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Guide to Rashes When Cloth Diapering
Why does my baby get diaper rash and what is the best treatment?

Diaper rash is something almost all families will deal with when diapering their babies, but there are many things you can do to treat and even prevent diaper rash in the first place. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over 50% of babies aged between 4-15 months will experience diaper rash at least once in a two-month period. With proper treatment, a rash usually lasts 3-4 days.
What causes diaper rash happen?
  • Irritant dermatitis: prolonged skin contact with stool/urine is more common in the newborn phase because babies poop less often as they get older. Chemicals from the stool/urine break down the skin.
  • Yeast infection: Caused by overgrowth of yeast fungus called candida. Yeast rash tends to be more red, occur in folds, and is not usually localized in one area. Since this type of rash does not improve with diaper balm or rash cream, it is important to have it diagnosed properly so that it can be treated.
  • Allergic reaction: babies skin can be sensitive to material or laundry detergent and or residue left from the washing process. Skin reaction can also be from a food allergy (mother's diet also affects breastmilk).
  • Chafing: when wet skin is rubbed, it is more prone to chafing

How can I prevent diaper rash?
  • Check your baby’s diaper often, replace it as soon as it is wet or soiled and clean the area. (12 to 14 times per day in the newborn phase, 8 to 10 times in the infant phase. )
  • Let the baby’s skin fully dry before putting on a new diaper
  • Pat dry, don’t rub
  • Give the baby diaper-free time (using a potty even once a day allows the baby to be dry for a bigger chunk of time allowing any redness to heal before becoming a rash). Check out Infant Potty Training.
  • Use a preventive diaper balm or powder when there is any sign of redness
  • Use a fleece lined layer placed against the baby's skin. This keeps the baby’s bottom drier by wicking away moisture. Great for naps, night time, or long car rides.
  • Use fragrance-free detergents. Read more about specific washing instructions here
  • Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets

How do I treat diaper rash?
  • Rash cream: in case your baby develops some redness, it’s good to have some cloth diaper compatible cream. Note: common rash creams that contain petroleum or over 15% zinc oxide cannot be used with cloth diapers, since they can cause staining
  • Give the baby diaper-free time
  • If the rash doesn’t go away after a few days, reach out to your baby’s pediatrician. They may prescribe hydrocortisone (steroid) cream or antifungal medication such as ketoconazole (Nizoral cream) and econazole (Spectazole) for yeast infections. 1
What’s the difference between rash balm and rash cream?
  • Rash ointments and balms are best for preventing rashes and with any signs of redness
  • Rash creams are best for treating existing rashes

We recommend these preventive balms
Earth Mama Organic Diaper BalmBabyBum Coconut BalmThirsties Booty Love Diaper Ointment

We recommend these rash creams for existing rashes
thinkbaby diaper rash ointmentESEMBLY ORGANIC RASH RELIEF CREAM
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  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diaper-rash/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371641

Photo sources:

  1. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/diapers-clothing/Pages/Diaper-Rash.aspx