Dealing with diaper rash has been a humbling experience, last week more than ever. I wish I could tell you I’ve got this all figured out, but I don’t. So instead, I’ll share the story and maybe you can take something away from it.
Or, you’ll be happy to know you’re not alone if it happens to your baby. I know researching and reading others’ stories made me feel a little better.
Remember how a couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about washing cloth diapers? Well, while I was writing that post, I came across a blog that suggested using more, rather than less, detergent. The reasoning behind this was that cloth diaper manufacturers are overly cautious with their washing instructions, and if your cloth diapers aren’t smelling/working properly, it may be because they’re not entirely clean. Not a bad notion.
Ginny and I have been struggling with a bit of diaper rash for a while now. I’m not entirely sure how it started. About six months in, she started getting mild diaper rashes on and off. I figured it was because she was teething early. It wasn’t anything uncontrollable. But every now and then she’d get a really bad one, and I couldn’t seem to find any miracle cure.
And I still haven’t.
Granted, we’ve been through a number of changes since Ginny reached six months of age. She broke six teeth. We started solids, switched to formula, then moved entirely to solids, and have tried all sorts of different kinds of foods. I’ve used a few different diaper detergents. But the biggest change:
And I’m talking full family stress. Obamacare made individual insurance for my family impossible, unless I gave up being a stay-at-home mom, or we started taking charity (yes, that’s how we view subsidies…who do you think pays for that?) Farming is also something that only really works if you have family connections, or so much money to invest in it, that you could retire instead of farming. Our immediate relatives really helped us out, but others…well, let’s just say, we were surprised by their choices.
That’s a nice way to put a lot of bitterness I have on the internet…I won’t say any more. In fact, it’s hard to talk about this at all. My husband loved farming, but he gave it up and made a huge career change. We moved in with my parents around Thanksgiving and have been living here since. And when I say here, I mean the western suburbs of Chicago.
Also, my mom has an HE washing machine. It makes washing cloth diapers a bit more difficult, and I’m having a hard time adjusting to it.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that narrowing down the diaper rash problem is something of a conundrum. I thought, heck, maybe the diapers aren’t getting enough detergent in the HE washer, so why not try adding a little more and see what happens. I used four tablespoons of Rockin’ Green detergent instead of two.
Red, weeping, disaster!
My poor baby. I put two…count them…two…diapers from the trial load on Ginny and she immediately got the worst diaper rash I have ever seen. It was almost like she got a chemical burn of some sort. I don’t know…maybe she did.
I immediately stripped my diapers using a diaper stripping solution from Grovia. That’s where you wash your diapers as usual, except instead of detergent, you throw a pack of diaper stripping solution in and it pulls all the detergents and ammonia out of the diaper. Pretty impressive, really.
I put Ginny in disposable diapers and tried Desitin, since I’ve already used Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. No miracles there. In fact, Ginny’s ultra sensitive skin started reacting to the disposables. Her skin began to get red and irritated where the diaper sat on her legs and tummy.
I let her run around for quite a while with her diaper off. That would have been so much easier in the summer, when she could have just hung out diaper-less in the backyard. Later, I put the diapers on their biggest setting to allow more air flow.
I tried a number of new cloth-diaper safe rash creams (since I don’t feel that the Grovia Magic Stick is very powerful at all), including Grandma El’s, CJ’s BUTTer, California Baby, and even food grade coconut oil. Again, no miracles…though I do get the impression that they’ll all be pretty effective as preventative remedies.
I also turned to Burt’s Bees wipes for #2, and cloth wipes using water only for #1.
As for laundry detergent, I went back to square one. When I started cloth diapering, I used Lulu”s Glamour Wash (Hard Water Formula). At some point in there, maybe 4 or 5 months in, I switched to Lulu’s Glamour Wash: Regular Water Formula, since I wasn’t convinced we had hard enough water to warrant the hard water solution. Then we moved, and I started using Rockin’ Green Classic Rock Motley Clean, since I could buy it in store instead of ordering it online.
We don’t have hard water here at all, but after this disaster, I immediately ordered and switched back to Lulu’s Glamour Wash XHW (their new name for the hard water formula). I’m not messing around: go with what has worked in the past. Granted, I’m not sure how the hard water solution affects things, but it does seem to be working just fine.
Along with the hard water detergent, I started throwing a wet towel in the wash with my diapers to fool the HE washing machine into using more water. Apparently the weight of the wet towel does the trick.
So far, all of this has worked to heal the rash. Do I know what caused it? Nope. I have some guesses, but nothing has been conclusive. I don’t think it’s a food allergy. According to Pinstripes and Polkadot’s page, Determining What is Causing a Diaper Rash, a food rash allergy would appear as a red ring, and that’s not what I’m seeing at all.
I’m going to keep working with these new cloth-diaper safe rash creams. Maybe they’ll help me avoid the more typical diaper rashes I’m used to dealing with. Either way, I think I just need to keep in mind that Ginny has incredibly sensitive skin, and always has.