Cloth diapers are designed for today’s busy parents – parents who want the best for their babies and are concerned about their futures. The stakes are high. Each family that chooses natural cloth diapers for their children prevents 1 ton of waste from entering the solid waste stream every year. Diapers are garments not garbage. Throw away isn’t go away, and what appears to be immediately advantageous also has long term consequence. Diapering is not a quick change undertaking; it is an act of love! If your diapers aren’t cloth they are garbage!
- Always wash diapers before first use.
- As a general rule, change diaper when wet. Check often for wetness (once every 60-90 minutes for a newborn when awake).
- Change baby near a source of warm water if possible. A change pad on the bathroom vanity or floor are alternatives to expensive change tables.
- Never leave a baby unattended on a raised surface even for a moment. A squirming baby can fall off a change table even before learning to roll over. Always keep at least one hand on baby at all times on a raised surface.
- Wash baby’s bottom with warm water at every diaper change for newborns; a few times a day for older babies. Pat or air dry before applying clean diaper. I found diaper changes to be an opportune time for bonding, interaction, eye contact, a gentle infant massage of their legs, arms or feet, sing song time and gentle blowing upon the skin of baby’s legs, arms or belly to increase their self awareness.
- Powders are not required. Talcum or corn starch traps moisture and holds it next to the skin. There is no medical reason why powder is required. Powders can cause lung damage if inhaled by baby during application. Baby powder containers are dangerous because they resemble baby bottles. Older babies can pick them up and suck on the container. Petroleum jelly can be used sparingly to act as a protective moisture barrier. It is especially useful for infants who have frequent stools. Petroleum jelly should NEVER be applied over a rash or red skin as it inhibits air flow.
- Wash your hands after each diaper change, even if changing two children in succession.
Here is where a stay dry liner makes a huge difference! Gently wipe most of the feces off baby with the inside front of the diaper. One advantage of cloth diapers is that much of the stool sticks to the diaper fabric not the baby’s skin. Use toilet paper as well if required. Wipe girls from front to back to avoid vaginal infections. Wash baby’s bottom with warm water. Splash or use a soft cloth. If you use commercial baby wipes, buy the unscented alcohol-free. If you use soap chose a mild one and rinse it completely off. Be sure to clean and dry in-between rolls of baby fat. Rinse stool off into the toilet, hold top back of diaper and flush, OR, shake liner above toilet and place in diaper pail. A liner is much easier to rinse than an entire diaper. Generally stool will slide off the stay dry liner into the toilet requiring no dunking. Ensure the lid of the diaper pail is closed securely each time so children do not have access.
Fill the diaper pail 3/4 full for soaking diapers. Place 1/4 to 1 cup vinegar into pail. Vinegar softens the water and disinfects the diapers. Some other additives you might like to try to find your own personal preference would be: 1/4 cup washing soda ( whitens without bleach, softens water) OR 1/2 cup baking soda (deodorizes, softens) OR 1/2 cup borax in 1/2 diaper pail of water (water softener, natural deodorizer, and a mild bleaching agent) OR 1 Tablespoon of Arm & Hammer “Essentials” for a small pail or 2-3 tablespoons for a large pail One solution at a time please!
Diapers are soaked to prevent staining. All the above are environmentally friendly. A dry diaper pail may be your preference, using a spray bottle with one of the above mentioned solutions in it, in a slightly higher concentrate. Just spray the soiled diapers. Wash these diapers every other day. Experiment and find out what works best for you!
Diapers with urine only, need no rinsing if they are to be washed within 1-3 days. Simply place them in the WET OR DRY diaper pail. Soiled diapers may be added once they are rinsed. Rinse pails before refilling and occasionally wash pails out with disinfectant.
LAUNDERING NEVER USE FABRIC SOFTENERS!!!
Softeners add a waxy coating which makes fibers feel softer but makes them less absorbent.
NEVER USE BLEACH!!!
All guarantees are void if bleach is used. It weakens cotton fibers, ruins elastic and spandex, destroys the hook and loop fasteners (Velcr0) and is environmentally unfriendly. Ivory snow is a pure soap and should not be used in hard water. It does not rinse out well. The tallow in the soap can cause a greasy film which decreases the absorbency of the diaper. Curds of soap may be left in the diaper, clog your machine and create septic tank problems. Any type of perfume soap can leave a residue in the diapers. This residue can react with a child’s urine creating a diaper rash. In my experience cloth diapers have NEVER been responsible for creating diaper rash. It is the detergent’s perfume residue that can cause a rash to develop.
