Diaper rashes are much less common for parents who use cloth diapers but they can still happen. In order to know how to best clear up the rash, you must narrow down the cause of the rash. Why did your baby get a rash to begin with?
Common causes of diaper rash:
- Teething. When a baby is teething they produce an abundance of saliva. You will notice excess drool, wet shirts, and fussiness when your baby is teething but that excess saliva is also ingested and can lead to diaper rash. Changing your baby more frequently and using a cloth diaper safe ointment may help reduce the chances of diaper rash. Naked time can help with this type of diaper rash as well.
- Illness and medication. If your baby has been sick or on certain medications (especially antibiotics) they may be more prone to diaper rashes; including yeast rashes. You’ll want to consult with your family doctor if you think it may be a yeast rash. Changing your baby more frequently and using a cloth diaper safe ointment may help reduce the chances of diaper rash. Naked time can help with this type of diaper rash as well. If you determine the rash is yeast you’ll want to disinfect your diapers to prevent the rash from coming back.
- New foods, acidic foods, or diet allergies. When you introduce your baby to a new food for the first time their stomach may not welcome the changes easily and may result in a diaper rash. Food that are acidic (tomato’s and tomato based foods, berries, oranges, etc) may also lead to diaper rash. Allergic reactions to certain foods may also result in a diaper rash. Changing your baby more frequently and using a cloth diaper safe ointment may help reduce the chances of diaper rash. Naked time can help with this type of diaper rash as well. Thankfully, your baby will outgrow most diet related sensitivities as they get older.
- Wet and soiled diapers. Yes, sitting in a wet or dirty diaper, even for a short period, can result in diaper rashes for some babies. Diapers lined with a stay dry layer next to your baby’s skin will help wick the moisture away from their skin and keep them dry. When using a natural fiber (cotton, bamboo, or hemp) you may want to use a fleece or silk liner next to their skin to help wick that moisture away. Changing your baby more frequently and using a cloth diaper safe ointment may help reduce the chances of diaper rash. Naked time can help with this type of diaper rash as well.
- Mineral and/or detergent buildup. If you have hard water, use too much detergent, the wrong type of detergent, fabric softeners, or other laundry additives you may have buildup in your diapers. Buildup in gunk that doesn’t rinse clean and causes your diapers to not rinse cleanly. This is most often a problem in older microfiber inserts. It may be time to strip your cloth diapers and you can read all about that process: How to strip your cloth diapers.
- Ammonia. Similar to mineral and detergent buildup, ammonia may be the cause of your diaper rash. You are most likely to experience ammonia in an older child and/or if your diapers aren’t getting clean enough due to buildup. You may want to read; Understanding ammonia and cloth diapers for more information.
- Fabric or detergent sensitivities. While not the most common cause of a diaper rash; some babies may be sensitive to certain fabrics or detergents. If your baby is allergic (or sensitive) to fleece pajamas or clothing, they may be sensitive to fleece, microfleece, or suedecloth lining in diapers. Enzymes are found in some detergents (like Tide) and may cause sensitivities in infants and young children. Discontinue the use of these fabrics and/or detergents to see if the rash goes away.
There may be other factors that may be causing a diaper rash on your baby. Remember that we are not doctors and cannot diagnose your baby’s diaper rash; however we can help you narrow down the causes. Please consult your child’s doctor if the rash is persistent or recurring.
Remember that more frequent diaper changes, the use of a cloth diaper safe ointment or cream, and fresh air can help heal/prevent most common diaper rashes.