ammonia smell in diapers (part two)

Last week we offered some cliff notes on ammonia/what can be expected/what is not normal, etc.. On another forum I expanded our explanation we offer to our customers, so I am going to do the same his week 🙂
Ammonia burn/chafing is never acceptable, it is something we work with many customers to fix, usually by 1)fixing the wash routine or 2)increasing absorbency/breatheability depending on why the child is sensitive to the urine.
Ammonia isn’t present in urine until it leaves the body and meets air, the Urea that it is converted to internally is sterile until oxygen will start to convert it to ammonia (unless of course you have a bladder infection or UTI which isn’t the norm either). There are lots of factors that can cause that “ammonia” smell, some will never encounter it at all unless these factors are in play. Heavy wetters will be more prone to the odor, if you have had a light wetter versus a heavy wetter, you know the difference between the volumes. When you start adding half an ounce of urine to each diaper change, or more, you are really increasing the urea output. Toddler urine is more complicated as well, more going into it, more coming out-LOL
Additionally, if your baby pees when you put them down and it is a big one, you are getting several hours of a headstart on this whole process, so the odors will be much stronger. Imagine peeing on a tee shirt (fitted/prefolds), wrapping it in a plastic bag (cover) then leaving it for 8 hours, it would stink to high heaven when you opened the bag, on the flip side, if your had your 2 month old pee in a little tee shirt and did the same thing for 3 hours, the stench wouldn’t be nearly as much, hence the volume/concentration/age factors.
For the pail, it can vary based on lots of things, if you keep an open pail in a broom closet and wash toddler diapers every 3-4 days, your odors will be very different from a closed pail in a larger ventilated room washing every 1-2 days. Clean diapers will still do this in pails, it doesn’t matter how clean they are going in, if you have the right combination of volume and age in urine, it can produce the same effect.
Nothing that harms a baby’s skin is ever normal, and needs to be corrected. For some babies increasing absorbency does the trick, breaking down the concentration of urea leaving the body makes it less volatile on the skin. For some, they need more breatheable options, since air still gets into PUL diapers you never have an airtight diapering system, but for some babies the extra air flow to their skin is what it needs to tolerate that old urine breathing back onto their skin.
For some babies, you need to explore eczema and other skin sensitivities, if you have skin that is already compromised to begin with, adding urine breathing onto it for 8+ hours is too much. Middle of the night changes, eczema ointments,other options can help. For “yeasty” babies cornstarch is great as a preventative measure (not during an outbreak, as it will feed the yeast, but on healed skin to prevent it is great), plus lots of air flow/naked time so the fungus has a hard time growing without the moist and dark conditions.
We relay this to our customers who have perfectly fresh diapers out of the dryer (meaning nothing bacterial is left behind from feces), and the diapers do not smell of stale urine when freshly peed in (indicates buildup and need to be stripped), and the only time they smell the ammonia odors, or “strong urine” odors is in the pail when they lift the lid to toss in a newly soiled diaper, or the morning diaper on from 8 hours prior.

Some fun urine links-LOL:


June 29, 2011. cloth diapers, Q & A, Wash routines. 1 comment.

ammonia smell with diapers.

We fielded several emails this week about ammonia, so I am throwing out the reminder of the two times ammonia odors are normal.

1) in the diaper pail, when you lift the lid, ammonia wafting out is completely normal.

2)in the morning diaper. When a diaper has been on for 8+ hours, it will smell of ammonia in the morning.

Remember, our bodies cannot have ammonia internally, so we convert it to other acids and byproducts. When urine leaves our body and meets air, it will convert back to ammonia salts. If your baby pees early in the night, that is 8+ hours of urine salts sitting in a nice, warm, moist environment, so it will smell in the morning. Adding absorbency to break down the concentration will help, but especially as your baby ages that morning smell is normal. If your diapers smell fresh out of the dryer, and do not smell of stale urine within the first hour of being worn, your wash routine is otherwise fine.
Let me know if you have any questions!

June 23, 2011. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Q & A, Wash routines. 4 comments.

Summertime hints for cloth diapering

For Diaper Chatter this week we are taking a quick break from babywearing to go over a few summertime diapering hints, I have been getting lots of emails about some of these issues 🙂

-Yeast can be more prevalent, the hotter weather can make fungal growth easier, so make sure you go over our yeast articles if you are battling yeast:

-Eczema is typically better during the summer because of high humidity, but yeast and eczema can go together, so if your yeast treatments are not working, consider treating the child for eczema at the same time to see if that helps, under the guidance of your pediatrician.

-I hate, hate, hate to include this one, but I have to because every year we get a handful of emails, this year being no exception. Keep the pail lid closed and wash frequently in the summer (1-2 days, not more then 3). Flies get in the house, flies love rotting matter, flies lay eggs that love warm and dark environments. The “m” word would go here, so make sure you keep the lid closed to avoid a very unpleasant surprise on wash day.  Again, it isn’t frequent or common, but it does happen so we have to mention it.

-If your baby is suffering from heat rash (make sure it isn’t yeast, heat rash will be pink all over the diaper area with or without tiny red pinprick dots), add cornstarch to your diapers every change, and change more frequently. For babies who have a very hard time, you may need to switch up some options, but those first two steps usually quell most cases 🙂

June 15, 2011. cloth diapers, Diaper Chatter, Q & A. 2 comments.

1500 facebook fan giveaway!

Yeah for 1500 fans 🙂 Comment below to enter, on June 25 we will pick two winners to get one $50.00 voucher each 🙂

June 14, 2011. Uncategorized. 567 comments.

Ergo baby carrier

-This week we are going to chat a little about Ergo in our BabyWearing series. Ergo now has 4 different carriers in their line, and we do carry all of them 🙂
-Originals: These are the galaxy grey, the black/camel, camel/camel, the cotton carriers with the pocket in the front. These carriers can be used with a newborn, you will need the infant insert until your baby has good head control, and while it isn’t as “hand’s free” as a wrap for a newborn, it is a very “cool” way to wear your baby in the summer months if you don’t mind keeping a close hand by to steady the baby in the carrier. This is what we call a daddy favorite, Ergos are two clicks to put on, no wrapping needed. There is a pocket in front with a zipper, perfect size for a small wallet, keys and a pacifier for easy traveling.
-Performance: These have a slightly longer torso, mesh constructions and lightly padded straps. Very breatheable, lighter to wear, with a pocket and other features mentioned above.
-Organics: Same as the originals, just made with Organic cotton and other prints and colors
-Sport: My personal favorite, no pocket in the front but a cut out where the baby’s back would be, more breatheability, very light to wear, slightly longer torso than the originals.

The infant insert can be used with all 4 designs, and this carrier just can’t be beat for back support. Easily goes to 40 pounds, and you can do a back carry and front carry in them. They do advertise a hip carry, but personally it is awkward and not comfortable for wearer or baby, so we don’t like to promote it 😉
We do offer a 30 day trial on all Ergos, you can read about it here:
Wash and wear any one of the 4 types of carriers for 30 days, for any reason you don’t love it, we will take it back for a full product refund.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

June 5, 2011. Baby Wearing. 3 comments.