Blog to Inspire: Myth: Cloth Diapers Cause Diaper Rash

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This following post was an entry in our Blog to Inspire contest. The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily those of Eco Baby Steps or Parenting By Nature.

Blog to Inspire entrant The Eco Chic is Calley Pate, a thirty-something wife and mother of two beautiful babies. As a mother she wants to lead by example in the hopes that her children will grow up with the knowledge and passion to make a difference.

The Eco Chic profile

Whether you are considering cloth diapers or already using them one of the reasons for choosing cloth is because of your concern for the environment. You can’t see adding 6,000 disposable diapers to the landfill. But you’ve also heard that cloth diapers cause diaper rash, and that scares you.

We’ve all been there, our little ones wake from their naps and what do we find inside their diapers?

A big red diaper rash!

Admit it. When you see it for the first time, you feel like the world’s worst parent. When my son was a baby we used disposables and his little bum was always covered with a rash. No matter how much cream I lathered on his bum it was always red. Back then the world of cloth diapers was not much more than pre-folds and covers and the only person I knew who used cloth was my mom! Our pediatrician (thinking it was caused by the chemicals in the wipes) told us to use cloth wipes (wash clothes) and water. It was months before I tried regular wipes again but the rashes still appeared. This experience was one of the primary reasons I wanted to try cloth diapers with my daughter.

What causes diaper rash? There are actually many causes of diaper rash and we may need to channel Sherlock Holmes to figure it out.

  • Wetness
  • Rubbing or Chafing
  • Chemicals in urine/stool
  • Teething
  • Diet
  • Perfumes
  • Detergents
  • Antibiotics
  • Fabrics
  • Illness

And I’m pretty sure that there are more reasons that I’ve missed! Did you know that the rate of diaper rashes have increased since the development of disposable diapers? Did you know that diaper rashes are most common in babies between 9-12 months? Did you know that ALL babies get at least one diaper rash in their lifetime?

If you are lucky enough to determine WHY they have a diaper rash, you are now plagued with another challenge in the world of cloth diapers. Diaper rash creams can ruin your cloth diapers! The bases of most creams are oils which will leave a residue on your diapers and can cause them to repel…your worst nightmare!

Don’t put away those cloth diapers yet, you can help your baby and still use your favorite cloth diapers! Here are some tips to help return your babies bum to soft and smooth:

Find a good cloth diaper friendly diaper rash cream. The traditional creams that you can find at your local big box retailers are probably NOT your best choice. The cream we use on Lil’ B is more like a lotion than a cream and has always healed Lil’ Bs rashes within a day or two. Ask your favorite cloth diaper retailer what they recommend.

Don’t have a good rash cream? Try one of many home remedies that can treat diaper rash. Did you know that coconut oil and olive oil can be used to treat rashes? Or that tea tree oil can be used to treat yeast infection rashes?

Use a liner between your baby and the cloth diaper. You can use flushable liners or make your own cloth liners from fabric scraps (old t-shirts or blankets work well). When using a cloth liner, be sure to wash them separate from your cloth diapers since the creams can transfer to your diapers.

Change their diaper more frequently. Your goal is to keep them as dry as possible.

Practice elimination communication or diaper free time. Regardless of the type of diaper rash the best way to treat it is by allowing their bum to air out. Even 20-30 minutes every few hours can help keep the wetness from their red bum. Think of this as the ultimate in environmentally friendly diapering.

The most important thing to remember is that all babies get diaper rashes; they are common! Have patience and try to eliminate the causes of the rash. Don’t forget why you chose to use cloth diapers to begin with. They are better for your baby, better for your wallet, and better for the environment!

Read about the Blog to Inspire contest and read posts by the finalists and by the rest of the entrants. Forty-four bloggers reached out to inspire on the topics of cloth diapers, babywearing, breastfeeding, and natural parenting.

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