Most babies get fewer diaper rashes with cloth diapers than disposables. This is definitely true for my daughter, who seems to have very sensitive skin. If a disposable touches her bottom for any length of time, the skin becomes red and irritated. That's not to say that the only way she gets a rash is from disposables. She gets a rash from sitting in a wet prefold too long. She gets a rash from nasty poos. She gets a rash from eating certain foods, I think, I just haven't pinpointed what they are.
So we'll just be going along fine on a daily routine. Then one day, out of the blue, when changing her diaper, a red, angry rash has appeared. What's a cloth diapering mama to do?
There are times that I have slathered on the thick, creamy diaper cream, and then slapped on a disposable and called it a day. The only problem with this solution is: the areas with the cream start to heal, while the areas without cream become irritated. Usually around the legs, where the elastic is.
So usually what I do is put on the diaper cream (Desitin creamy, Boudreaux's Butt Paste, or CJ's BUTTer) and then use a cloth diaper ... with a liner.
Ironically, diapers and diaper cream don't really mix. The diaper cream's job is to protect the skin from excess moisture. It usually does this by creating a moisture barrier. That's great on baby's skin. Not so much on the surface of the diaper, whose job is to absorb the moisture. If a disposable diaper gets coated in diaper cream, it's no big deal, since it's going to be thrown away. Cloth diapers should be protected from most diaper creams with a liner.
What do you use as a liner?
-You can buy liners from many cloth diaper retailers. My favorites are made by Bummis, but I've also used the Imse Vimse ones with success. They are usually flushable, biodegradable, and many mamas use them not just with diaper cream, but because they make poopy diapers easier to clean up.
-You can use other paper products as diaper liners. You can use paper towels, although I imagine they would be a little scratchy. I have even used disposable wipes that accidentally went through the wash with the cloth diapers. The Huggies ones hold up well in the wash, and come out fluffy and soft after drying. They work really well as a diaper liner in their next life.
-You can make your own diaper liners. Cut rectangles of cheap fleece or flannel. I would wash these separately from your other diapers - you don't want the emollients in the cream coating all your other diapers in the wash. They could be washed with towels instead with no problem.
I have heard that the most natural way to deal with diaper rash is to use raw silk liners in your cloth diapers. The silk is supposed to clear up the diaper rash. I have never tried it, so I only provide it here as heresay, but I'd really love to see if it works.
I have, with a really bad rash, only used diaper cream to clear it up most of the way, then just put her back in regular cloth. It goes away on its own eventually no matter what I do. (That's what makes me think most of them are food-allergy-related.)
So how do you deal with diaper rashes? Link up and tell us!