A yeast infection diaper rash is terrible–it is so painful for the child, and it can be difficult to treat. Yeast rashes can happen when a baby has been pooping frequently, especially when they have been on antibiotics. Yeast can also develop as a secondary infection if a regular diaper rash has gone untreated or the diaper area wasn’t cleaned properly for too long.
You may hear more about yeast infections in the cloth diapering world. But it’s NOT because cloth diapers cause yeast infections! It’s only because yeast is FIERCE and needs to be treated properly. If a baby wears disposable diapers, the diapers just get thrown away and parents don’t need to worry about treating yeast spores left behind on them. However, if you use cloth diapers, you do have that worry. If you don’t make sure most of the yeast is dead and gone, you risk reinfecting the baby with an imbalance again.
So again, cloth diapers do not cause yeast, and cloth diapered babies are not more prone to yeast. Cloth diapering parents just have an extra step to do when it comes to treatment which is why you may hear about yeast rashes more in the cloth diapering world.
What Is A Yeast Rash?
All of us have a natural amount of yeast in our body. It just becomes a problem when we have an imbalance of it.
One way that can manifest in babies is in a diaper rash. A yeast rash is more than just a red butt. It can have raised, pimple-like bumps, make the skin raw & weepy, and last for days. It often shows up in the skin fold of the groin, too, since yeast likes warm, moist environments. Yeast has a tendency to reoccur, especially if you use cloth diapers and don’t treat the diapers.
How Do I Treat A Yeast Rash?
If you think your baby may have a yeast rash, the first thing you need to do is make sure the diaper area is staying clean and dry. Check the diaper frequently and change when needed, or better yet give the baby some diaper-free air time! Air is a great healer. When the baby is wearing a diaper, use a diaper cream as a barrier to protect against wetness.
Next, you will want to call your baby’s doctor/nurse line and see what they recommend. Many doctors will give you a rash cream recipe you can make with over-the-counter products. Other doctors may call in a special prescription cream. Either way, do not skip calling the doctor with a bad rash that doesn’t seem to be getting better. You don’t want your baby to suffer longer with it than he/she needs to!
Can I Still Use Cloth Diapers?
While your baby has a yeast infection, you will need to make a decision about your cloth diapers: do you want to continue using them and just do several courses of treatment, or do you want to switch to disposables until the infection has cleared so you can just treat your diapers once?
Neither answer is wrong. Some may not have a choice as their baby is allergic to disposables and it will only make the rash worse.
Treating Cloth Diapers After Yeast Infection
Bleach is the key to treating your cloth diapers after a yeast infection. I understand not everyone loves bleach, but it is what is going to be most effective. Other more “natural” ways of treating yeast are just not that effective, and you risk reinfecting your baby each time you think you finally got the rash gone.
Yeast is SUCH a pain to deal with–I really recommend you go for the bleach soak straight away.
Here are the steps to a bleach soak. You can do this in your washer, or if your washer doesn’t have the option to soak, in your bathtub.
- Start the washer (or fill the tub) and use cold water. Hot water can deactivate the bleach too quickly.
- Add 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup of bleach (1/4 cup for small load, 1/2 for medium, 3/4 cup for large).
- Agitate (or still in tub) to mix the bleach solution around to dilute it properly.
- Add your diapers.
- Soak for 30 minutes.
- Wash diapers with detergent and with hot water after the soak to break down the bleach.
Going Forward With Cloth
If you choose to continue to use cloth diapers during your child’s yeast outbreak, you should do the following:
1) Use a liner any time you are using prescription diaper creams or other non-cloth safe creams.
2) Add bleach to each wash, and continue to add bleach for at least TWO WEEKS after the rash is gone. Yeast is persistent. You need to treat at least 14 days past the end of the rash. This also goes for disposables if you choose to take a break from cloth–use disposable diapers for at least 14 days past the end of the rash).
You can add the same amount of bleach to each wash as you used for the soak, but the difference will be that you wash on hot, not on cold. That will allow the bleach to break down by the end of the wash cycle.