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Sunday, October 3, 2010

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Got Yeast?

Solving a Yeast Diaper Rash with Cloth Diapers
When my son got his third ear infection by six months of age, our pediatrician decided that the normal amoxicillin routine wasnʼt going to cut it anymore. He prescribed a stronger antibiotic which did completely clear up the infection, but unfortunately also gave my son a terrible yeast infection. At first I wasnʼt sure what the raised red spots were, and by the time I had done some internet searching and saw pictures that looked exactly like what he had, the rash had grown and gotten a little out of hand.

All the cures I read about involved more prescriptions, more creams, more things that I couldnʼt use with my cloth diapers. I am committed to cloth diapering, but I donʼt want my fun hobby (isnʼt that why we all do this??) to go so far as to interfere with what my son needed to cure this rash. However, we had just moved and didnʼt have a pediatrician yet in our new town to give a prescription. Plus I was just a little sick of all the prescriptions weʼd given him already with his other issues and I was ready for a natural cure.

Yeast thrive in a certain environment and if you can change that environment to be less hospitable, they die. So how to kill them?? (Cue the release of mama bear.)

Four key elements to our fight against the yeast:
  1. 1. Probiotics. By introducing “good bacteria” back into his system, it helped his body fight the yeast on its own. I found a brand at Whole Foods that is specially formulated for children and has age-appropriate dosing information. For my seven month old son, we gave him 1/2 tsp once a day, mixed in with his food. He also willingly took it off of my finger, but that was more time consuming.
  2. Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE): This is a natural antimicrobial concentrate that you must dilute before using on babiesʼ skin. I used it in a wipe solution - 10 drops per 1/4 cup of water. I got the wipes really saturated so that there would be plenty of GSE getting to his skin with each diaper change. Itʼs important to air dry the skin before putting on the next diaper. (Incidentally, this is how my son learned to blow through pursed lips! He saw mama doing it a lot!)
  3. Tea Tree Oil: Also a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent. We tried adding it to his bath water, but it didnʼt really do much other than make the whole upstairs of our house smell very medicinal. Ultimately what worked best was adding about 10 drops to the wipes solution and then applying 2-3 drops directly to the rash itself with each diaper change. Put the drops onto your finger tips, and then rub into the skin. Also allow to dry before putting on the new diaper. There shouldnʼt be any oily feeling to the skin, or else you might cause wicking on your diapers.
  4. Sunlight and Air: Yeast loves dark, moist places, so bring on the breeze. We joked about “where the sun donʼt shine” actually getting some sunlight! Most mothers are so afraid of the sunʼs rays touching their baby that the idea of putting your baby in direct sunlight unprotected by sunscreen is shocking! I only gave him a couple of minutes at a time, legs spread out and rash exposed, in direct sun each day. Then I let him hang around inside without a diaper for an hour or two in the afternoons. Some instructions said to not put any diaper on for several days, but that wasnʼt practical for us at the time.
Another very important element to fighting a yeast rash while using cloth diapers is to kill all the yeast that might have been transferred the cloth itself. You can put 10-20 drops of GSE into the wash and add vinegar to the rinse. I got sort of desperate and it made my conscience feel better to add 1-2 capfuls of bleach instead. But check to make sure you wonʼt void the warranty on your diapers by doing that. Also, use very hot water in the second wash and of course the cloth diapering mamaʼs best friend: line drying in direct sunlight!

Diaper rashes should be treated according to your pediatrician's recommendations. Before using any type of product to clean your diapers we recommend checking with the manufacturer of the product to be sure it is safe to use.

By Stephanie G.


annmetts said...

Some things I have found helpful: for ear infections, you could try a couple drops of onion oil/juice in the ear instead of antibiotics. Onion oil is a natural antibiotic and helps relieve the pain as well. Also, for the yeast, eliminating sugar and simple carbs in your little ones diet helps since sugar is food for yeast. Are you nursing him still?

The Alakaby's said...

Great blog! I love hearing about natural solutions! Thanks!

Lauren said...

stay dry liners helped a TON with my newborn's yeast.

TopHat said...

What worked for our son in his yeast rash was lavender oil straight on his bum. We didn't need a carrier oil because lavender is so mild.

Andrea said...

Thanks so much for the blog! I am dealing with it now and it is driving me crazy! How long did you do the probiotics until he got better?

Sarah said...

I would have loved this a couple of months ago. My son had a yeast infection and it took me almost a month to get my diapers back. So glad to read and know for next time.

Sarah Schulz said...

My son hasn't had yeast yet but I have used tea tree on my own yeast infection! It does keep coming back but honestly I don't think anything will cure it for good. Tea tree is wonderful though, so many uses!

Anonymous said...

I used TTO with my diapers when my daughter had a yeast rash last month, along with the prescription cream (in disposables temporarily). Now the rash is back...will it never go away? Curious if other mamas beat the yeast for good. Possible TMI, but it seems like she gets a yeast rash right after a large poo- if it is not changed ASAP- that has happened both times. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I use CJ's All Natural Yeast Formula and it works wonders for our yeast problems!

Kimberly said...

effulgent, I just started treatment on my daughters yeast rash but I've noticed coconut oil works really well. Maybe once you finish treatment or between treat you could put it on during every diaper change. I have been using it with cloth diapers and haven't had any repellent issues. Hope this helps!