Keeping foreskin healthy in cloth - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 11-06-2010, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone! This is my first time posting here. I have a 2 yo intact DS, and one on the way who will also be intact. I feel so lucky to have gotten the information about circ when I did - i.e., before I did it to my sons!

My dilemma, which I'm hoping someone can help with: we also use cloth diapers during the day. For a while, we've been using the Seventh Generation disposables at night, because DS was such a heavy wetter that no cloth could hold him. A couple of months ago, I found some CD's that were absorbent enough to last us all night, and was thrilled. We started using them every night, and he was fine, although the ammonia smell was breathtaking in the morning. His foreskin started looking red after a couple weeks, and then swollen. Eventually we found that it was so infected that it required a course of antibiotics (the first he's ever had) to clear it up. Since then, we're back to cloth in the day, 'sposies at night, but I would really love to be using cloth at night, too, and figure out the problem!

Here are the possibilities I've come up with:

1. It was unrelated to the switch and just poor timing.
2. The dipes weren't getting entirely clean and bacteria grew in them. DH does them at work where there's a toploading washing machine, and I'm not entirely sure what his washing routine is (I appreciate his help infinitely, but he does tend to tweak things ). Since then, I've become MUCH more OCD about how he is washing them, and have a bleaching/stripping schedule so that diapers are bleached every two weeks and stripped once a month.
3. These diapers closed with a Snappi, and we were super-stuffing them. Could the combined pressure of the snappi and extra stuffing put too much pressure on his penis, resulting in irritation which then let a little bit of bacteria in?

Obviously, I'm hesitant to try CD at night again until we have this sorted out - his poor penis was red and raw and really painful looking, and I'm not in any sort of hurry to put him through that again! Care of intact penises is new to me (and to DH) - I'm great when it's "wash what you see and otherwise leave it alone," but now that there's been a problem, I'm totally stumped! Any input would be really, really helpful!

Kelley, lucky partner to my Canuck and momma to Peter Gwydion (9/08) whistling.gif, Eliot Theoden (2/11) sleepytime.gif, and Harper Ophelia (m/c 6/12) rainbow1284.gif . We breastfeed exclusively, cosleep peacefully, vax selectively, homeschool joyously, and love each other unconditionally! luxlove.gif 
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#2 of 13 Old 11-06-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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Maybe try to switch it once in the middle of the night? Thats the only thing I can think of.
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#3 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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I would suggest posting this question in the diapering forum. I've only been cloth diapering for two weeks, but from what I've read there, the ammonia smell means your diapers aren't getting rinsed enough. If I remember right, the stink is caused by detergent build-up and can be solved by running rinse cycles after the wash cycle until your dh no longer sees any bubbles coming out. Non-natural fibers like polyester tend to hold stink better than natural ones.

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#4 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 12:19 AM
 
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I think there was bacteria buildup on the diapers causing this. Thorough washing occasionally with bleach or with routine use of vinegar rinses prevents this. Try a double diaper with a wool soaker, maybe add another doubler in there, and you're going to be able to rest well all night and your baby wake up doing fine. Best wishes!
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#5 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 02:01 PM
 
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From an evolutionary standpoint, there is no reason for humans to have evolved a tolerance to soaking in their own urine. I say minimize the soaking. A diaper that holds more is not the answer. Changing more often would seem to be.

-Ron
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#6 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 03:10 PM
 
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It is the ammonia. It will burn the skin/foreskin. You need to deal with the ammonia.

DS1 2004 ~ DS2 2005 ~ DD1 2008 ~ DS3 2010 ~ DD2 due Dec. 2014
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#7 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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I had an ammonia problem which led to a few blisters for my DS. Our fix wasn't stripping them more or bleaching. It was more detergent in the wash. I was worrying about build up and not using enough and they just weren't getting clean. I used a full amount for the load size.

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#8 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for the replies, everyone!

Changing him in the night would probably help, but he sleeps through the night and at 6 1/2 months pregnant, I'm in no rush to be waking up in the middle of the night to change diapers (for another couple months, anyway!). The diapers that we are using do have a fleece liner inside to wick moisture away from him.

I think the problem is that they're not getting clean, hence the ammonia stink and the rash/infection. We have a front-loader at home and the top-loader at my husband's work, which is why he's been taking them to work, but I think he's just not doing them correctly. I'll post over on the CD forum about getting them totally clean and keeping them clean in a front loader. I hope that a more regular schedule of bleaching & stripping, as well as doing them myself to make sure enough detergent is going through, will fix our problem.

Kelley, lucky partner to my Canuck and momma to Peter Gwydion (9/08) whistling.gif, Eliot Theoden (2/11) sleepytime.gif, and Harper Ophelia (m/c 6/12) rainbow1284.gif . We breastfeed exclusively, cosleep peacefully, vax selectively, homeschool joyously, and love each other unconditionally! luxlove.gif 
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#9 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 10:05 PM
 
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I really think the extra wash with vinegar will do the trick (along with minimizing time in a wet diaper). Ammonia (ammonium) is a weak base and will burn delicate skin with prolonged contact. If the ammonia isn't getting cleaned/rinsed out well enough, your diapers will smell like ammonia. Vinegar is a weak acid and will neutralize a weak base and get it out of your diapers. After washing (cold fast pre-rinse, hot/cold long wash), we would run a cold fast rinse with 1/2 cup of vinegar per load.
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#10 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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Since this is the CAC forum, I wanted to add...

If you had circ'd him at birth, the diaper rash/ammonia burn could have lead to meatal stenosis or meatal ulcers. 10% of circ'd boy get meatal stenosis, which usually requires surgical correction. A swollen foreskin is a much less severe problem.

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#11 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 12:41 PM
 
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Hi, I might be able to offer some advice,

We stopped using the snappi when DS was about 4 months old. I noticed the pressure on his penis looked uncomfortable and it seem to 'separate' his testicles. I have also heard others say their snappis cause some gassy-ness in their LOs. Also, DS's foreskin does look a little red if I dont change at least every 2 hours, but he is not a heavy wetter. Detergent or ammonia build up also caused redness.
Your DH should be doing a wash routine like this:
-cold rinse, to spin out all the bodily fluids
-a very HOT wash with 1/3 the normal amount of detergent
- followed by a cold rinse, and ideally a second final cold rinse to remove any lingering detergent.

Perhaps your LO needs a stay dry option for nights to minimize irritation. I like Motherease one size diapers with their doubler. They have a stay dry option and you could add a hemp doubler in between to boost absorbency. HTH

ETA, and like PP said, vinegar is a great way to neutralize ammonia!

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#12 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 10:00 PM
 
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Any diaper that holds 12 hrs worth of urine is going to smell like ammonia. Theres no getting around that. Definitely check on your wash routine, but if ammonia is the issue, all your dipes would smell, not just the one.

And there is no nighttime dipe solution that works for everyone. Heck, my little guy pees through 2 sposies in the night - to the point where the bed is soaked and the dipe is falling apart. The best solution ive found is a Happy Hempy w stay dry liner (Aplix closure) stuffed w 2 infant pfs, a Hemparoo and a loopy-do. Covered w a Babyology wool cover. Even the so-called nighttime dipes can't get us through.

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#13 of 13 Old 11-17-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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Any redness my son has had on his penis from wearing cloth, I found was caused by irritation from the detergent we used.

 

You could always try using some kind of barrier cream at night. When I need to, I use the natural Boudreaux's Butt Paste...it's not generally considered "safe" for cloth diapers, but I use prefolds, so pretty much everything washes out.  


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