Using Rash Creams with Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers are supposed to reduce diaper rash, but what happens when your baby does get a rash? Many people say you can’t use diaper creams with cloth diapers, or at least not zinc oxide creams, because they will get stuck to the diapers and cause them to repel moisture instead of absorb it. Well, this post is based on my opinion and experience with this issue. My daughter has sensitive skin and gets rashes easily, we have dealt with this quite a bit. It probably doesn’t line up with the official word from diaper manufacturers on this topic, but I think you may find my experience helpful since it could save you a lot of hassle.
Should You Really Not Use Diaper Creams With Cloth Diapers?
If you’re used to using a mainstream diaper cream such as Desitin, you know what a mess it can make, because your pediatrician will tell you to really glob it on in order to create a barrier to protect baby’s skin. If you’re using cloth diapers, this cream can get all over the inside of your diapers and get stuck to them, causing them to repel moisture. That’s obviously a problem. But here’s the thing: natural diaper creams by brands such as Burt’s Bees or California Baby don’t need to be globbed on like Desitin does, plus I promise you’re going to like the ingredient list a lot better. You rub a little bit into baby’s skin, and it works just the same. Therefore, you don’t end up with cream everywhere.
I have used Burt’s Bees in particular on a regular basis and have never had a single repelling issue in two years of cloth diapering baby girl. I did notice that the cream got stuck to her BumGenius pockets in spots sometimes, but this never seemed to cause an issue for us. My local shop owner told me that even if I could see a white residue from the cream, it didn’t mean I necessarily had a build-up issue and needed to strip my diapers. With prefolds (yay prefolds!) I never had a single issue with cream sticking to my diapers. I imagine this would be true of natural-fiber fitteds as well. It seems to be pocket diaper microfleece linings that creams get stuck to. But again, if you’re using just a very thin layer, this shouldn’t be a problem.
White Creams vs. Clear Creams
Some diaper makers/sellers also make a distinction between zinc oxide diaper creams and clear diaper creams that are olive-oil based, saying zinc oxide is the real thing to avoid here. Zinc oxide is the ingredient that makes white diaper creams white. It works better than clear creams to create a protective barrier on baby’s skin, so many moms like it for clearing up rashes quickly. But if white creams work better than clear creams, what’s a mama to do? Clear creams never cut it for us when baby girl had a bad rash. They just dissolve the moment she pees. Well, some moms use fleece or disposable diaper liners between baby’s skin and their diaper every time they use rash cream, particularly zinc oxide cream. But this can be a hassle and can get expensive if you use the disposables often. If you are worried about zinc oxide build-up and you want to use this kind of cream, the best thing I can tell you is to try Burt’s Bees cream (which sticks to baby’s skin better than any other brand I have tried, and only kids allergic to bee stings should avoid it because of its beeswax content) and just use a little to rub into baby’s skin, then use a liner on top of that if you want to.
I hope this helps clear up some confusion. I’d love to hear about your favorite rash creams in comments. BB may be my favorite, but I’m always trying new products too. Happy diapering!