polyester

is a fabric that Bram does not enjoy. In fact, he seems pretty allergic.

Here’s what happened: We recently switched B from newborn to size small cloth diapers. All of our diapers are hand-me-downs (thank you Erica, Jessica, and Jill!), so we have several kinds. In the newborn size, we have all-cotton pre-folds and 90% cotton/10% polyester fitted diapers, and we used polyester covers with both kinds. Though he’s prone to rash (despite our changing him about fifteen times a day), he mostly did alright with that arrangement. Then we switched to the small diapers. In this size, we have all-cotton pre-folds, 80% cotton/20% polyester fitteds, and some amazing 100% polyester pocket diapers. When he first grew into the pocket diapers, I was thrilled. They whisk away moisture in a way that I thought might clear up his usually-slightly-irritated skin. But within a day, he had a red, raw, raised rash everywhere the diaper touched him. We’ve since experimented and discovered that the rash fades only when we use the all-cotton pre-folds, and even then there’s a small rash where the covers touch him. This includes all-natural disposables, which also leave him red and swollen. Enter sad mamas. Enter a need for some new diapers.

Here’s the question: We’re content to use pre-folds most of the time, but we’d love the flexibility to sometimes use fitted diapers too. Right now, we don’t have any of those that will work. We’d also love to find cotton covers, but since those may not exist, we need to be able to alternate fitted diapers with pre-folds so that the irritation doesn’t get too bad at the edges. We’re looking for all-cotton fitted diapers that fit well into similarly shaped covers so that the polyester in the cover doesn’t touch him as much as it does in the pre-fold. Does that make sense? Does anyone have any suggestions for this? Has anyone experienced polyester allergies?

Finally, B will give you his cute pirate eye in thanks for your bum-healing suggestions:

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24 thoughts on “polyester

  1. Poor Bram!
    I have heard that sensitivities to the polyester interiors of pocket diapers (micro-suede) is fairly common. But you are saying he is also allergic to the PUL covers?

    Keeping all-natural fibers close to his bum shouldn’t be a problem (bum genius elementals are a great – if pricey – option. They are all-in-ones, eliminating the need for covers, and the way they are sewn, only a very, very minimal amount of PUL touches the skin), but if PUL is problem for him I believe your only alternative is to switch to wool covers. I don’t think cotton covers exist – there is nothing in 100% cotton that would keep “stuff” in.

    Did you strip the diapers when you got them? It’s also the case that he may not be allergic, but micro-suede holds onto detergent residue more than natural fibers do, so he could be reacting to detergent build-up as well…

    I’m here if you have more questions. We use mostly bum genius elementals, Best Bottoms (which would not be a good fit for Bram), prefolds, and wool. We’re not really a fitted family, so I can’t help you there!

    • He does seem mildly sensitive to the PUL, though his rash got so bad that it may just be residual at this point. I’ve been leaning towards Bum Genius elementals as it is, so I think we’ll get two of those and check them out. We don’t have a hand-me-down source for mediums, so I’d like to discover what works best now so we can commit to that diaper when we go up a size. Anyway, thanks for the advice! Maybe B will end up in one of those cute diapers I’ve seen on R!

      • The Elementals are fantastic! We love them. Just fyi: we bought all of ours either used on the cloth diaper swap on Babycenter, or as “seconds” from Cottonbabies (once in awhile they will post “seconds” diapers on their clearance page – these are diapers that are functionally fine, but have some cosmetic flaw. You can save money buying them that way). They are all working fine!

        Bonus, the elementals are one-size diapers, so will fit him from now til potty-training! :)

  2. You might do some research on wool. I have heard great things about wool soakers (which you use as covers) that you can waterproof with lanolin. They are more expensive and more effort than other kinds of covers (which is why we never had them), but would be worth checking out. You might check Etsy too — there are tons of small shops that make custom diapers and they might be able to suggest something (and make something) for you. Plus, there are other natural fabrics that are very common in diapers — hemp, bamboo, etc. that might also work. The other fitteds we sent (not the Kissaluvs) were all bamboo. Did they cause a rash too? Also, what kind of detergent are you using? Does it have any additives that might be building up? Are your diapers well rinsed? Do they need to be stripped? (HOT HOT water and a tiny little bit of blue Dawn works followed by lots of rinsing — and if that isn’t enough, we resorted to a diluted bleach wash periodically, though that weakens the fibers). The microfiber diapers (we had Bum Genius pockets) are horrible with build up and we mostly gave up on them because of similar problems with both kids.

