Monday, May 6, 2013

What to do when cloth diapering is no longer easy

We've been cloth diapering for a long time in baby years, probably beginning almost two years ago when little man was just a few months old.  So far- it's been extremely easy.  Diaper goes on, diaper comes off, gets rinsed, gets washed, repeat, and so on and so on.

Now?  Not so easy.

I alluded to our difficulties in a previous post where you may have seen some disposable diapers in our stash, which we'd been using after a few trips to the pediatrician for rashes as a temporary solution until I figured out what the heck was going on with our cloth.

A few months ago, right before little lady was born, little man started getting recurrent rashes on his bottom.  Previously, he'd had a few rashes that were more significant, but we were always able to clear it up within a day or two.  Before little lady was born, little man began to have rash, after rash, after rash.  And not just little, easy-to-fix rashes anymore.  The new rashes he began to have were angry, red, blistery rashes.  The hardest part about it was that they'd come on all of a sudden.  One diaper change, his bottom would look great, the next he would have an angry red blister and be crying throughout the diaper change.

I have a really hard time seeing him in any kind of pain, so we'd automatically switch back to a disposable diaper and a heavier duty cream (that typically wasn't cloth diaper safe).  In a few days, I'd be able to get his bottom looking and feeling so much better, and we'd venture back into our cloth diapers.  It would be all well and good for a few days, and then again- all of a sudden- we'd be back to a sad looking bum.

Initially, we tried all of the typical recommendations for ammonia in cloth diapers, which may have been causing the sudden, blistery rashes, including:

- Rinsing each diaper (even just pee diapers) after every change.

- Washing more frequently.

- Using less detergent.

- Using more detergent.

- Stripping our diapers with blue dawn.

- Stripping our diapers with RLR.

- Changing detergents.

- Alternating detergents.

- Adding extra soak cycles before the wash.

- Adding extra rinse cycles (warm) before the wash.

- Adding extra rinse cycles after the wash.

And probably many more things that I can't think of at the moment.

These would all seem to work for a little while, and then the same scenario would happen all over again and little man's bottom would become red and he would begin to hurt.  But the oddest thing?  Once little lady was born and began to use the same diapers little man was using, she had no problems whatsoever.

Since little lady could wear our one-size diapers with no rashes or problems, we just assumed that little man's  sensitive skin had finally started to react to the fact that his diapers were synthetic materials and not stay-dry in nature like a disposable diaper.  (Little man has had previous reactions to some lotions and foods that touched his face while eating them, so we know he has pretty sensitive skin.)  Our only option at that point would be to re-stash with all natural materials like an organic cotton, hemp, or bamboo.  Since little man is VERY close to potty training and we don't have a ton of cash laying around to buy all-new diapers for a child who could be potty trained very soon, we decided to buy a few bags of disposables and try to wait it out.

Then little lady got her first rash about a week later after that decision.  

And we started the whole procedure all over again to try and get our diapers as non-irritating as possible.  Do babies get rashes?  Yes.  Could it have been a coincidence that little lady got a rash in the same diapers little man had such a problem with?  Yes.  Was I still freaking out about it anyway?  Yes.

As of right now, I have done a few more things to our diapers, and we are just about to start back into cloth again for little lady.  Here's what we're trying this time around:

- Diapers were soaked overnight in RLR laundry treatment.

- After being thoroughly rinsed and washed again, I then washed the diapers through two cycles of treatment with GroVia's Mighty Bubbles, which is said to help remove deep build-up on cloth diapers.

As soon as we get through the disposables (in the slightly small, incorrect size) I purchased for little lady... oops... We'll get her right back into cloth.  Keep your fingers crossed for us, and I'll keep you guys updated as to if that finally worked in case anyone else is going through the same predicament.  Which leads me to my next question...

Has anyone else been at the point of no return with your cloth diapers?  What did you do to keep going?

signature photo signature.png

tweet this!follow on fb


  1. Good luck! I hope the Grovia works for you; we use Tiny Bubbles and have never had a problem.

  2. Toddler pee is so hsrd to deal with. Even for the most seasoned CDing families, right around 18-months-ish, sometimes earlier, kids are drinking less, peeing less often, and sleeping longer, causing stink and rashes. We had no problems until after a year old, then dealt with blisters & rashes on and off, trying a lot of the same things you listed. We finally switched detergents and figured out our water softener probably isn't working right. Things have been MUCH better lately, and our New Baby isn't getting the same rashes using the same diapers. Toddler Boy is not getting red either, probably because he's been going diaper-free at home, so his bottom's getting more air.

