Has your child ever experienced a diaper rash? Most babies will at some point experience a rash, for one reason or another, and they usually heal in a matter of hours or a couple days. For yeast rash, it may take a doctor’s visit and some prescription cream, but it should still clear up after a week or so, right? Yeah, for the normal baby… Not for my daughter!
Diapers Problems from the Beginning
My daughter has had problems with rashes since she was in size 1 diapers. Huggies gave her pretty bad rashes every time we used them. We tried numerous other kinds and she always ended up breaking out in a rash. Her doctor said that what she was experiencing was some type of allergy to the diapers because she was always able to wear the diapers for a few days before the redness started. And then the redness would turn into an actual rash, and it would continue to get worse until I changed the kind of diaper she was wearing. We finally found Pampers Sensitive worked best with her.
And Pampers worked great until she was old enough to drink water and became a heavy wetter. Then they turned into a gross mess. The pee would basically “sweat” out of the diapers like sweat on a glass of ice tea and then they would leak.. and fall apart (literally). So I tried a number of other diapers, but I just couldn’t find anything that didn’t make her break out; and I swore I would NEVER use cloth diapers.. they’re gross, a lot of work, and just weird! So I just dealt with Pampers Sensitive, until she grew out of size 4. Yep, seriously, they don’t sell them past size 4. Why would you do that to me Pampers??!! My only other option was the very expensive Gentle Care (which is basically the same diaper as Pampers Sensitive, but it is exclusive to Target and they actually sell size 5. But for the horrible quality that they were, the leaks we kept having, and the money we had to spend for them, they just were not a long term solution.
The Beginning of Cloth Diapers
So I finally had no choice but to start using cloth diapers. And if you are considering using them, I would HIGHLY recommend Wegreeco diapers from Amazon. They are way cheaper than the average cloth diapers, great quality in my opinion, and they work really great. Just DO NOT “strip” them. I’m sorry, but in my opinion, stripping diapers is nonsense. Just use regular detergent that is free of fragrances and use enough to clean them and you really don’t need to do anything else.
Once I learned that, I realized that cloth diapers weren’t so bad after all. Just follow the manufacturers instructions. If you’re baby gets a rash, use diaper liners temporarily. You can buy those on Amazon too. I didn’t use the liners and ended up with with cream on the diapers, so I tried washing them in hot water (against the manufacturing instructions). This completely ruined them as pocket diapers. But before I ruined them, they worked really well. I also use Gerber bath rags for wipes. I just wet them with water and throw them in with the diaper inserts when I wash them. It makes everything easier and it is one less thing to wonder about when she gets a rash.
And the Rash Begins
I used cloth diapers on my daughter for a good few months with no major rash problems. She had some rashes here and there when she would get diarrhea from food (check out my blog on food allergies for more info on that), but they were always gone by the next day. Then, one day, a rash started as usual from an episode of diarrhea and I treated it as I usually would. But it continued to get worse. Every day it got worse. The doctor prescribed Nystatin in case it was yeast, and we tried that for a few days along with oatmeal baths and constant diaper changes. And I had to revert back to disposables for a short time so I could cake on the cream.
But for most of the day, I just let her run around naked. I tried to keep her contained on the tile floor as much as possible for when she had an accident, and I just had to keep cleaning up after her; but I didn’t care as long as it worked. The nurse told me that if it was yeast, the best thing I could do was let her run around naked. Well, it continued to get worse.
So we went in to see her doctor. He thought it was her diaper allergy acting up since I was using the disposables (Pampers Gentle Care, now called Pampers Pure), and that I should just use the cloth and put hydrocortisone cream on the rash to help it go away. So we did that and continued to let her run around naked for a couple days. It STILL got worse. The rash was so bad at this point that it started oozing. It was AWFUL! It brought me to tears to see something like that on my child!
So I took her in again and a different doctor told me it was definitely a very bad yeast infection and that I should try treating her with Monistat (please ask a doctor before trying this though, there is a right and wrong one to use, but I don’t remember exactly at this point). She told me the rash should clear up quickly with the Monistat and should be completely gone by day 3. So I continued to let her run around naked and and I tried treating her with monistat for FIVE days. It improved some, but never went away. And then it started getting worse again.
