Stinky Baby Boy and a Stubborn Rash

May 14, 2013


{guest post}

I have had the pleasure of cloth diapering all of my children at one point in their lives.

My oldest, Sydney, was cloth diapered using a diaper service in the spring of 2009 when she was 22 months old, this didn’t end well and we were back in disposables about 6 weeks later.

My second daughter was born in June of 2010, and at the age of 2 months she started having all kinds of skin issues. At four months she went to a dermatologist who told us that she had chemical burns from disposables, a yeast infection, severe eczema in the diaper area, and it was all infected. We left the doctor’s office and went straight to our local Cotton Babies and started looking at cloth diapers. We never had another issue with chemical burns, yeast or infection. But that darn eczema didn’t want to leave.  It was finally resolved when she was almost two-years-old, and potty trained. After Audrey I pretty much thought I had this cloth diapering thing figured out.

Then, we had our first son on April 5th, 2012, and Zachary changed how I cloth diapered. With Audrey getting the stink out of our diapers was very easy and I never had any problem. When Zachary was born I discovered something I hadn’t ever had to deal with previously; my baby’s pee was really stinky.

For the first time I was having very stinky issues!

My husband would comment about how badly they stunk and eventually we had to add TWO hot water washes to the normal washing routine. At first I added prettier smelling detergent, and while that made the diapers smell better, it wasn’t taking away the biggest problem.  It was just masking it. As soon as Zachary peed the stink was back, and it was much worse! (Those two additional washes do not have any soap in them. This was luckily an inexpensive solution.)

A few weeks ago we had to take Zachary to the doctor to find out about his stubborn diaper rash. Turned out he had a bacterial infection and a yeast infection. The instructions were to put him in disposables for a week while we treated it with antibacterial creams, and then to bleach the diapers in hot boiling water.

I chose to treat his infections with the prescriptions, which made the infections stop, but he still had this lingering rash. It wasn’t infected anymore, it was just pink. It wasn’t raised, it wasn’t open, it wasn’t bleeding. But it was just there. After washing all the diapers I soaked them in hot water with Tea Tree Oil.

To help get rid of his lingering rash we have started adding coconut oil to his bum, as well as making a paste out of breast milk and baking soda (you could substitute the breast milk with water if you are no longer breast feeding) along with making sure he has a nice strong, thick barrier on him bum before he goes to bed (we prefer Grandma El’s.) When he first wakes up in the morning I put corn starch on Zachary’s bum to help absorb any extra moister.

All of these remedies are cloth diaper safe, relatively inexpensive, and all things I had around the house. And I’m excited to see that “the lingering” is starting to fade.

Have you struggled with severe rashes on your little one?

, , ,

About Samantha Thyme Sherman

Samantha Thyme Sherman is a stay-at-home mama to three beautiful blessings that she named Sydney (5 years), Audrey (2 years), and Zachary (1 year.) She lives in the Pacific Northwest, and adores the rain. She started cloth diapering in 2010 when Audrey had severe eczema in the diaper area and has been passionate about it ever since.

View all posts by Samantha Thyme Sherman

11 Responses to “Stinky Baby Boy and a Stubborn Rash”

  1. Caitlin Says:

    I’ve been having a rash problem with my daughter for about two months now, and we’ve been using disposables because of it. She keeps getting a rash in the area where most of the pee would go, for a girl, it’s not on her bottom really. I’ve tried using a regular detergent to get a deep clean; adding washing soda; adding vinegar; adding more of my regular CD detergent (country save); and doing additional hot washes; and disinfecting with GSE. Nothing has worked. Does anyone have suggestions? I hate that she’s been in disposables so much :-( but I don’t want her to continue to have a bad rash. We use pockets with microfiber. The rash can appear overnight, and at one time got so bad after days of exposure to CDs that she actually had some skin peel while it was healing.


    • Beth Says:

      When we had a bad yeasty rash first we treated with monistat 7 and coconut oil. The infection went away but he still had a terrible scabby rash. From the advice from a pharmacist, we stopped the Monistat(he said that the infection should be gone by then) and he gave us a compounding lotion to use. I’m sure that any good lotion would work that gives a good barrier. He told us to change his diaper every hour and wash the area with a mild soap and lukewarm water, let him dry completely, and add the lotion. He said that it doesn’t matter if he is in disposables or cloth. he had been in disposables for about a week and I was sick of it and switched back to just prefolds-no covers. You change the diaper so often that you don’t need a cover except at naps and night. I only used wool for maximum air flow. After washing his diaper area, I would let him air out sometimes up to an hour, but mostly about 15 min. The rash cleared up so fast. It was completely gone with in a week.

      A few things to note, if you are breastfeeding, you may have an infection that you are passing on to your daughter and you don’t know it. That is what went on for about a month and a half with me and my son before I knew what it was. I didn’t know that I had a yeast and bacterial infection until it broke out very bad. I had to treat myself as well. My infection was caused by birth control. Antibiotics can cause it and just having a baby leaves you vulnerable.

      If it is yeast, don’t use corn starch baby powder because the yeast feeds on it. using bleach is enough to kill off most infections. Your baby probably does not have an infection that bleach cannot kill. If she did you would have a lot more problems than diaper rash. But, bleach does irritate baby skin. Whenever I have used bleach, first I let it soak in the bleach for a long time to make sure that it penetrates everything. Second, I do at least 3 hot rinses and then let the diapers soak in hot water all night. This is the only way that has worked well enough to get out the bleach so that it doesn’t give my boy a rash.