  3. Have you determined that it is not a yeast rash? Because yeast in cloth diapers has to be specifically treated; it doesn't just wash out in a normal wash routine. So, if LM had a yeast rash, and the yeast is still living in the diapers, it would make sense that LL would eventually get it :-/ Just a thought!

  4. I second looking into yeast. It's a bugger to get rid of.

    Also, have you tried diapers made of different materials? It took a while for me to realize that Mango's rashes were being caused by the suedecloth inner of BumGenius diapers and from the wool shorties I had him in at night. I switched to fleece inners and fleece shorties and haven't had the same problems with rashes.

    And if there is an answer to ammonia in toddler diapers, I haven't found it.

    To answer your last question, Mango has been in cloth since the day he came home from the hospital, and we'll use it until he is PT. We haven't had a problem we haven't been able to work around.

  5. Yep I would also 3rd the yeast comment. DD had chronic ear infections for a while which lead to chronic antibotics which in turn lead to a yeast rash. The problem was once we got the yeast on the diapers we had to go thru and bleach all of them or everytime we'd get it cleared up on her the diapers would give it back to her.

    And yes we did reach the point of now return on ours for 2 reasons at about 18 months. One, our daycare provider kept changing the women in her room and they kept putting rash cremes on her that were NOT CD compatible meaning hours of work for me to get that junk off so they would actually absorb again. Two, DD got to a point were her belly was too big but her thighs to thin to get a good fit so we had constant leaks. Finally after like 3 months of struggles I threw in the towel and said we will just put them away for the next kiddo.

  6. Also not sure what kind of diapers you are using but ours actually recommended a once a month bleaching to combat ammonia problems. Here's a link to a blog post on the cottonbabies site.

  7. I so so so hear you on this, Jayne. I racked my brains with Braden's overnight solution. I never gave up on cloth and found what worked. He never had rashes but he was a SUPER heavy overnight wetter AND a tummy sleeper. I finally found what worked and only ever used a disposable pull-up on him at night when he was potty training. With Ethan? I cannot be bothered to put a huge, bulky diaper on my little baby who's also a heavy wetter and have him wake up because he's leaked. I am using disposables overnight for him and I just.don' anymore! Cloth can be SO hard to diagnose, you've done everything that I would have done too and I agree with the comment of toddler pee is STRONG and hard to deal with. Perhaps yeast? Try extra probiotics in his diet?

  8. I'm sorry Jayne. If you find a solution, I would love to hear it as we are going through the same thing with my ladybug. She was doing great until just about 2 months ago and then bam. Nothing we do can get rid of the rash except for using sposies. I know she doesn't have yeast (yeast is a different beast all together and I have dealt with that before)and I have different types of diapers so I know it isn't a particular type of cloth. I think it is just Ladybug drinking less so the pee has more ammonia than anything can handle. Good luck!

  9. Thank you everyone for your awesome responses! (I had tried to respond to everyone personally initially, but apparently my phone ate my responses :( )

    We will definitely try probiotics, thank you Sarah!

    Joanna- I feel you lady! We've also been trying baking soda baths with Little Man which have totally helped!

    To everyone who mentioned yeast- when we went to the doctor he said it was not yeast. Even if he was wrong and it was (he knows we CD), wouldn't that be something Little Lady would get as well since she's in those diapers now and Little Man isn't at the moment?

  10. Ack this scares me. We had been battling rashes from last summer (started around Aubrey being 10 months) and did lots of the cloth-diaper-tango like you referenced. We have hard water, and HE machines. We added a second hose to add more water to the loads and a tbsp of RLR with EVERY wash.

    But then we moved. And my work schedule changed, and cloth wasn't as easy anymore. She only had a few changes while at home, and not enough to do laundry. So either I'd have to have them sit longer for a bigger load, or wash fewer diapers.

    So Aubrey's been in disposables since then and was going to tackle them again when I go on maternity leave next month.

    But now you have me scared/thinking/wondering if when our little guy uses them, if he'll have the same problems. Oy.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips