My Green Nappy Discovering Modern Cloth Nappies and Eco-Friendly Disposable Nappies

February 28, 2011

Rash Decisions – Why Does Using Cloth Nappies Help Prevent Nappy Rash?

Nappy Rash. We Want to Keep Our Baby’s Bottom Free of Nappy Rashes!

Lots of Mums switch to cloth to prevent nappy rash- why does it help? How can modern nappies make a difference?

First of all, here is a snippet of information taken from My Green Nappy Guide Part 5:

Some startling information about nappy rash:

Comparing rates of nappy rash between 1955 and 1991.

In 1955, 100% of American babies wore cotton diapers, 0% wore disposables, and 7.1% experienced diaper rash.

In 1991, 10% of American babies wore cotton diapers, 90% wore disposables, and 78% experienced diaper rash.

This is effectively comparing cloth to disposable nappies. (They are called ‘diapers’ in America) So, what’s the story here? One of the great myths is that disposables prevent nappy rash as they are drying. These figures seem to dispute that! Of course there are a number of factors at work – such as how often they are changed, as disposables are often changed a lot less, either due to their cost or the fact that they are so waterproof they can simply be left on for hours, increasing the chances of the warm, moist conditions and prolonged exposure to bacteria that are one cause of nappy rashes. It is something to ponder and share, that’s for sure!

Sources:  Journal of Pediatrics 1959, Vol 54 pp. 793-800 “Relationship of Peri-Anal Dermititis to Fecel pH” by Drs. Tamio, Steiner, Benjamin. Clinical Pediatrics May 1991, Vol 30 Department of Internal Medicine & Pedriatrics, Loyola University Medical Ctr. “Newborn Chemical Exposure from over-the-counter Skin-Care Products” by Drs. Cetta, Lambert, & Ross

For today’s topic we’ve asked our Nappy WAHM’s the question: Why Does Using Cloth Nappies Help Prevent Nappy Rash?

I’m pleased to have contributions from many friends of My Green Nappy included in this article. We have Emma from Brindabella Baby, Melinda from Avanappy, Mel from Little Para PantsLouise from Scamps BoutiqueEva from Oz Baby Trends, Inge from Earth KidzKyra of Bubbalooba, Cassandra from New Age Nappies, Annette from Iish Fly, Michelle from Issy Bear NappiesAlisha from Baby Safari, Cindy from Ticklefish TotsAshley from Cheeky Creations, Carli from MiniLaLa, Tracey from Flattery, Bec from Baby Chilli, Kelleigh from Miracle Baby, Julie from Cloth For Comfort, Chris froBaby Bullfrogs, Kate from Nappy DaysSasha from Green Kids, Michelle from Sustainable Hemp Products, Karen from Baby Blossom.

Let’s see what they have to say:

“Lots of mums switch to cloth to prevent nappy rash- why does it help?”

Emma Davidson of Brindabella Baby:

I do tend to change cloth nappies more often than disposable. They’re just as absorbent, but I don’t see that I’m wasting money by doing a nappy change that maybe isn’t really necessary.

My third baby also got excema from synthetic materials and the chemicals in disposable wipes. And putting him in a cloth nappy with no waterproof cover means more airflow, reducing the amount of nappy free time he needs to stay rash-free.

Melinda of Avanappy:

No nasty chemicals to aggravate the rash.
Mel of Little Para Pants:
Lots of nasty chemicals in disposables.  This was made apparent to me once again while we were on holidays and using a supposedly ‘green’ disposable nappy brand – my son broke out in a rash as soon as he started wearing them, and complained ‘hurt’ every time we tried to wipe him.

Louise of Scamps Boutique, NZ:

The microfleece is a stay dry layer which keeps the skin dry.
Eva of Oz Baby Trends:
I think it helps because they are changed more frequently.
Inge of Earth Kidz:

No chemicals, more changes so the urine cannot get through in babies skin.

Cassandra of New Age Nappies:

More breathable and less chemicals.

