Baby Allergic to Cloth Diaper?? - Mothering Forums
Diapering > Baby Allergic to Cloth Diaper??
mountainspring's Avatar mountainspring 08:29 AM 05-10-2011

Hey everyone. Sigh. I'm quite frustrated. I've successfully cloth diapered two of my children, all their lives. We have never had a problem with rash.

My third child, is 5 months now.  We have been using the same as we used for our other children:



-PUL covers (classic prorap, wonderwrap, or thristies cover)


Baby has had a rash since he was about 2 months old! I'm going nuts.  We switched to Huggies disposables and after nearly 2 weeks, the rash was almost gone, so I switched back to cloth (after having washed them in "Arm & Hammer - Sensitive Skin").


Overnight, the rash is back in full swing!  He has severe redness on his thighs (not in the creases), and on the front, where a bikini would go, above the scrotum and below his belly button - in a triangle shape.  I've been to the doc twice.


First time they gave me hydrocortisone which I only used once. Didn't do anything and I don't want to use it because it's steroids.

Second time he thought baby was allergic to my homemade deterget (1   Fels-Naptha soap bar; 1  Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda; ½  Cup Borax).  Doc thought that the Fels-Naptha soap is drying the skin out and is too harsh for cloth diapers, even though there is no rash when baby wears clothes washed in the same solution.  Is it maybe the BORAX?



Maybe I am not stripping the diapers properly?  Where can I find instructions on how to strip cloth diapers?

What about the covers?  Maybe he is allergic to the covers.

I did purchase a couple more wool covers, but haven't lanolized them yet (on the to-do list for today), but I did not notice a big improvement on the rash last time I used my wool covers for a few days in a row.


Detergent: I'm thinking of creating my own detergent with equal parts of: baking soda, washing soda, and oxyclean (substituting baking soda for borax in this recipe:


I've also heard of Crunchy Clean, but I feel stupid paying $$ for that, when all it is, is homemade detergent using the above 3 ingredients.  I think this type of simple detergent, added with CALGON for our hard water (in Texas) should be fine, but I'm almost getting very tired of experimenting and am just putting him in disposables until I figure this jazz out.


Also googled and found some moms say a fleece liner should do the trick. I wonder about this, since the rash is also on the thighs, kind of where the diaper rubs against, so I don't think a fleece liner would do the trick, unless I sewed an entire fleece lining into my existing prefolds. 


I've had most of these prefolds for 5 years, so maybe it's just time to get new ones?  Idk.  Feel like I'm failing cloth diapering, when I've been doing it for 5 years and should be getting better at it, not worse!!

Please help!






Jaimee's Avatar Jaimee 08:51 AM 05-10-2011

How frustrating to run into this on your third when everything has been fine through two other kiddos!  I have a couple thoughts...


Allergy is a possibility, but not likely with cotton prefolds.  If the rash was just where the covers were touching I would say he could be reacting to the elastic/synthetic covers, but you say it is elsewhere, too, so I really don't think allergy to your diapering system is your issue.  You mentioned concern about the detergent you've been making... I think this is worth experimenting with.  You could just go out and buy a cloth diaper safe detergent, strip your diapers (see below) and then start using the new detergent.  If it clears up then switch back to your old detergent and see if it happens again.  Then you'll know.  My favorite detergent is Planet.


His skin could just be super sensitive and the prefolds are just not wicking well enough.  Adding a fleece liner could really help with this in conjunction with changing more often and possibly adding a slim doubler to keep the moisture away from his skin.  You could experiment with different folding techniques like the twist fold so that less diaper is touching his thigh area.  Another thought to absorb moisture is adding corn starch at each diaper change.  You could also boost his skin with cloth diaper safe creams (calendula, lanolin, coconut oil, etc.) and use flushable liners like biosoft to protect your diapers.


My other thought is that the diapers have residue on them from being so well used.  A good stripping is probably in order no matter what.  There are lots of ways to strip and some ways are better than others to get rid of bacteria/fungus, cream residue, and detergent residue.  A simple strip with 1-2 tsp of Dawn dish soap and multiple hot washes with NO detergent is good for getting rid of skin oils and detergent residue.  Add a 1/4 C of bleach, dry them in the sun, or boil them to get rid of bacteria/fungus.  If you suspect cream residue (like petroleum, fish oil, etc.) then it may be necessary to scrub them with Dawn dish soap and a grout brush and then rinse, rinse, rinse.


Also, if none of this is terribly appealing, prefolds are so cheap... $28/dozen or so and now that he's 5 months old you could just buy the regular size.  If that doesn't solve the problem you could easily sell them on and get a few premium diapers to try out and see if he just needs a system with more wicking.


HTH!  Good luck!






mountainspring's Avatar mountainspring 01:56 PM 05-10-2011

Thank you so much for your reply. I'm giving cloth a rest while I are having a really busy May with travels and I'll let the rash heal up with disposables. Then I'll strip those prefolds like you said. Then use prefold with fleece liner + wool cover.  If that doesn't work...then I don't know what I'll do. 


About fleece - I've heard there are more than 1 type of fleece and you have to be sure to get the right one for diapers. Do you know which one this is?



Pynki's Avatar Pynki 02:11 PM 05-10-2011

It may be build up.  I'd try stripping the diapers.  You can do it buy boiling them on the stove, or by adding hot water to your machine, or buy washing a few loads with a teaspoon of dawn dish soap and oxyclean. 

Jaimee's Avatar Jaimee 12:39 PM 05-11-2011

Originally Posted by mountainspring View Post


About fleece - I've heard there are more than 1 type of fleece and you have to be sure to get the right one for diapers. Do you know which one this is?



Yes.  Ideally you want a microfleece (very thin) and you do not want a windpro fleece at all (very thick and water repellent).  In between is "regular" fleece (often used for baby blankets, etc.) and this will work as well.