Cloth Diapers and Diaper Rash October 05 2011

Many, many people come to cloth diapers because they are concerned about the high incidence of diaper rash among babies that wear disposable diapers. The increased skin temperature, poor air circulation and toxic ingredients in disposable diapers lead many people to use diaper powder or petroleum jelly around the clock to prevent irritation. Switching to cloth diapers can often reduce the incidence, but may not eliminate the risk entirely. Even the healthiest bottom and the cleanest diapers cannot always prevent diaper rash. Our youngest has the most sensitive skin I have ever seen. I swear if you look at her sideways she'll break out! So here are a few tips to remember just in case your little one has a sore bottom at some point along the way:
  1. Prevention: At our house we are nearly neurotic when it comes to diaper changes. We make every effort to change a wet or dirty diaper as soon as we know about it. Sometimes that means a diaper change every hour; sometimes more, sometimes less. Practicing Elimination Communication or some variation thereof can also reduce the risk of diaper rash. When baby isn't wearing a diaper, she can't get a rash!
  2. Natural Remedies: Using an oil-based cream or natural salve can help keep minor skin irritations under control. If we eat spaghetti, our youngest will often have some pretty irritating bowel movements the next day, leaving her bottom pink or red, even if we change as soon as we realize she has a dirty diaper. Natural remedies are usually cloth diaper safe, so feel free to use them liberally whenever you feel the need.
  3. Medicated Creams & Zinc Oxide: On occasion, a certain meal or some other irritation may lead to a more severe rash, more than a natural remedy can heal. When you need to use something containing zinc oxide or some other cream-based ointment it does not have to mean switching to disposable diapers while you wait for the rash to clear. Instead, put as much cream on the baby's bottom as you need to, and cover the area completely with a clean, dry cloth, a fleece diaper liner or a disposable diaper liner. The liner will provide a barrier, preventing the cream from coating your diaper, which can cause repellency, stains or odor.
Remember that if your gut tells you to do something, or not to do something, then listen. Your pediatrician may have particular recommendations at one point or another, and various cloth diaper manufacturers have differing opinions on the matter of diaper cream, so if you ever have any doubts, ask the professionals

Do you have any other diaper rash-related questions? What about you experienced cloth diapering mamas and papas? What have you found that works well to prevent and clear up diaper rash? Leave a comment and we'll give a tin of Bum Bum Balm away to one of our readers! (Drawing will be held when we reach 40 comments!)