Diaper Rash and Cloth Diapers
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Diaper Rash and Cloth Diapers
My 6-month-old son has had recurring diaper rashes with cloth diapers
(from a service), including a stubborn yeast rash that developed. While
on vacation this summer we had to use Huggies and found that all the
rashes cleared up very well. I thought I was being pretty scrupulous
about the cloth changes, but now am not sure what I am doing wrong.
Does anyone have advice about preventing diaper rash with cloth
Try using fleece liners in the diapers, especially for
overnight. They help keep the baby feeling dry, even when they
are wet. I've been using cloth on my 18m old daughter since she
arrived home from the hospital and never had a rash last more
than 1-2 days. Maybe the fleece liners will help your child.
Also, talk to your cloth diaper provider. Sometimes they can
alter the washing method and it may be the detergent (or
bleach?) that they use that is causing problems. I wash my own,
so I can't comment on this directly. But a friend who uses a
service said that their service offers a ''gentler wash'' on
I used cloth diapers with both of my children (service diapers for
the first and our own diapers for the second). Both children
developed rashes from wearing the diapers at night (and they also
reeked of ammonia), even when I tried fancy cloth inserts to
absorb excess moisture. When I switched to disposibles at night,
the rashes cleared.
The other, very practical tip is to slather plain old vaseline
jelly all over the baby's bottom throughout the day and night to
create a barrier to the moisture that builds up. That helped our
kids enormously, especially during excessively poopy times (like
when they had the stomach flu). And it's really important to
change cloth diapers more often than you might change disposibles-
-but you probably already know that.
I've used cloth diapers on both my kids and haven't had this
problem, but I know people who have. The explanation has usually
been that the baby's skin is so sensitive to urine remaining on
the skin that they get a rash even though you change often. Since
the disposables absorb urine instantly and turn it into gel, this
If you're committed to cloth--and good for you if you are!--and
you find it impractical to change the baby the instant he pees,
you might try a fleece liner or diaper doubler. The fleece stays
next to the skin but feels dry, and the liquid passes through
into the cotton/absorbent part of the diaper.
Not sure it will work, just a suggestion.
Best of luck,
Cloth diapers, as soon as they get wet, hold the wetness next to
the baby's skin for however long the diaper is on. If your child
has sensitive skin, the constant presence of urine on the skin
will be a neverending source of irritation. You can try
slathering him up with a non-water-soluable protective coating
like Desitin etc. But personally I would just switch to paper.
The paper diapers have a core of absorbent stuff that draws the
urine away from the surface, so the baby's skin stays dry. Plus
the pores aren't all clogged up with ointment all the time.
We used cloth diapers for my oldest son, and he constantly had
rashes, including ugly bleeding sores, even though I was very
religious about changing his diapers constantly and using a
protective ointment. It was awful, poor baby, it really hurt.
Despite ointment and long stretches of no diaper to dry out his
skin, we really did not see an improvement until we changed to
disposable diapers. It seems like some kids are just really
sensitive to being constantly wet.
Try mixing cornstarch & mylanta liquid (we used the minty
kind) into a creamy paste & applying to your baby's bottom. Our
wonderful pediatrician, Bruce Horwitz, recommended this to us &
Hope it works for you too. Good luck!!
When my cloth-diapered son had a recurring rash, the culprit
turned out to be the cloth wipes I was keeping in water in a
wipes warmer. I switched to room temperature disposable wipes
and voila! no more rash! Hope this helps!
It may be because you left the cloth diapers on too long on your
baby. It could be a number of things, including the cleaning
process which your diaper service uses. You may want to check
out this group, which talks mainly about cloth diapering:
post your questions there. They are all very helpful.
The best thing is air and sun. Easy to do at home before the
baby really starts moving around. Just put some clothdiapers on
a watherproof surface on the floor and the baby on top. Or put
just a cloth diaper without a cover. You can use clips (diaper
service sells them) or simple a wide elastic band around the
baby's waist to hold the cloth diaper.
Outside the house, you probably need covers. Wool diaper covers
are better than plastic in terms of breathability.
At night, you may consider having her baby sleeping on top of a
folded woolen blanked (in your bed, in the crib, wherever the
baby sleeps) covered with cloth diapers. A clothdiaper on top
I'm a nanny and have had several children in cloth diapers.
Some have had terrible rashes on occassion and I have found
nothing works better than Burt's Bee's diaper cream ( you can
find it at Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl). It's mild and
extremely effective. Good luck:)
We once got a batch of cloth diapers from the service that were
very rough and very ''new'' looking. So I simply put them through
a cycle with fabric softener. My baby's rash went away so I
guess this did the trick.
I just read my posted response to this in Advice Given
(N-Z) August 22, 2003, & wanted to clarify that the paste I used
to clear up my daughter's rash was made of cornstarch mixed with
milk of magnesia, NOT ''mylanta'' which I mentioned but don't think
is the same thing.
Sorry for the confusion, but please do give this a try!!
Using cloth diapers, I found I had to use a 'non-biological'
washing powder to avoid my children getting a rash. This made a
great difference (my poor son had a terrible rash until I got
The other thing that helped (and also cleared up my own eczema
that I'd had for years on my hands as a wonderful unexpected
side-effect!) was to sprinkle corn starch over the diaper area
on the baby's bottom, and on the diaper itself, quite liberally.
Unfortunately, I didn't learn this until my third baby...
No more rash!
this page was last updated: Feb 25, 2007
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