11 September 2012
How to Prevent Nappy Rash when Using Cloth Nappies
By: Lisa Reid (BEng(Environmental))
Nappy rash can be an unfortunate fact of life for babies in nappies, regardless of whether they are single use disposable or reusable cloth nappies. But it doesn’t have to be. Visible as a red rash, blisters or even ulcers, nappy rash is caused by “irritation”, such as moisture and rubbing of the skin. Making sure nappies fit properly and have enough absorbency can help to prevent this problem.
With disposable nappies, move up to the next nappy size as your baby grows. This means that the nappy fits better and also has more absorbency to meet your baby’s needs. If you’re using cloth nappies, then you also need to adjust your baby’s nappies as they grow. So adjust the fit and/or add more absorbency to the nappy with boosters.
A few things you can do to prevent nappy rash when using cloth nappies are:
- Change baby’s nappy every two hours to ensure your baby doesn’t sit in a urine soaked or dirty nappy for too long. If you need to change the nappy more often than this because its getting too wet, you will need to either add absorbency using a booster, do a strip wash or use a different nappy to better suit your baby.
- Give your baby some nappy-free time each day, preferably at least 30 minutes.
- Use a liner – either single use or reusable (microfleece or silk) to make sure the moisture is being drawn into the nappy rather than sitting straight against your baby’s skin. It also protects your nappies from barrier creams.
If you’re finding that your baby still has a red bottom, consider the following:
Laundry detergent – make sure you’re using an eco-friendly one, suitable for sensitive skin such as Rockin' Green or Cushie Tushies detergents.
Moisturisers and baby creams – again opt for sensitive skin and fragrance-free varieties such as Aromababy Barrier Balm.
Baby wipes – preferably use re-usable cloth or cotton balls and warm water, rather than disposable, chemically-treated ones. Sustainababy stocks Cushie Tushies reusable cloth wipes.
Food and teething – sometimes, certain foods (strawberries and oranges impacted my kids) can cause red bottoms, as can teething.
Importantly, if your baby continually has nappy rash, always check with a health specialist to rule out any underlying health issues.
So whether you’re using disposables or cloth nappies, nappy rash can be prevented by being mindful of your baby’s changing nappy needs and using a little common sense.
About the Author: Lisa Reid is an eco mum and environmental engineer and resides in Melbourne with her husband Tim and young children Jacob and Edith. Lisa is working to reduce her family's eco footprint by using cloth nappies, growing her own vegetables, using less chemicals and making her home energy efficient.