Coupon code listed below – limited time only! While diaper rash is not common when using cloth diapers they still happen. As with any diaper rash – regardless of if you use disposable diapers or cloth diapers – there are many reasons your baby could have developed the rash in the first place. I actually wrote about this back in 2009 with my Myth: Cloth Diapers Cause Diaper Rash post so I’ll recap a bit for you.
What could cause a diaper rash?
- food sensitivities
- introduction to new foods
- fabric sensitivities
- detergent sensitivities
- mineral and detergent build-up in cloth diapers
- excessive moisture exposure – quantity and/or time of exposure
- chemical reaction to materials in disposable diapers
Did I miss anything? I’m sure that I did because there are so many reasons that your baby could have a diaper rash. That’s what makes dealing with the diaper rash so frustrating. How do you treat something without knowing the exact cause of it to begin with?
Steps to Treat Diaper Rashes Gently and Naturally:
Step 1: Since the cause might not be very obvious there are a few things you can do as soon as you notice the rash/redness. For starters the quickest way to clear up a rash is with fresh air. After gently wiping/cleaning your babies bum allow your baby or tot get some fresh air. Naked time is essential especially if the cause of the rash is an external factor (not something they ate or ingested). I would recommend only cleansing their bum with water or a very gentle and natural solution. Stay away from the traditional baby wipes especially when a rash pops up. My current favorite cleansing solution is by AppleCheeks and has a small amount of tea tree oil for its anti-bacterial properties – although water alone is just as effective. Either way if you have a pre-crawler you can contain them on a waterproof changing pad (or similar location) to make accidents easy to clean up. If you have a crawler or walker you may have to follow them around and try to catch them before they pee on your floors. We’re lucky enough to have laminate flooring so it’s easy to clean up. Even 20-30 minutes of air time will do wonders on a new rash.
Step 2: Apply a gentle lotion or cream. I avoid those thick coating lotions that you can find at the drug stores and big box chains because most of them are loaded with toxic chemicals that can actually make the rash worse. Luckily there are some greener/safer options available locally and online these days. I’ve only tried a few different brands because I’ve had such great results with them that I’ve not had a need to keep shopping for others. Whichever cream or lotion you use please remember that any cream or lotion can leave residues in your cloth diapers. When applying I would recommend using a flushable or reusable liner. This will keep the creams from soaking in and coating your cloth diapers making them less absorbent. Note: I use a liner even when using creams and lotions that say you don’t need to – my stash is too valuable to take the risk. If you need a last minute liner you can use fleece or other thin absorbent fabric that you have laying around. You can always use an old t-shirt if you are desperate and in need.
My Top Pick: ecoStore USA Baby Nappy Balm (http://www.ecostoreusa.com/babynappybalm.aspx) – I’ve used this balm since 2009 and I couldn’t be happier. I always have a jar of it in the diaper bag and on the changing table. I don’t have to use it often anymore for diaper rashes but I’ve also used it as a lip balm, for eczema, on bug bites, on cuts and scrapes, practically on anything that can cause an irritation to your little one’s skin (or your own). It goes on like a lotion and is very lightweight and effective. During our worst diaper rashes the Nappy Balm would clear up the redness with a day or two. ecoStore USA is a Healthy Child partner and all of their products have been included in the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (Score 1 for the Nappy Balm). I could go on for days about why this is my favorite but I truly love and admire this company and everything they stand for. (Ingredients: Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Oil, Zinc Oxide, and Cera Alba (Beeswax)) –
Giveaway alert! Read to the bottom to win a full size sample of Nappy Balm from ecoStore USA!
Another fabulous find: MadeOn Skin Care Rash Cream (http://www.hardlotion.com/natural-diaper-rash-cream/) – I’ve had this cream since early 2011 and really like the effectiveness of this cream. It comes in a unique 1 oz. or 4 oz. metal tin that I like. It’s more of a solid hard lotion (unless you leave it sit in a warm location like in the window by my changing table – it turns back into a soft lotion) and may take a few minutes to warm it up with your hands in order to use it. After you use it a few times it becomes softer and easier to apply. We haven’t really had any bad rashes this year so I can’t guarantee it’s effectiveness but I can tell you that we’ve used it on Lil’ B when her eczema flared up earlier this year. (Ingredients: Coconut oil, zinc oxide, and beeswax) Try any of the MadeOn products and save 10% with code ECOCHIC. Code is valid until June 30th, 2011.