      Another thing, if their is an oily layer on the diaper from poo, creams, whatever, the bleach will not be able to reach that part of the diaper. If this is the case, you need to remove the oily residue for the bleach to work. If you use just a tablespoon of dawn with 1/4 of bleach in hot water and let it soak for a long time, like over night, this should get rid of all the nastiness and stains, too. Oh, she also may be having a reaction to the microfiber. I’ve heard that some babies get rashes from it. This was long, sorry. I hope some of it helps.


  2. Janet Small Says:

    As for the rash, consider keeping him diaper free to air and sun out a bit also. I like to take my 10 week old to potty after her first feeding for the day (normally when she poops)and would then put a ptrefold under her on a mat.


  3. Lisa Says:

    We have gone through something similar as well. I found my nighttime fitteds were really strong smelling like ammonia in the morning and just didn’t seem to be getting clean enough. We were using mostly microfiber inserts in our pockets. My son (who I had cloth diapered from birth) from about 11 months started getting pretty bad recurring red, raw rashes. We had to also make sure to catch poo immediately and change or it was infinitely worse. We were going through tons of CD safe diaper rash creams. I have pretty much always used Country Save detergent, but I found that FINALLY adding a 1/2 cup of Arm&Hammer Super Washing Soda has really solved the rash problem (btw, I can usually only find this at our local Ace Hardware). We have really hard water and I think detergent alone just was not getting the diapers clean enough. I have never done any bleach washes at all. I chalk getting rid of the stink to the Arm&Hammer (which I add to my hot wash with detergent). The rest of the my wash routine is the same as it’s always been – cold cycle rinse; hot cycle wash with detergent and Arm&Hammer; cold cycle follow up to fully rinse all detergents/bacteria/whatever else lingers. Secondly, we switched to all bamboo inserts from Sunbabies and I think that has also really helped in the long run, but I have no proof of that. I hope these tips can help some other little raw baby’s bums.


  4. Abbi Says:

    Jenny S, I have heard 2 things that might help. One is that microfiber is sometimes stinkier than cotton, and the other is that sunning the diapers can be very helpful to eliminate bacteria. I also use vinegar in my first hot wash to cut the ammonia, which maybe you’re not supposed to do but it seems to help. I live in Ohio, so the ability to sun the diapers right now is hit or miss, but during the summer I will definitely be getting them outside! Good luck with your stinkies!


  5. Eunice Says:

    My son is having a bout of red rashes. It was bad a few days ago and it was red, a little raw, peeling and all over! I used breast milk and its looking better on the 3rd day now.. He gets red rashes very often while during cloth diapers.


  6. Jenny S Says:

    HELP ME!!
    Oh my! I have just recently discovered that ammonia can build up in diapers as well as soap etc. I had no idea that could happen until just about 2 weeks ago. The only build up that I had ever heard about was soap and bum cream build ups that can make your diapers non-absorbant. I had never had that issue so I thought I was doing AOK. WRONG! About 6 months into cloth diapering my son, his urine (so I thought) turned SUPER stinky…like strong ammonia! :( I thought maybe it was because I started feeding him solids at that point. I continued to think perhaps he just had strong urine till FINALLY 13 months into my cloth diapering journey I came across a mother who was talking about the ammonia build-ups in her diapers and how she had to strip them because of it. (LIGHT BULB) I had never heard something like that before! So, I got two different kinds of “strippers”: RLR and Mighty Bubbles by Grovia (which were highly recommended esp for ammonia build-ups). ——— I stripped and stripped and stripped my diapers. In fact, there’s a load in the wash now for the 5th stripping!!! I’m definatlely stopping after 5! That’s way too much! But my HUGE concern is, what if it doesn’t work even after 5?? (cause they still stunk after the 3rd) What am I going to do? Are my diapers wrecked? Should I bleach them like you wrote about in this post?? I always thought that bleaching was not a great idea…? Is there another alternative? HELP!! — Keep in mind, I NEVER stripped my diapers in the 13 months I’ve used them. they don’t stink before my baby pees…only after. But I know its not just his urine cause I put a newer prefold on him and it just smelled like normal peepee. Is it possible that my microfiber inserts just hold ickies more than prefolds? (the majority of my diapers are pockets with microfiber inserts) Anyway, all this is to say that I need help! Can someone please give me suggestions?? THANKS!! :)


    • Julia Says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your troubles. Hopefully my experience with my little boy can help you. I have cloth diapered him for about two and a half years and have had to deal with some different problem smells… For the the strong ammonia smell I added some vinegar to the normal wash, maybe three times or so and I haven’t really noticed a problem with it since. I know that vinegar is not recommended with hard water (which we have) but it worked anyway so it might be worth experimenting with. Also I use pockets and pre-folds and I think the microfiber for the pockets really holds onto the stink more. That being said, my magic cure all for everything is the sun! It really helps to get all the stains out but it also really gets the rest of the funk out of my diapers too, or keeps it at bay anyway:). All that being said, I think that you are safe to bleach the inserts if you want to do that. Also, some diaper makers (bumgenius) recommend a little bleach each month in the hot wash cycle for the whole diaper, although most cd makers discourage it. Best of luck!


    • Trisha W. Says:

      bumGenius actually suggests doing a bleach load each month. I don’t think you’ll have to do that monthly, but I do know a bleach wash has knocked ammonia out of our diapers in the past. Sunning them can also help. Good luck.


      • Trisha W. Says:

        Also, if you can make the time it helps to rinse/squeeze/rinse repeat all night diapers or inserts to help get the ammonia salts out. If you can soak or spray the day time ones that can help as well.


Leave a Reply

Pin It on Pinterest

Sharing is caring!