More washing issues!
The ammonia and stripping articles have been going over well from our email feedback, I am excited to see washing issues being solved and clean diapers being the norm in the house :)
This week we are going to start our Rash 101 series, going over common rashes/symptoms/causes/treatments that can occur in cloth diapers. Now, every week I will put the same reminder in this section, if your baby is in pain, bleeding, cracked or open skin, fluid filled blisters or open blisters, you absolutely must take them to the doctor immediately. As much as I love and adore homeopathic remedies, if your baby or toddler exhibits these symptoms, for their health and safety they must see a doctor.
We will start today with the most common ammonia/chafing/heat rash that can occur with babies. The symptoms of this will usually present as a mild sunburn wherever the diaper is touching, sometimes only in the contact points of the thighs and waist. The skin will be a dull pink color, with or without tiny red pinprick dots (not raised), in the warmest folds of the skin. Sometimes this rash will peel away as it heals, it will turn back to the normal color of the skin and slough off like a sunburn would, only to come right back. The most common cause of this type of rash is exposure to wetness that is irritating the baby, most common in natural fibers such as prefolds or natural fiber fitteds. Sometimes it happens only overnight when the skin is damp for a long period of time. It can happen with stay dry diapers as well, as urine sits in the pocket or AIO fibers, ammonia will breathe back onto the skin and can cause irritation, then the tighter contact points of the diaper can cause a chafing rash, and the peeling skin that accompanies this.
If your baby has this type of rash, and you are using natural fibers, trying putting fleece liners in the diaper for each change to promote dryness, you can also sprinkle cornstarch in the diaper to absorb wetness (if you do this and you see the rash become immediately worse, you may have yeast which can feed off of cornstarch, so if that happens you need to see your doctor for an antifungal quickly). For our natural fiber babies using a fleece liner will solve this the majority of the time. If the baby only gets this rash at nighttime, and you already use stay dry diapers, if the baby is very sensitive you may need a mild cream to help protect the skin (make sure you use liners for the cream to prevent buildup), but before using cream regularly I would increase absorbency to break down the concentration of the urine. Also, frequent changing is important to allow air to heal the skin, and keep ammonia away to allow the rash to go away. Increasing the absorbency of your diapers can also help, it will break down the concentration of the urine in the diaper. Forthe chafing rash, a pea sized amount of vaseline or a clear-ish color ointment will help, rub it in at every diaper change, this small amount on the legs will not cause buildup in your diapers and will help that skin heal. For babies who have very sensitive skin, as we move into the summertime if this rash keeps coming back you may need to look into diapering options that allow lots of air flow. This nice thing about this rash is it is very quick to heal once you take the above measures. Usually within 24 hours you will see a dramatic improvement if not completely resolved. If you go 2-3 days and it is not getting better, or it gets worse, you may have another rash issue on your hands so it is important to watch how it progresses.