A vegan option with no zinc oxide? Sure – give the Angel Baby Bottom Balm a try. (http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/angel-baby/angel-baby-bottom-balm.html) While I’ve never actually used this balm I can tell you that I support everything this company stands for and the quality of their other products I’ve tried. They have a really good article about why you should skip the zinc oxide – especially when using cloth diapers. The Angel Baby Bottom Balm has also been included in the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database with a score of zero. (Ingredients: Olea europaea (organic olive) oil, Calendula officinalis (organic calendula) extract, Hypericum perforatum (organic St. John’s wort) extract, Stellaria media (organic chickweed) extract, Plantago major (organic plantain extract), Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, Euphorbia antisyphilitica (candelilla), Simmondsia chinensis (organic jojoba) oil, proprietary blend of Lavandula angustifolia (organic lavender) oil, Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and Commiphora myrrha (myrrh) oil)
Step 3: Find the cause. This one might be more time consuming but you need to start narrowing down the causes. Look at the list above and start marking off things that don’t apply. I was consulting with a parent last week who thought she was having ammonia burns. When we were talking we discovered that her daughter had been introduced to a new berry fruit that she loved and had eaten a LOT of over the last few days. She also told me that her baby was teething too. She has hard water and hasn’t stripped her diaper stash in a while either. As you can see there are three different causes here – some of which she hadn’t even considered. It’s easier to eliminate the new berry from her daughters diet than it is to strip her diaper stash so she started there first. Keep in mind that it may take several days to narrow down the causes. If it doesn’t clear up and/or worsens over time you know you haven’t found the cause. This can be the most frustrating part of the process so be patient.
Step 4: Is it time to strip? It’s always a good idea to strip your diapers when you notice a diaper rash. In the rare event that you may have a yeast infection you will want to ensure you have killed the bacteria. You can start to clean your diapers by stripping them with several hot water washes (ideal temperature is 100-120 degrees F – otherwise you might be voiding your warranties on your diapers) with or without detergent. There are several ways and methods to strip your diapers but some think the safest and most effective is also the simplest – just hot water! (I guess I know what I’m writing about next)
Step 5: Sun your stash! When your diapers are stripped and clean lay them in the sun to dry. The natural bleaching effect of the sun will continue to kill anything else that may remain in your diapers.
Step 6: When in doubt always consult your child’s doctor or a medical professional. Remember that when you read sources (yes even from me) that we are not trained medical professionals. That doesn’t mean that doctors are always right and that they may recommend a treatment method that you may not agree with. Be sure to educate yourself with the options and ask questions. If you don’t want to use a steroid ask your doctor questions about why they think you need to. I’ll never forget the time that I had a cracked nipple and the nurse at my OBGYN’s office actually recommended that I stop breastfeeding and get a mammogram – good thing I trusted my own instincts and consulted someone else. Listen to your own instincts!
Step 7: Still having problems after all of these steps? Look back over the short list and start all over again. Eventually you’ll find the cause or the rash will just go away on it’s own – hopefully never to return again. Some parents think that switching back to disposables is the only way to clear up a diaper rash. While I’m in no way judging you if that’s how you choose to solve the problem I’m asking you to consider this thought – what happens when the rash is all cleared up and you go back to cloth diapers? If you didn’t take the time to determine the cause (but switched to disposables to ‘cure’ the rash) you are likely to have a repeat of the rash again before too long. Also remember that switching to disposables might worsen the rash if your child is sensitive to the chemicals in the disposable diapers. Finally, before you consider using those old-school rash creams like Desitin or Boudreaux (or whatever) visit the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database and see how they compare to the options I’ve listed above. They simply coat the skin and don’t allow the skin to breath and heal properly.
GIVEAWAY: The first 10 comments on this post will receive a full sized sample of ecoStore USA Baby Nappy Balm. Be sure to leave a valid email address so that I can contact you.Not one of the first 10? I still love your comments so please keep sharing your thoughts, tips, and concerns.
Disclosure: I have in the past received samples from ecoStore USA and MadeOn so I’m sharing my love of their products. I have not been paid to write this post and the opinions expressed are my own. I am also not a medical professional and cannot be held responsible for any recommendations made within. This post has been written by a mom and cloth diapering expert/advocate/junkie who has real life experience with these tips and they worked for us. You may have a different experience yourself.