Which Diaper Creams Are Safe for Cloth Diapers?
You've spent a lot of time and effort deciding which cloth diapers are right for your baby. The very last thing you want to do is slather baby's bum with a diaper cream that ends up ruining them. So what do you need to know about diaper creams to choose one that is cloth diaper safe?
Ingredients to avoid
Petroleum: Petroleum products make up the base of most diaper creams because it creates a waterproof layer between baby's bum and any pee that may irritate it. However, it will do the same to cloth diapers - create a repelling layer on top of the diaper, preventing it from absorbing like it should. This will quickly lead to leaks, which no one likes.
Zinc oxide: The jury is out on whether or not zinc is completely safe for cloth diapers, and if it is not, exactly what damage it will cause. Some sources say it will coat fibers and lead to leaking in the same way as petroleum, while others say it will just lead to staining. Either way, I recommend avoiding creams containing zinc, as there are other products that work just as well without any potential problems.
Cloth Diaper Safe Creams
Most cloth diaper safe creams contain ingredients such as natural oils (coconut, olive) and beeswax. These wash out of fibers much more readily than petroleum-based products. The most basic cloth diaper safe cream that you may already have in your home is coconut oil. A thin layer of this works beautifully to soothe baby's skin and protect against irritation.
We carry several cloth diaper safe creams here at Bumbini. I can't honestly pick a favourite, as I have used them all on my super sensitive babies (as well as my own extremely dry hands!) and have loved them all. All of the products we carry are listed at the bottom of this blog post, and all come with my personal thumbs up.
When do you need to use a diaper cream?
Friends and family of mine who use disposable diapers seem to need to spread a thick layer of cream on their baby's bum at every diaper change, or they wind up with a nasty diaper rash. In my experience with cloth diapers, this has never been necessary. At most times, a diaper cream has not been necessary.
There are times though that I have used one, mostly as a preventative measure. When my kids started sleeping through the night (hallelujah!!) they sometimes woke up in the morning with red bums from being in the same diaper for 10-12 hours. At this point, I started using a thin layer of a cloth diaper safe cream when I put their nighttime diaper on, and it kept their bums nice and healthy.
Other times I find a cream helpful is when their bum is getting irritated due to factors like teething or frequent pooping. To keep them from getting red and irritated, I temporarily use a cream at each diaper change.
If your baby is getting frequent rashes and you feel you need a cream constantly, it may be time to do some troubleshooting. There are lots of different causes for bum rashes, including yeast infection, diapers not getting completely clean, sensitivity to wetness or detergent and so many more. If you are experiencing rashes, you are welcome to contact me and help you identify a possible cause. I also highly recommend booking an appointment with your doctor in case the rash is something that needs special treatment.
HELP!! Someone used a non-cloth diaper safe cream on my diapers!!
Don't panic - it isn't the end of the world. Huge repelling problems usually only occur if the cream is used often, or if big gobs of it are left on the diaper, which is unlikely to happen if just a thin layer is used on baby's bum. That said, your diapers may need some extra attention to make sure you don't run into problems.
The best remedy (as much fun as it sounds) is to scrub the areas with rash cream on them with Blue Dawn and a toothbrush. Why Blue Dawn? Have you ever seen the Dawn commercials with oil slick affected birds being washed in Dawn? It is because it is excellent at removing petroleum. Give the diapers a good scrubbing, and then rinse them well before washing them in your machine. Dawn is very bubbly, so if you don't rinse well before washing, you could cause problems with your washing machine.
Other diaper cream tips
A thin layer of rash cream is usually sufficient - no need to layer it on like you are painting a fence. To further protect your diapers, using a liner is a great idea. Reusable fleece liners placed between baby's bum and the diaper will protect the surface of the diaper from the cream, while still allowing moisture through into the diaper below. They also have the added benefit of keeping baby feeling dry, which will also help prevent irritation.