Nappy Rash and Modern Cloth Nappies

January 28, 2022
Nappy Rash and Modern Cloth Nappies
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Let's Talk MCN: Nappy Rash and Modern Cloth Nappies

Some people say that using MCN (modern cloth nappies) causes nappy rash, while they are half correct, MCN is not always the root issue. Today on Let's Talk, we're delving into the causes, and ways to fix, Nappy Rash in MCN use.


Excess Moisture
With young infants, their skin is often a little more sensitive than adult skin, meaning excess moisture will cause irritation in the genital area. This happens when there is too much time between nappy changes, or lack of a stay dry layer in your shell or sewn into your inserts. A fabric like athletic wicking jersey (AWJ), or microfleece will help in keeping the area next to your child's skin drier and irritation free.

Enzymes from Faecal Matter
Poo is another big irritant for little bottoms, as the enzymes found in faeces (which aid in the digestion and breakdown of food products) can start to break down the skin of your child's genital area. This is why changing the nappy as soon as you know they need changing is beneficial to preventing nappy rash.

Acidic Faeces, and Food Reactions
Speaking of enzymes, food reactions due to allergies and intolerances are another big cause of nappy rash. As these poos often happen after 2 hours of exposure (non-IgE reactions), the presence of undigested stomach acids, excess enzymes, and mucous can irritate the genital area.

Acidic poos may also be caused by teething. In my research there is no conclusive evidence into this issue, at this stage all evidence is anecdotal. Some children may experience this phenomenon, but not all. It is my opinion that the enzymes found in saliva contribute to this occurrence, but as I am not a doctor, nor can I find any medical journals to back this up, I cannot conclude this to be the case. However, healthline  (an American health information site reviewed by MDs) says that hypersalivation can cause a number of gastric symptoms, including diarrhoea. I could not find any Australian medical research to back up this claim.

A good layer of barrier cream at each cloth nappy change can help reduce the amount of inflammation caused by these poos.

Ammonia Burn
Another contributor to nappy rash is ammonia. As mentioned in our blog "Cleaning Cloth Nappies", ammonia is a chemical found in urine and an excess of it in your inserts can cause a sunburn like rash in the nappy area. A good wash routine will help prevent excess ammonia from forming, and a diluted bleach sanitise will remove any ammonia already there. A barrier cream will help the affected area heal without more irritation.

When your elastics get too saturated, they can cause a rash like welt from friction, similar to chafe. Changing sooner than you usually do, or adding extra absorption can help prevent this from occurring.

Yeast and Fungal Infection
This requires a doctors diagnosis, and medicinal creams. Once diagnosed, all fabrics used next to the exposed bacteria need to be sanitised to prevent reinfection.

Learn all about cloth nappies in our modern cloth nappies guide or shop cloth nappies from our extensive range of styles from 16+ brands.

Selection of nappy rash balms/creams is available in our B Eco Family Shop.

written by @morganaveril.mcn

Special thanks to @the_adventures_of_the_es and @engineermumma

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