Finally, her doctor saw us again and he basically said that although the other doctor meant well, it clearly was not a yeast infection because it was not in the folds of her skin. He told me that I did not use the hydrocortisone cream long enough because it takes at least a couple days of application before it would actually start to work. He also referred us to a dermatologist, but they were–of course–booked for over a month. I continued with the hydrocortisone cream, and I did see some improvement, but the rash still just would NOT go away!
A Useless Dermatologist Visit
After a month, we finally got in to see the dermatologist. He looked at the pictures I had taken of the rash, looked at the rash she still had at the time, and gave me his conclusion. Clearly, the problem was that I don’t change her diapers often enough. He said it was “Irritant Contact Dermatitis”, not yeast, or anything to be concerned about… I just needed to change her diapers more often. “Seriously?” I said, “Did you not hear me say that I let her run around naked for 2 weeks?? I change her VERY often! Half the time she is not even wet, or she is barely wet when I change her!” But, nope, that wasn’t good enough. Clearly, she just needed more diaper changes. And that’s all I got out of that visit. That and the fact that this was the worst rash he had ever seen. Apparently I am the worst diaper changer ever!
Finally an Answer!!
So I called the nurse at my daughter’s doctor’s office and told her how the appointment went. She was just about as frustrated as I was and relayed it to the doctor, who penciled me in for another appointment. He took another look at the rash and again said that it seems like an allergic reaction to him. He told me to stop using disposables altogether, but I explained to him that the cream will mess up cloth diapers (I had kind of already messed them up at this point). And he gave me this confused look and said, “Wait, are you not using cotton diapers?” So I explained to him that most diapers are not really cotton anymore, they are made of bamboo and all sorts of other materials so they can be thin and still absorbent. So he told me to try cotton ONLY.
Well, I already had the pocket diapers and there was NO WAY I was going to buy a whole new set of diapers, so I just went to Walmart and bought some Gerber 100% cotton prefold diapers. I placed them in the diapers (not in the pocket, just laying on the diaper). I also started using Lanolin as a barrier cream because it easily washes out of cotton diapers if you wash them in hot water.
At this point, after THREE months of dealing with this horrible, never-ending rash and no answers.. FINALLY it went away!! We actually had a party celebrating the end of her rash (I’m not kidding). It was such a relief! So, it turns out, her doctor was right the whole time. It WAS a skin allergy.
We later saw an allergy doctor, who after testing confirmed that my daughter has 4 skin allergies, to 2 preservatives, a topical antibiotic, and “fragrance.” As it turns out, Pampers “Pure” is not so pure after all. They put fragrance on the inside of the diaper that touches the skin. Not only was that aggravating her, but her shampoo had fragrance and one of the preservatives, and the diaper rash creams apparently mask the fragrance under different names (even the “all-natural” or “organic” ones that we tried). Now it all made sense. Everything we were using was constantly causing an allergic reaction, and the more things we used (Pampers, rash cream, shampoo), the worse it became.
Now, we only use the cotton inserts during the day. I just fold them in the opposite direction of the actual folds and set them in the diapers. It works great. We have yet to have another rash at all, and these are actually WAY easier to care for than the normal cloth diapers. I wash the inserts and rags that I use as wipes separate from the covers so I can wash them in hot water. I use Arm & Hammer Sensitive laundry detergent, which has worked the best in my experience. Even though the cotton inserts are bigger and bulkier, my daughter doesn’t mind them and I rarely have leaks anymore; but most importantly we are rash free!!
At night we use Honest diapers. Initially, I thought these were just a Hollywood gimmick. But we KEPT having leaks at night with cotton diapers, no matter what kind or how we used them. So, I went out and tried the ONE type of diaper that I had not tried yet: Honest. And to my utter surprise, these are amazing! They do not bother her skin, since they are free of all preservatives and fragrances (and even plastics, if you are one of those moms that likes things to be “all-natural”). And they look super cute! Not to mention, they are WAY better quality than Pampers anyway. The only downside is the price. They are worth every penny by all accounts, but they are very expensive. Some people may be able to buy in bundles with wipes and have significant savings, but we can’t because my daughter is sensitive to the wipes (flower extracts=fragrance for her). So, we just use them at night. But I will HIGHLY recommend giving Honest diapers a try if your little one has rash problems.
If your baby has a rash that just will NOT go away, maybe it is a skin allergy. Ask your doctor, of course, but try cotton inserts and/or Honest diapers. The inserts are cheap at Walmart, and may be a simple solution. If not, you won’t lose much. If anything you’ve read here was helpful for you, please let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!