A Little Cloth Diaper Rash 101…
1. Newborns are known to have rashes. The good news about your newborn’s rashes: most won’t cause harm and should go away on their own. When you’re caring for your baby’s skin, keep it simple! Familiarize yourself with which conditions you can treat at home? Which need a doctor’s care? and of course Prevention!
2. Causes of Diaper Rash: It’s very important to know or have an idea of what caused the rash on your babies bumz because in some cases it can signify an allergy to food, soap, detergent, or other conditions that can arise.
I’ve come up with an acryonym to help in any diaper rash situation: PFACCC = Physician / Fluids / Air / Clean / Cream / Change. Always contact your Physician, in any case from slight to severe rash it’s always helpful to get the advice of an expert who knows best – especially with some rashes which when caught earlier on can be eradicated immediately preventing prolonged pain and suffering. Keeping baby hydrated is a solution in any situation, particularly drinking water if they are old enough – helping to remove toxins from their system / etc… Airing out the diaper area is always the best remedy for keeping rashes at bay, try to keep your baby in breathable materials when rashes arise if possible. Bathe your baby more often, use some warm water with soft wipes (free of fragrances) at all diaper changes and a good soak in the bath will always soothe a harsh diaper rash. Diaper Creams are a good way to help prevent further rash and soothe the current rash, Changing the diaper more frequently also helps to keep baby dry – preventing irritation and bacteria from building up.
- Rubbing and Friction Burn: Diapers that are too tight, and other tight-fitting items chafe against the skin can cause a diaper rash. When the skin is wet this type of damage can be made worse. Skin-to-skin contact inside skin folds can also promote a diaper rash. Solution: PFACCC, Wear clothing and diapers that are the appropriate size. Allow diapers that are super breathable such as prefolds and wool or fleece covers, or fitted diapers without a cover. And never rule out leaving baby in their birthday suit (naked) for a time to let the area air out.
- Contact with Urine & Feces: Exposure to urine & fecal matter for long periods of time can seriously irritate baby’s skin, which leaves them more vulnerable to damage & irritation. As fecal matter contains digestive enzymes, contact with it can also increase the risk of a diaper rash. Ammonia can be irritating to the skin ( a strong smelling chemical found in urine), however, the levels of ammonia in infant urine are not enough to cause a diaper rash, unless left for days. However, it can cause more problems on skin that is already inflamed and irritated. Solution: PFACCC, Change your baby often. I cannot re-iterate this enough! I speak with many parents coming to me with problems about rashes and I find out their child is being changed less frequently than they should be. Each child is different but once you notice your baby has soiled his/her diaper you should change your little one’s bum or if you notice a rash developing change baby every hour as needed. Use a cloth diaper safe cream (if you use cloth diapers) such as Grandma El’s Diaper Rash Cream & Prevention.
- Skin Conditions that are Pre-Existing: Babies & Children with skin conditions already present such as eczema and atopic dermatitis are much more prone to develop a diaper rash than those without. Solution: PFACCC, Try using hazelwood necklaces for eczema conditions (it works by neutralizing the acidity in the body), change baby more frequently and as always talk with your physician first to see what type of creams or topical ointments they can provide you with to treat these conditions.
- Use of Antibiotics: Sometimes the normal balance of ‘good bacteria’ (flora) can be disrupted by antibiotics which normally keep certain organisms such as yeast under control. A mom who is breast-feeding can also affect the baby if taking antibiotics. Solution: Sometimes you have to wait the duration of the antibiotic use and use protective methods such as cloth diaper safe creams, an extra rinse cycle in your cloth diaper wash, and leaving baby naked for periods of time can help. Another great solution to help with rashes in general is to use a fleece liner between babies bum and the diaper, helping wick away moisture from baby’s bum. As always consult your physician when any rash arises to confirm there is nothing more serious which may be causing the rash.
- Irritating Chemical Contact: Baby’s skin is super delicate, especially in the bottom area. Some chemicals that can be found in fabric softeners, detergents, baby lotions, soaps, fragrances, and wipes can be very irritating to the skin and should be avoided. Talk with your paediatrician or physician about which products to avoid during a diaper rash. Solution: Be aware of labels/ingredient lists on everything your baby uses! By being aware of what is actually going into the detergents, soaps, and other things used for your baby you can proactively prevent a diaper rash. Should your baby have a rash that may be caused by chemical irritation consult your physician to see what more specific things to avoid and practice PFACCC.
- Infections: Yeast infections (ie – Candida) are the most common type of infections which thrive in the dark, moist, damp environment within your baby’s diaper and is probably one of the worst infections to be rid of in cloth diapers. These and other type of infections are more common in babies who already have a diaper rash. Blistering, red bumps in skin folds/creases, or other swollen red areas are also signs of infection. Solution: Contact your doctor first and foremost! If a rash has developed into an infection, sometimes the only way to cure it is from recommendations by your physician (most cases antibiotics / antifungal creams /etc.). There are some ways to naturally rid babies bum of these infections, but only after consulting a physician do I recommend trying other methods – or even ask your physician about other options available to you (it can never hurt to ask). Practice PFACCC, and as yeast can still thrive within your cloth diapers, I recommend the only way to rid them of yeast after the infection has passed, is to bleach your cloth diapers in the hot cycle, followed by a second wash cycle with your detergent, and multiple rinse cycles (as bleach can most definitely irritate babies skin). Again a great way to help wick moisture away from baby’s bum is to use a fleece liner between bum and cloth diaper.
- Teething & The Common Cold: As with other type of viral infections baby can get, there may be a chance either the medication they are taking or the virus itself can cause a diaper rash. Solutions: Practice PFACCC especially keeping on top of their fluid intake.
3. Prevention is the Best Medicine:
- Avoid using products that expose your baby to skin irritating chemicals (ie – wipes with alcohol, fragrances, fabric softeners, detergents) – try using more natural / organic wipes with just water.
- Change the diaper often, including throughout the night.
- Use Cloth Diapers which are super absorbent and breathable – such as fitted cloth diapers without a cover, or natural covers that are breathable such as wool or fleece.
- Breast-fed babies tend to experience fewer diaper rashes than bottle-fed babies.
- Be sure to wash baby’s bottom with warm water and a mild type of soap after each diaper change and air/pat dry the area. Air Drying is the best method and try to do so for as long as you can.
- Avoid tight fitting diapers, or clothing that restricts movement and keeps in moisture (a breeding ground for a nasty rash).
- Use a barrier cream or cloth diaper safe ointment such as Grandma El’s Rash Prevention Cream. Be sure to clean the area and keep the area dry before application.
- Wash your cloth diapers carefully to remove all germs and be sure to add a few extra rinse cycles to remove any soap / detergent which may be in them. Stripping your diapers can also be a helpful solution to remove all detergent, ammonia, and other residue which may be found within your diapers.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly after each diaper change to prevent the spread of infection / etc.