Thursday, September 8, 2011

Diaper Rash and Cloth Diapers

There is conflict regarding whether zinc is safe for cloth diapers.  Zinc is the primary ingredient in the majority of OTC and prescription creams for diaper rash.  If it's bright white and very thick - then it's zinc!

A little science:

Zinc can ultimately lead to some big problems for cloth diapers.  Zinc is a repellant, which is why it is so useful as a preventative measure against diaper rash.  When baby sits in urine (or feces for that matter), the zinc keeps baby protected from the moisture, making baby's skin less susceptible to rash.  However, the cream is very quickly drawn into the absorbent cotton and fleece that serve as the outer layers of cloth diaper interiors.  This makes an absorbent diaper quickly become a repelling diaper; one that won't wick in any moisture.  Consequently, the diaper fails to absorb any urine, so you have the potential for MAJOR leaks!  Zinc also builds up over time even with adequate washing and can make a diaper less and less absorbent.  Zinc also stains cloth diapers.  It should also be mentioned that many creams also have oils that also aren't cloth diaper friendly.

So what do we do?

Our options:

Add a barrier!  If your baby is extra sensitive or prone to rash, there are linings that can be added to the interior of the diaper.  The diaper is then protected from the cream, and baby is protected from the moisture.  There are washable fleece/silk liners, disposable rayon liners, and some moms just throw in a cloth of some sort.  See here for a demo: GMD Liners

Use a diaper friendly cream!  There are a few (and many more seem to be coming out as cloth diapering gains popularity) creams that are safe for cloth diapers.  
Here is a GREAT resource for creams: PinStripes and PolkaDots

Use a natural diaper rash remedy! Many natural oils provide great treatment for rash and protect against irritation.  Coconut oil is very highly recommended.  Purchase from a local grocery market (it comes solid unless it is over 85 degrees or so) and simply rub on like any other cream!  If it is liquid, you can apply in the same manner or add to a spray bottle and spray on.  Olive oil is another recommended treatment, and would be applied in the same way.  Lanolin is another potential remedy as it has healing and softening properties.  It is available in tubes or jars and is semi-solid.  Lanolin can be found at most pharmacies and markets.  It is also often available in stores targeted towards nursing mothers, as it is recommended for keeping mom's nipples free from irritation.

Strip diapers or add an extra wash and rinse!  I'll go into diaper care details more precisely later on, but adding extra washes and rinses will often remove cream buildup and increase diaper absorption.  Stripping diapers removes any buildup (cream, detergent, staining) but is a bit more work (and not recommended for everyday washing).

Diapers in use at the moment:

Son1: BG4 Artist Series Red
Son2: TotsBots Easyfit White

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Different Strokes for Different Folks.

I have seen so many people stop cloth diapering after a few months because they didn't like prefolds.  The folding isn't easy to get quite right, the closing is difficult (and dangerous - hello "snappi" injuries!) and the prefolds leak very quickly.  Plus they are huge! 

Prefolds are what grandma used, and opted to give up for "sposies" as soon as she could.  They make PUL (polyurethane lining) covers now - which hold in the urine and poop more over the prefold, but are SO bulky in the end - that pants don't even fit!

That's where technology comes in - having made cloth diapering a much easier experience.

There are pocket diapers and "all-in-ones" that are basically similar to a disposable but healthy and soft for baby's skin.  and SUPER CUTE!

The pocket is a PUL lined fabric cover with a soft fleece inner lining.  Then the diaper is stuffed with an insert (microfiber, hemp, bamboo) into a pocket.  That's where the absorbency can be increased or decreased.  A diaper can be "double-stuffed" with two inserts - some people use their old prefolds as inserts too.

The "all-in-one" is basically like a pocket but with the insert permanently sewn into the pocket.  Some "AIOs" have an open pocket though, to allow for additional inserts for added absorbency.

I prefer pockets, because they dry faster and have insert options.  I also think they are the least bulky and fit nicely under pants.  But some people prefer the AIOs because they don't require stuffing.  To each his own, and really, any one choosing cloth diapers should try many kinds of diapers to find the best style, fit and preference for mom and baby.

A prefold and cover:

A Prefold and Bummis Cover

A Pocket:
Exterior (Sunbaby Brand One Size)

Sherpa Fleece Lining and Microfiber Insert

Insert Stuffed Inside Pocket


Exterior (BumGenius 3.0 Size Small)

Inside (Suede Fleece)

Sewn-In Insert with Pocket for Additional Inserts


Monday, August 29, 2011

We've come a long way baby!

When I mentioned to my grandmother that I was choosing to cloth diaper, I confess that she laughed and asked why on earth would we choose to use cloth when we had the option of disposables now.  Of course, when she was parenting, there was only one option.  And that was a dinky thin "prefold" pinned together around baby.  Leaks were unavoidable and when disposables first were brought onto the US market in 1961, it was a "revolution."  Moms were able to trash the poopy diapers and avoid the washing that came with cloth.  No one thought about the repercussions that would come, harming the planet and baby.

Diaper waste adds 3.4 million TONS of waste to landfills every year in the US alone.  The products do not biodegrade, and will be with us on our tiny planet through time.  (And really, I am not trying to sound like some overzealous, nature-loving hippy here - how can you NOT find that amount of unnecessary waste just so sad for our future???)

Disposable diapers contain many chemicals (yes - even the chlorine free ones do).  These diapers can hurt baby's skin, causing diaper rash, yeast build-up and even chemical burns (okay, so I AM one of those all-natural, chemical free hippies).

And so, we return to the cloth that our grandmothers were so eager to get rid of...  With the advancement in technology across the board, even cloth diapering has greatly improved since the 1960s.  No longer are baby's just wearing a prefold with pins (well maybe still around the house), as there are a number of different types of diaper to choose from now.  Babies are in Pockets, All-in-Ones, All-in-Twos, Fitteds, Flats and advanced Prefolds made from organic fibers (but with a cute PUL cover to keep everything dry).  The absorbency is so great that it far exceeds a disposable, and comes free of chemicals.  Babies are sitting in hemp, bamboo, fleece, microfiber and wool!  So much nicer than chlorine and alcohol on baby's skin!!!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

And so we begin!

Hey everyone!  I am starting this blog to encourage all of my friends and colleagues to choose cloth diapers over disposables!  There seems to a be a HUGE baby boom right now among my circle of friends (many of use turned 30 this year - i blame that) and I see so many (well almost all) choosing chemical-filled, rash-causing, chemical-burn inducing disposables!  I used disposables with my first two, not knowing that cloth diapering was actually cost-effective, safer, and MUCH cuter!  It really isn't even that gross, you guys!

So anyway - check back soon for new posts on cloth diapering because hey, we cloth diaper!!!