24 diapers is a recommended load size along with wipes liners and inserts. Covers get washed with regular clothes in warm water. Do not place them in the diaper pail.
1) Dump entire contents of diaper pail into washer and spin diapers out for a minute or so 2) If the majority of the diapers are soiled it is recommended that they be run through an entire cycle of COLD water rinse. (If you add detergent and hot water you will only set the stains)
3) If only a few diapers are soiled wash in HOT water at highest water level and add detergent. The majority of diaper manufacturers recommend a detergent that contains no enzymes. Diapering Decisions recommends Arm & Hammer “Essentials” liquid with biodegrable Plant based soaps. It is phosphate free, dye and perfume free. Suited for sensativce skin. Do not use a detergent with any bleach additives. Some babies will react with a diaper rash if a perfumed detergent is used.
4) Add 1/4 white vinegar to the first rinse cycle (or place in fabric softener dispenser) Vinegar lowers the pH level and removes soap residue, thereby reducing factors which could cause diaper rash. One rinse is satisfactory, but younger babies and children with sensitive skin will benefit from a second cold water rinse.
Line Drying: In addition to saving energy and money, diapers will last longer with gentle care and the exposure to the sun naturally bleaches the diapers and gives them a fresh smell. Over drying diapers in a dryer will make them wrinkled and less soft and may cause excessive shrinking. AIR DRY ALL COVERS! DO NOT PLACE THEM IN THE DRYER! (they will last longer and avoid shrinkage) In the winter hang diapers on a drying rack inside, overnight and fluff them up by placing them in the dryer for a few minutes in the morning. Place dry diapers is a laundry basket by change table and pull out as required.
Two Main Factors:
- Diarrhea has been found to be the cause of diaper rash in 70-80% of cases. Liquid stool spreads over a wide area and is very irritating to the skin.
- Infrequent Diaper Changes make it difficult for the skin to protect itself from the many causes of irritation in the diaper area. Frequent changes will minimize the effects of all irritants.
When baby’s skin is wet and hot it is more susceptible to irritation from the following:
- Loose diaper
- Snug fitting diaper or no diaper
- Growth of natural skin bacteria is enhanced by contact with urine
- Rinse cloth diapers in DIAPER PURE
- Baby’s urine usually alkaline once eliminated
- Soap residue in diaper
- Strong digestive juices in loose bowel movements- possibly from teething
- Add 1/4 cup vinegar to rinse cycle when washing cloth diapers
- Some babies have slightly high acid and acid-acidid urine.
- Reduce baby’s intake of acidic food such as tomatoes and orange or apple juice
ALLERGIES / IRRITANTS
Possible allergens:some baby chemicals, perfumes, wipes, detergents, fabric softeners, chlorine bleach residue, lanolin, parabens (preservative in some creams and ointments)
- Check products such as commercial baby wipes, baby oils and lotions and disposable diapers for ingredients.
- Eliminate possible allergens until rash clears Re-introduce one at a time so allergies can be detected.
- SUSCEPTIBILITY Some babies are simply more prone to rash than others.
- TEETHING and COMMON COLD have been reported to cause diaper rash.
- AGGRESSIVE and/or frequent CLEANSING of the diaper area with soap or disposable baby wipes can damage skin. Insufficient cleaning can also contribute to rash.
Other forms of rash in the diaper area are: seborrheic dermatitis (may be accompanied by “cradle cap” on the scalp), intertrigo (from skin rubbing on skin, in the creases), impetigo (caused by bacteria), psoriasis and scabies, fungi or yeast infections (possibly increased by intake of antibiotics), and various bacteria.
IF A RASH DEVELOPS
Let baby go without a diaper for one to three hours a day. For young babies put them on the diaper instead of in the diaper (make sure the room is warm). For older, mobile babies, try to keep them in a non-carpeted area, or wait until nap time. It is important to air baby’s bottom when a mild rash appears to allow healing. Once skin becomes irritated, it is more susceptible to further irritation. Organisms that cause severe rash (e.g..Yeast) do not generally infect healthy skin; however, if present in stool, they can infect damaged skin. Often a diaper rash cream or ointment will help clear up a rash within a day or two (consult your pharmacist or health nurse for recommended brand). Consult a physician: If a rash worsens or persists for more than three days, or if skin is broken, or develops pimples, pustules or blisters. Prescription creams or medicine may be required to clear some types of rash.