Treating Diaper Rash NaturallyIf you use cloth diapers, you have already made a decision to go the more natural route where your baby is concerned. Not only are there natural ways to diaper your baby, but there are also natural remedies to use in case diaper rashes should occur. Here are some ideas:
Let baby air out
Taking off the diaper and allowing baby to lie naked on a towel or blanket as often as possible may clear up rash. You can also pin on a cotton diaper loosely so air can circulate.
Clean baby with water and cloth wipes
Commercial baby wipes contain alcohol, chemicals and perfumes that can dry out and irritate baby's skin, predisposing him to rash or making an existing one worse. Cleaning baby with water and cloth wipes (or using a mild natural soapy solution for messy changes) is preferable - or check out our Homemade Wipes Solutions page.
Use natural detergents for diaper laundry
Residues left in commercial detergents may be harsh, drying baby's skin. Switch to a natural detergent and do a double rinse. Check out our detergent chart to find a detergent that is safer for both your baby and his/her cloth diapers. Rash cream can often build up on cloth diapers and be difficult to clean, which is why you normally hear people say not to use cream with cloth diapers. Sometimes, cream is needed and in that case using prefolds or other natural fiber diapers that are easier to clean or a paper liner to protect your fleece or micro suede diapers is suggested.
Change baby frequently
For a time, go on hyper alert and change baby's diaper quickly each time it gets soiled. Urine and fecal matter can burn baby's skin and cause painful rash. This is especially true as baby begins eating solid foods. Breastfed babies generally have fewer episodes of rash. If you're bottlefeeding and baby's rash is persistent, talk to your pediatrician about changing the formula.
Try a diaper change.
In addition to changing baby frequently, try using a different kind of diaper altogether. Some babies who experienced chronic rash with disposables will do much better with cloth diapers and if you are already using cloth, you might try a different material -babies can be allergic to the material of the diaper you are using. Natural, organic fibers like cotton or bamboo are often a good alternative for babies with extremely sensitive skin.
Treat thrush (yeast infection)
Thrush is a common cause of diaper rash. Following the above tips will help, but if it persists, talk to your pediatrician. He may recommend an antifungal medication safe for baby. You can also try Gentian Violet, available at many herbal and health food shops. Ask your doctor for recommendations. A baking soda wash (one Tablespoon dissolved in a half cup of water) may also help. Pat it on baby's bottom with cotton balls after each change. Also, if your baby has yeast, be sure to do the hottest wash that you have available to you or boil your diapers to be sure the yeast is not living in the diaper itself.
Acidophilus is safe for babies and can help combat yeast, especially a rash that may appear after baby has taken antibiotics. Ask a health care provider to recommend a brand and dose.
Use a bottom balm
Try a diaper rash cream made from natural ingredients to help form a barrier, keeping waste away from baby's skin. Look for lanolin, calendula, Vitamin E and evening primrose oil and other natural non-petroleum items in the list of ingredients. A couple of our favorites are the Grovia Magic Stick and Grandma El's Organic Diaper Rash Cream.
Talk to your Doctor
Persistent rash (especially if it's a "bull's eye" around the baby's bottom) can be a symptom of food allergy or something more serious. Your doctor may recommend an elimination diet to help you find the culprit or further testing.