription and the ingredients aren’t cloth friendly, invest in a roll of flushable liners to use in your diapers while medicating your little one’s bum. They are very economical; the 100-count Bummis roll is just $8.00. And before assuming cloth is the problem, rule out medical or biological causes like yeast, food allergies, teething, colds and flu, all which can spark a rash on your baby’s bottom.

Ok, so if baby is not sick or teething and doesn’t have any food allergies, then why the rash?

Is your baby wearing primarily pockets? If so, then the answer is most likely that he or she is sensitive to microfleece, suedecloth or velour, all of which are commonly used to line the inside of diapers. Although these are marketed as “stay dry” fabrics and work great for most babies, sensitivities are possible. Fortunately, there are pocket diapers like the BabyKicks Basic and BabyKicks Premium which give you the option of putting a natural fiber like hemp right up against the skin, instead of synthetic polyester. Another option would be to try bamboo pocket diapers, which have a gentle and hypoallergenic inner lining. And remember that the microfiber inserts included with pocket diapers are never meant to be placed right against your baby’s skin. They must be stuffed in the pocket as this fabric is irritating to almost all babies, sensitive or not!

Is your baby using cotton prefolds or flats? It’s possible that your child is especially sensitive to wetness, even though you’re using natural fibers. In that case, pockets or other “stay dry” diapers might work for you. If you are curious about pockets but don’t want to shell out a lot of cash, Kawaii would be a good brand to try as an experiment. If you want to stick with your prefolds or flats, consider laying a stay-dry insert on top. Sometimes, just changing more frequently and keeping a good cloth diaper safe cream on their bum will also do the trick. And yes, it’s even possible that your baby could be allergic to cotton, so if the redness hangs around after trying the above fixes, consider hemp or bamboo instead.

One of the best things about diaper inserts and liners is that they can allow you to test out a different fabric against your baby’s skin while still using the system you have in place.

Is your baby’s rash or skin irritation limited to a very small area? Some mothers might discover redness around the waist or legs and assume baby is allergic to cloth. But the issue is most likely improper fit. When the waistband or leg band is too tight, it can cause some really nasty redness. Sometimes, velcro is the culprit. Make sure it’s not rubbing your baby’s skin anywhere when fastening the cover or diaper. Your baby might also be sensitive to the type of fabric used on the waistband and leg bands, such as fold-over elastic which contains latex. Try a diaper or cover with the elastic hidden or “encased” inside PUL, TPU or microfleece.

Is your baby getting a rash no matter what diaper you try? Does the rash go away as soon as you go back to disposables? In this case, there might be a problem with your laundry routine. Have you tried switching detergent brands in case there is an ingredient your baby is sensitive to? Are diapers being thoroughly rinsed, or could they use a good stripping?

Getting to the bottom of a rash, allergy or skin sensitivity may take a little bit of detective work, but it’s worth the time and effort if it will help keep your baby and cloth and keeping saving your family money!

BIO: Anne is a cloth diapering, home schooling, hobby farming and just all-around busy mother of 5 wonderful children and is expecting another in January! She is the creator of the Zephyr Hill Blog and works from home as a professional naming consultant through her business Discovery Naming Service.

2 comments:

EB said...

Great thoughts! My daughter has a sensitive bum that reacts to wetness. It doesn't matter if she's in disposables or cloth. I've found the CD safe creams don't seal her skin well enough (I tried for months and spent a lot of money with no good results!) The only thing that works with cloth is A&D with liners. That and lots of naked time!

Liara Covert said...

My son responds well to reusable nappies. He has used a variety of pocket cloth nappy brands since just after birth and is now benefitting even more from them during toilet training. He can unsnap them easily to use the potty. Love bamboo liners combined with microfibre. This is very absorbant.