A sweaty baby bottom in the hot summer heat is more likely to get not just diaper rash but heat rash. Keep your baby’s bottom clear and dry by choosing cloth diapers carefully when it’s hot outside.
The main concern in extreme heat is air circulation. This should be a concern in all weather, but the consequences are more pronounced in the summer. Despite the wetness of a diaper, you need to keep your baby’s skin dry in order to avoid most diaper rash. When you read about cloth diapers and diaper covers and see claims of breathability, meaning that air can move through the fabric of the diaper, this is the time that matters most of all.
Choose cool diapers. When breathability is your main goal, don’t choose PUL covers, pocket diapers, or AIOs. These diapers and covers have a plastic layer laminated to the polyester fabric. Laminated fabrics keep moisture in, but they also keep your baby’s bottom hot in the summer. Some of these diapers might allow some air circulation, but your baby’s bottom needs the most air possible in the heat. Save these diapers for cooler weather. Use cotton fitted, flat, or prefold diapers for the coolest summer diapers.
Use wool diaper covers. That sounds counter-intuitive if you think of wool as a warm sweater, but wool actually absorbs moisture then evaporates it into the air around your baby. Wool diaper covers create a moisture and air insulator that won’t trap wetness and heat against your baby’s skin.
Change diapers often. When you need to keep your baby dry, change that wet diaper. You should be changing your baby’s diaper every time it is wet.
Go coverless. If you will be at home, you can allow a lot more air circulation by using no moisture barrier at all. Sure, you need to change the absorbent diaper more often to avoid wet furniture or floor, but you should be changing every time the diaper is wet anyway. If you aren’t using a cover, don’t put clothes over the diaper. That just begs for a wet mess.
Go diaperless. Especially if your baby is recovering from heat rash or diaper rash, the best air circulation comes from going completely bare. Be prepared to clean up. While your baby is diaperless, what better time to start infant pottying, if you aren’t using this method already.
Wear a swim diaper. When you want to cool off, stay home and swim. Hang out in the pool in the shade with your baby in a swim diaper. If you don’t have a pool, let your baby play with a bucket of water. It’s all fun and splashing.
Choose cool wool for a long car ride. If you will be going on a long car ride, you can still use wool to stay cool, but keep in mind that wool can leak when compressed for a long time. Think of squeezing a sponge. The moisture will wick toward the dry car seat. You can avoid that by putting a sheepie or sheepskin rug between your baby and the car seat. The wool on the sheepskin will absorb the moisture and will not let it through to the carseat. If you don’t have a sheepskin rug, a wool changing pad will do a similar job, though it could leak if you wait too long to change a diaper. Just plan regular diaper change stops. If you use a sheepskin, make sure you understand how to adjust the carseat safely because the sheepskin will make the seat a bit tighter.
Save energy by line drying your cloth diapers. This is especially helpful if you want to get rid of stains on cotton. Just leave them in the sun, and watch the stains fade. For diapers with stubborn stains, spray a little lemon juice on the stain before you hang the diaper on the line. Be sure to rewash that diaper so you don’t put lemon juice on your baby’s sensitive skin.
What do you do to keep summer diapering cool? Please share your tips.