Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Battling the Beast that is Yeast

As a woman, it's a horrible word to come across in daily life, and as a cloth diapering parent, it's like a monster that has come in to scare your child in the middle of the night. You want to protect your baby from this monster, but if you're not careful, the monster will continue to torment your child for months and months.

I don't remember when the beast first showed it's ugly head at our house, but I do know it stuck around for awhile. I believe it was sometime around 4-6 months and the doctor diagnosed it at a well check. Now, it didn't look like people's pictures of yeast rashes online-it wasn't bumpy, just red and mostly in her fat rolls. Before we went for the well check, I just thought it was just a rash. She's my first (and if my husband has his way my only) child and of course I turned to my favorite source for parenting advice: Google. I found pictures of rashes and ideas to naturally cure them. I didn't want to just go out and buy any old cream since most aren't safe with cloth diapers. I decided on lots of air time since my baby loves to be naked anyway, and we have mostly tile in our house so it's easy clean up. Another suggestion was using cornstarch and that's handy, so I used that. 

The rash would seem to go away, but kept coming back. When the doctor did diagnose it, she prescribed a cream. Crap! Now I had to use sposies because this cream wasn't cloth diaper safe. The doctor said to use the cream for a couple of days after the rash completely disappeared to make sure it was gone for good. We followed the doctor's orders and after a week of disposable diapers, we switched back to cloth. Slowly, but surely, that ugly yeast came back. I finally had to go to my source for all things cloth diapers: the cloth diaper board on Babycenter. I found great links and suggestions on how to kill yeast in your diapers. DUH! I wasn't doing that. I didn't know the yeast stayed in the diapers. Disgusting. I was the one bringing back the monster. 

It was time to kill it off for good.

The first thing I did was simple: I turned my water heater up as high as it would go. Most sites suggest over 120*. 

Next I headed to Walmart. I bought the cheap LouAnn Coconut Oil found in the baking aisle. A lot of people buy organic because it smells great and, well, it's organic, but in a pinch, this was easily accessible and cheap. I use coconut oil as a rash cream at every diaper change now because I feel like it's a preventative. Plus, cleaning poo off her bum is much easier w/ a nice oiled bottom!

Because I wanted to make sure I killed the yeast in the diapers, I also bought some Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) on Amazon. I don't know of anywhere local that sells it, and since we have Amazon Prime, it was the best solution for us. While I was browsing Amazon, they suggested I also buy BioKleen-a detergent with GSE and orange peel in it. I looked at reviews and most were from cloth diapering parents. I added it to my cart. When the items arrived, I set off for the laundry room.


I always do a cold rinse on my diapers first to get any yuckies off and out and to help prevent stains. Once the rinse is finished I do a hot wash-this time I put the washer on the sanitary setting. I used about a tablespoon of the liquid BioKleen detergent in my top loader, and I added about 30 drops of the GSE in the rinse cycle. When the load was done I dried my diapers outside. There are conflicting suggestions about whether the sun will kill yeast. I don't think it does since I always sun my diapers and the yeast obviously stayed in them, but it can't hurt. 

I also decided to start adding GSE to my wipe solution which had previously been just water. Anything else really irritated Baby J's bum. Approximately 10 drops of GSE to 1 cup of water is what I used. It was winter here, so I had my wipe warmer on and I believe this helped the yeast to grow. Now that it's summer, I just use it to store my wipes and have it unplugged. I haven't had to add GSE to the wipes since I unplugged it. 

I haven't seen a yeast rash break out since I began this routine. I never had to switch to sposies while killing off the yeast. I still give Baby J naked time probably once a day. I have switched back to Country Save as my everyday diapering detergent, but I still add GSE to each rinse cycle. Normally, I wash my diapers on the normal cycle with a cold rinse and a hot wash. You do not want to always use the sanitary cycle because your diapers will break down faster using such high temperatures on them.

Another little bit of insight I want to share: Do not use cornstarch on yeast-it makes it grow. I learned that the hard way. Also, commercial wipes have chemicals in them that fuel yeast. You will want to switch to cloth or use a wet paper towel when battling this beast. 

I hope this helps others who are having to figure out how to get rid of the yeasties. After I realized I had to get it out of my diapers, it really wasn't an issue. :)

For other suggestions on how to get rid of yeast, check here: http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/YeastvsCloth.htm

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