Happy Family. Healthy Planet.®

Happy Family. Healthy Planet.®
Denver's Green Store for Cloth Diapers and More!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rash, Rash, Go Away!

Most kids in diapers, cloth or disposable, will develop a diaper rash at some point. Since several factors usually are at play in each incidence, it can be a real challenge to figure out how to heal and prevent rash.

Most often, rashes are caused by prolonged exposure to moisture: pee and poop. So, the obvious first solution is to make sure you're changing your baby frequently enough: every two hours. If you baby has a rash that you're trying to heal, you can change them even more frequently. I have even put just a
prefold diaper (without a cover) on my little girl with a Snappi and let her bum get some air. Going without a cover means that I will be a little more vigilant in checking her more frequently too!

For kids in disposables, your pediatrician will instruct you to buy an ointment like Desitin, A+D, or Butt Paste. There are two types of ointments: petroleum based, or white zinc oxide based. Both types are extremely resistant to water, so if you smear them all over your baby's bottom, they will prevent moisture from coming in contact with their skin. However, both of these types are chemically based, and can, in some kids, cause an even worse rash. Zinc oxide, for example, is used in many products including: plastics, ceramics, glass, cement, rubber (e.g., car tires), lubricants, paints, adhesives, sealants, pigments, batteries, ferrites, fire retardants, and first aid tapes.

While they might clear up your baby's rash, neither of these two types of ointments, even the "organic" versions, are cloth-diaper friendly. They will clog the fibers of your cloth diapers and make them water resistant and therefore very leaky.

How to Prevent Diaper Rash:
  • Change your baby's diaper at least every two hours.
  • Clean their bottom with a wet cloth wipe at every change. Some people just use water, but a wipe solution can prevent rash with a blend of cloth diaper friendly oils such as tea tree, lavender, grapefruit seed, and aloe vera.
  • Switch to a natural detergent for your cloth diapers. Some kids (including my own) are highly sensitive to the enzymes found in many detergents.

How to Heal Diaper Rash:
  • Set a timer and check every 15 minutes to make sure your baby is still dry.
  • For younger, immobile babies, lay them undiapered on a prefold or several receiving blankets and allow them to air out. If possible, lay them in the sunshine- obviously being careful to prevent sunburn. For boys, you may want to use a "Pee Pee TeePee" or another diaper on top since they could potentially make a mess! For older babies who are on the move, try my trick (above) and let them go in a prefold without a cover (except during their nap).
  • Use a cloth diaper-safe, all natural diaper rash cream like Homestead Company™ Baby Balm. This cream is also great for "pacifier rash," a rash around the mouth and chin from drooling during teething.
If you try all these and the rash persists, give your pediatrician a call. Sometimes babies can develop a yeast infection that must be treated with a prescription ointment called Vusion Ointment. If you suspect a food sensitivity, start a food journal and keep track of reactions so that you can discuss it with your pediatrician.

If you must use this ointment, or any other that is not compatible with cloth diapers, you can always opt for a disposable insert like one made by Flip or gDiaper in a Thirsties cover.