Diaper rash. Something every little one is probably going to experience at least once in their diaper wearing lifetime. And, if you’re a mom I’m sure you know, it is no fun for anyone. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to deal with my first bout of rashiness until my son was almost 1! We had gone on a long roadtrip, and sure enough, before we made it back home it had begun to spread pretty bad. I did use Penaten in the beginning. My mom (and most moms from her generation I think) swear by it. But it didn’t work very well for me at all. The rash lingered. My son had his 1 year well baby visit soon after so I showed it to the doctor, and she said it looked like it could be a yeast rash and to try using the over the counter yeast infection cream I would use for myself. Well, I don’t use it and I wasn’t about to use it on my son if I could find a better alternative. So, I set off on a hunt for some natural alternatives for treating the yeast (and regular) diaper rash. I am happy to say that it was fairly easy and the options are pretty diverse. So, instead of detailing my journey, I’m just going share with you what I found has worked out best for my son and I!
1. Coconut oil – virgin, unrefined is best. This is a great alternative for Vaseline as a moisture barrier and awesome for minor rashes. Mix a bit of topical grade vitamin E in with it and it works even better! And, it’s cloth diaper friendly. But, if you do mix in the vitamin E don’t let your little one get it in his mouth as that type of vitamin E is not meant to be ingested. If you have a pretty fantastic rash to deal with though, I find you’ll need to use some other tactics as well.
2. I’m sure you’ve heard it before but I’m going to say it again – let them have lots of, what we call in our house, naked bum time! Let them have at least 15 minutes a day, and let their bums dry after being wiped before putting that clean diaper on.
3. Natural fibres (my favourite is hemp)!! If you cloth diaper, and this is an option for you (I’m in no way saying run out and buy more diapers!) use natural fibres. I have a lot of info and opinions about natural vs synthetic (I sewed all my own diapers and used both!) and if you ever wanted to have a discussion or ask questions I’d love to chat with you! But, for today, I will make just one point. Polyester is a petroleum product – not eco-friendly at all. I know it’s hard to get away from it when cloth diapering, and obviously cloth diapering is much better for the environment (and baby’s bottom) either way, but I like to keep my use of synthetics to a minimum i.e. only in the covers. Natural fibres breathe and this is oh so important when it comes to treating and keeping that nasty rash away. If you have wool covers use them as much as you can while the rash is around!
4. Don’t use throw away wipes – at all if you can. If you do use them, try to get ones without alcohol as it can not only be painful on baby’s bum, but it also dries out the skin and aggravates rashes.
5. Use a cloth wipe solution that contains antibacterial and/or anti-fungal essential oils with your wipes. Zany Zebra has several nice ones to try here. I make the Olive n’ Tea Tree Oil solution. Once I’ve mixed it up I store it in glass jars. I dilute it down to 3:1 water to solution and it still works great. I use it periodically rash or not (I basically alternate with pure water back and forth) and to be honest, since I started using it my son hasn’t had a single diaper rash so it must work pretty well!
6. Finally, Apple Cider Vinegar (organic with the ‘mother’) and raw garlic are an amazing defense for yeast rashes. Crush one raw clove of garlic with 2 tbsp of ACV into 1 cup of hot (not boiling) water. Let it sit for at least half an hour before using. You’ll want to store it in something with a wide mouth. After you’ve cleaned your little one’s bum you pat the solution on to the rash with a cloth. Let it dry a bit before putting on the diaper. The garlic and ACV help kill the yeast. It will eventually start to dry out baby’s bum though, so I like to alternate each diaper change with coconut oil.
There are so many more safe and effective alternatives (sometimes more so than the ‘traditional’ routes) than the ones I’ve listed here. What are some of your go to treatments for diaper rash?
-Written by Nicole