While it is less common with cloth diapers, babies do get the occasional rash while using cloth.
When baby gets a rash, you need to be sure to treat it accordingly, depending on the type of rash it is. To begin, ask yourself...
Was the baby in a diaper longer than usual? OR Was baby in the diaper in a hot environment?
-If either of these are true, it could be a heat rash or ammonia burn.
Heat Rash is usually red or pink bumps. It will respond best to powders instead of creams since moisture tends to make it worse. I've learned that with my daughter's very sensitive skin, baby powder (the talc kind with aloe and vitamin E) works better than creams. If she has too much moisture, the bumps appear.
Note: A heat rash may take some time to completely disappear. You may notice that it 'reappears' when your baby gets warmer again. My daughter got a heat rash on her leg once and it took a few weeks to go away and kept showing back up if she got hot. I learned to try to keep it open to the air as much as possible (aka no pants or leggings if we could help it) to clear it up quicker.
Ammonia burn would be a large red area, evenly red (not bumps) throughout, primarily where baby's skin had the most contact with the wet diaper. The prescription for this would be LOTS of air--as much as you can get away with. My daughter got this type of rash once and luckily it was on a day where we didn't have anywhere to go. She spent the morning playing on a few towels folded in the floor, which I would switch out if she peed. Luckily she only went once or twice, and just having fresh air on her cleared her up quickly! Another thing that can help is Aquaphor (it moisturizes and helps heal without the burn of zinc oxide). If you choose to use this, though, be sure to use a liner if you use it at the same time as cloth diapers. Alternatively, an unscented cloth-safe cream, such as CJ's BUTTer would work (I just happened to have scented options only at the time).
Has baby had more bowel movements than usual? OR Have baby's bowel movements been different in some way (due to sickness, starting solids, or other changes in diet)?
-If yes, you may just need to treat with a cream, which will create a barrier from the BM. You also may want to check baby for #2 more often. It is sometimes harder to detect icky diapers when your baby is in cloth since they tend to hold in the yucky smell better than a disposable. The good news is, they also contain 'blowouts' much better than disposables--yay!
-If you notice that baby has problems with their BM more after they have had a certain food (or if you are breastfeeding, if you have had a certain food), you may try avoiding that food for the time being and trying to ease it back into the diet at a later time.
Do your diapers smell 'funky?' We're talking diapers that have just been cleaned or clean diapers that reek right after being peed in.
-If so, your diaper rash culprit could be built up minerals and other ickies in your diapers. A diaper treatment such as Rockin' Green Funk Rock or GroVia Mighty Bubbles Laundry Treatment could be just the thing to get everything back to normal!
Have you tried everything and still have a stubborn rash that just won't go away? Check the description below. If it sounds like what you're dealing with, you may have a yeast rash!
You may not be able to detect yeast in a subtle diaper rash, but once it's full blown you can usually tell a yeast infection (versus a plain old diaper rash) because the rash will be well defined and beefy red, with slightly raised borders and "satellite" lesions (red lesions a slight distance from the main rash). Your child's skin may also be scaly.
Another big clue: A yeast rash tends to hang around for more than two days and doesn't respond to any traditional diaper rash treatments. It also usually shows up in the skin folds of the groin area.
-If you think you are dealing with a yeast rash, you can either try some home remedies or take your baby directly to the doctor for a prescription cream.
Try the topical antifungal cream first. If the rash isn't improving within three days of starting the medication, call your child's doctor.
Also call the doctor at any time if your child develops a fever or if the rash develops open sores or oozing yellow patches. These symptoms may mean that your child has a bacterial infection and needs an antibiotic.
If you are experiencing any rash or diaper buildup problems, I strongly encourage you to get in touch with your local Diaper Parties consultant! I've been able to help several customers and friends with diaper rash and buildup problems. As consultants, we have lots of experience with different types of diapers, wash routines, detergents, creams, and water types! If we don't immediately know the answer, you can be we'll find it for you!
It is so rewarding to help a family get back on track with their cloth diapering experience. Have you ever experienced any of the above rashes? What worked for you?