The past month or so we've been struggling with a diaper rash that seemed to be cause by Anna's cloth diapers. The rash was bright red and looked like a sunburn wherever the diaper had touched her skin. At first I suspected the rash was being caused by the detergent I washed her diapers in, so I began trying different detergents, and researching their ingredients. Nothing I did with the washing routine seemed to help. In desperation, I bought some Huggies for her, and the rash seemed to clear up while she was in the disposables. Sadly, I bought more disposable diapers and had nearly resigned myself to giving up the cloth, when I happened upon some information (obsessively researching diaper rashes on the internet) about diaper rash caused by yeast (Candida Albicans). I didn't think this was Anna's problem, but I decided to treat the rash like yeast and see what happened. I washed all of her diapers 3 times in verrrrry hot water, then added a few tablespoons of bleach during the last cycle. This was to kill anything that might be living in the diapers. I also started adding tea tree oil to the water I used to wipe her with, and started wiping her between each change. I put the cloth diapers back on her and her rash has completely cleared up. Some people might not understand this, but I was so relieved I was moved to tears. Now I can wrap my baby up in her soft cotton again and it isn't hurting her skin!
Cloth diapers are widely available (online, at least) and can be very elaborate or (in our case) very simple. Here is my diapering system illustrated:
This is a cotton prefold diaper, with good old-fashioned diaper pins. Diaper pins are great, they make it easy to get the right fit, but they do get dull after a while, and they are a challenge to get on when the baby is feeling squirmy.
As an alternative to pins, when Ellie was a baby I started using a device called a snappy. The snappy takes some practice, but is ultimately faster and easier to use. It grips the fabric with little plastic teeth. Up close, it looks like this:
On the diaper it looks like this:
Over the cloth, there needs to be a waterproof cover to keep everything in. I use a combination of these laminated cloth covers:
And wool covers called soakers. Wool makes a very nice diaper cover, and blends well with my newfound love of knitting. This soaker is one I made about a month ago from merino wool:
To celebrate the solving of the diaper rash mystery, I ordered some red and some yellow yarn to make more soakers:). I will post pictures when I get them finished!