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Cloth Diaper Advice – Mailbox Mondays 7/23/12 – Cloth Diapers & Eczema

#clothdiapers & eczema via @chgdiapers

Are you saying: “I need help with cloth diapers”? Each week, I answer a reader submitted question and other readers can weigh in.

Questions don’t have to be cloth diaper related, just email maria at change-diapers.com with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject, or fill out my contact form for readers, which you will always be able to find on my Contact Page.

This is not so much a specific submission, but I’ve been asked a few times if I can address cloth diapering & eczema.

So what tips do I have for cloth diapers & eczema?

My (older) son has eczema, and his horrible diaper rashes are what finally motivated me to switch to cloth diapers, despite the high cost & lack of availability of “cloth diaper safe detergents.” (That is, and has been, a post in and of itself!)

I started our cloth diaper stash with just 3 diapers, and quickly realized that in the 6ish hours those diapers lasted, his rash cleared up. When I put disposables back on him, it flared up again. I added 3 more diapers to our stash, and washed constantly until I finally had enough diapers to use cloth full time.

Since then, I’ve never dealt with a rash in his diaper area. On the rare occasion that he’d get a little bit of redness, I’d use a tiny bit of any number of cloth safe diaper rash creams, and the redness would be gone by the next diaper change.

Since we started using Exederm (affiliate link), we’ve noticed a big difference in the eczema on his arms and legs as well. If we use something different at bath time, his skin gives us away!

I am not a doctor, and nothing I say should be taken as medical advice. However, if you are just switching to cloth, know that often the cloth alone can make a big difference. My son’s skin is very sensitive to moisture, so he does best with diapers that have a “stay dry” lining. If you are dealing with a diaper rash, follow your doctor’s instructions, but protect your diapers from creams by using a fleece liner (or even two.)

You may want to consider using a very, very thin layer of a “cloth safe” rash cream (as a barrier), along with a fleece liner (to protect your diapers), at every diaper change, until your child’s skin is back to “normal.”

It’s very important to work with your child’s pediatrician and dermatologist to use the products that are best for his/her medical condition, however, that doesn’t mean you have to give up your cloth diapers.

Has anyone dealt with eczema and cloth diapers? What worked for you?

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Maria Moser
Maria is the mother of 3, writing about cloth diapers & going green. You'll often find her juggling her preschooler and typing 1-handed in between sips of cold coffee. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development and other services.
  • July 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Fortunately we haven’t had any instances of eczema, but I have a friend who’s children had it and she tried everything. Switching to detergent-free products and avoiding products laden with alcohol helped albeit temporarily, but at least it provided some relief.

  • Délice
    July 23, 2012 at 11:55 am

    My son deals with eczema and we use free and clear detergent for all of our clothing and diapers, coconut oil on diaper rashes, and have recently cut out dairy (hopefully temporarily! He is only 15 months!), which has cleared up the worst of his eczema!

    We also strip regularly for the same reason as above commenter! <3 Good luck!

  • Johnna
    July 23, 2012 at 11:06 am

    We also switched to cloth because of eczema-related diaper rash. My daughter’s skin is very sensitive to her diet, so we have still had breakouts, but they are far fewer now and heal much faster. We use baby powder with zinc instead of or in combination with diaper cream because it keeps her skin dryer, and we strip our diapers on a regular basis to keep them absorbent and extra clean.

  • Jen B
    July 23, 2012 at 10:13 am

    We switched to cloth because of eczema rashes too. Dr. originally suggested steroid creams to calm the inflammation but as soon as I stopped the cream, the rash would come back (when we were still using disposables). I wasn’t about to put steroid cream on my daughter’s diaper area for a year so I switched her to cloth and she hasn’t had a problem since. She also does better with “stay dry” materials or she’ll start getting redness.

  • July 23, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I’ve heard that switching out your PUL diapers for fleece and wool with fitteds and other cover-required diapers can help a ton too, but that requires a lot of finessing if you have an already established stash!

    • July 23, 2012 at 9:49 am

      That’s true. Even PUL is a lot more breathable than a disposable, and before you invest in a new stash, make sure that your child isn’t bothered by the dampness of fitteds. My boys are fine with one or two natural fiber diapers, but I can’t use then at every change or they get red. You can always use a trifolded prefold with a fleece liner, inside a wrap style fleece or wool cover!

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