Annette of Iish Fly:

I find that natural fabrics help the skin breathe, as well as MCN mums tend to not be so worried about cleaning up little messes so give bubs nappy free time, and are more aware of EC’ing . I think also MCN mums change the babies a lot more often, as they are not designed like some of the top brand disposables which are used as endless pee pools which will hold a whole day’s worth of wee.

Michelle of Issy Bear Nappies:

No chemicals in modern cloth nappies

Cindy from Ticklefish Tots:

For me, my 4th child developed a severe reaction to the absorbent gels contained within disposables, and this gel constantly coated his entire nappy region, causing not only a nasty red rash, but severe discomfort as well. The switch to cloth was a no-brainer. I guess, being more natural helps. 🙂

Ashley of Cheeky Creations:

There are no chemicals and they breathe.

Carli from MiniLaLa:

Some babies can be sensitive to the chemicals in ‘sposies’, or the chemical absorbency can be drying and cause rash. Cloth nappies, and particularly bamboo nappies, can be fantastic in the prevention of rash. Bamboo is great for excema sufferers too because of it’s antibacterial nature. It is always important to remember to change nappies frequently (every 2-3 hours) to ensure that baby is always nice and dry, regardless of which style of nappy you use.

Tracey from Flattery:

Natural fibres touching the skin and breathability.

Bec from Baby Chilli:

It’s more breathable and softer against their skin.

Chris from Baby Bullfrogs:

Not having any of those unnatural, nasty chemicals near bubbas precious, delicate skin.

With cloth you’re inclined to change bubba’s nappy more regularly.

Kate from Nappy Days:

Less chemical reactions going on inside the nappy.

Alisha of Baby Safari:

Cloth is more breathable than a plastic disposable nappies. Also because they are reusable people maybe don’t feel like they have to leave them on as long to get the best value out of them before they are tossed away either?

Michelle from Sustainable Hemp Products:

Using natural fibres with lower textile and other chemicals.

Karen from Baby Blossom:

Simple is better. You know what is in your cloth nappies. You know how you wash them. It surprises me how many parents wonder why their child has nappy rash in disposable or will go on a quest to find out which disposable they don’t react too. With all the chemicals in disposable nappies I am surprised that the nappy rash isn’t worse.

3 Suggested Resources about preventing, healing and curing nappy rash:

  1. study showing less rash with cloth nappies
  2. Caring for Your Baby’s Skin and Bottom…
  3. Daily Nappy Free Time: A potty break can reduce the risk of nappy rash.

– Our Nappy Experts –

Discover Expert Advice About The Modern Cloth Nappy – Information About Modern Cloth Nappies – Advice About Frequently Asked Cloth ‘Newbie’ Questions – Lots of Tips and Tricks to Help You With Your Reusable Nappies – Learn From the Experts in Cloth Nappies –

Discover More from Our Nappy Experts…

A comment question for you about nappy rash:

What’s ONE thing you do or use to prevent, treat, minimise or avoid nappy rash?

Are you registered to play in our regular nappy giveaways?
Be sure to sign up to have your chance to WIN a free modern cloth nappy for your baby!

Thank you to My Green Nappy’s Sponsoring Partners:

1 Comment »

  1. I was APPALLED to see the awful chemical/ammonia scalds that ran down a British baby’s legs from a ”burst nappy”- as a mum many years ago, I did use disposable nappies, as we didn’t have a washing machine, and nappies then were towelling and big. But nowadays disposables are way too absorbent, and have strange jelly in them. What is gross, some foxes dragged some disposables in to our garden, and I was disgusted that the mother of that baby had let the disposables get extremely full.
    I am sure the chemicals in them make for lazy parenting, as no way would the oldstyle nappies be able to hold enough poo or wee to ”burst” causing severe scalding! – the baby was actually taken into care temporarily as the scalds were so bad. But looking online, ”nappy burst” is common! Cloth nappies are so much better for a baby and the environment. The scalds caused by bursting disposables are truly shocking.

    Comment by Catherine — August 4, 2013 @ 5:04 am

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