    • He does seem fine with hemp and bamboo, but the BumGenius bamboos are actually 20% poly. :( Sad because they fit him really well. His reaction to those is quite mild, though, compared to the pockets, so maybe we’ll try stripping them and trying them again? We’re using Allen’s Naturally, and we’re doing an extra rinse. I’ll let you know how the stripping works!

  3. Sorry to hear your little guy has a reaction to polyester. He is not the first baby I’ve heard about who is sensitive to the synthetic fibers. :-(

    We used Kissaluvs in a cloth diaper trial and liked them so much we kept a few. They do contain hemp but no polyester. You can find them at jilliansdrawers(dot)com, and I’m sure several other sites as well.

    Also, since you are open to used, I would suggest checking out the Cloth Diaper Swap group on BabyCenter. Most “swappers” are open to PayPal if you don’t have anything to swap, and there’s an associated feedback board you can check before dealing with someone. We got a lot of our diapers there.

    One last thing – BumGenius used to make an all natural fiber fitted. It’s no longer in production, but if you see any on the swap, I would suggest grabbing them. They were our absolute favorite fitted. “Were” only because we only used fitteds during the newborn stage.

    • He seems fine with hemp, so I’ll check out jilliansdrawers/Kissaluvs. I really appreciate your feedback, and I had a wonderful time reading your blog last night.

      • Thank you. I’m glad to have found your blog as well.

        Hopefully Jillians Drawers is a helpful site. They carry a lot of fitted options and each one has a content tab so that you can see exactly what they’re made of.

        One other thing I also thought of is putting a 100% cotton layer between Bram and any other material. Old t-shirts would even work. That may allow you to use the diapers you have. This, of course, defeats the wicking properties of synthetic fibers, but your baby’s comfort is obviously the ultimate priority.

        Good luck with figuring this out!

  4. I apologize for the multiple posts, but I just realized that the BG fitteds I mentioned do use microfiber in the built-in soaker. Even though it’s completely covered in bamboo, that probably still wouldn’t be a good idea for a sensitive bum.

  5. We’ve done tons of different diaper combinations. One suggestion I have is to try gDiapers. They are a cotton cover with a snap in “pouch” that holds the insert. They, of course, have inserts that they sell, but we have also used their cover (and pouch) with a prefold. It’s a little bulky, but totally doable. Big poos sometime leak a little out the side, but that could be because our pouches are old and loosing their elasticity. I don’t really remember it being a problem when they were newer. Of course, our baby is bigger now too…

    You also may want to look into wool covers. There are lots of sellers on Etsy (I’ve made purchases from threehappytrees) and if you’re crafty you can even make your own out of old or thrifted sweaters.

    Best of luck!

    • Would that I were even close to crafty enough for that! But I will check out threehappytrees and gDiapers, which are sold locally. Thanks for tips-from-the-Bean!

  6. Check green mountain diapers. Almost everything they sell is pure cotton. They sell a pretty affordable pre-fold-to-fitted conversion.

    There at least used to be all-cotton nikky’s. Ah yes. There still are. See here: http://babyworks.com/cloth-diapering/diaper-covers.html

    Also, the standard suggestion for a cover for a synthetic-sensitive kid is wool, so that might be worth a try. Unfortunately our guy wouldn’t tolerate wool, no matter how soft it was, but it might work for you guys.

    We had similar issues that didn’t come about until later, but were a combination of polyester sensitivity (we did OK with poly covers, as long as the diaper was all cotton) and detergent sensitivity. If you are using hand-me-down pockets, you may actually have a detergent issue, not a polyester issue, due to build up of soap/detergent on the diapers from those who had them previously. This happens really easily with synthetic diapers and is a giant PITA. One possible step is to strip the diapers, removing any possible detergent build up, and then see if he continues to have the rash issues. We did this using RLR. It made a big difference.

    • This Nikky diaper is awesome; thank you for the find! We plan to try stripping everything (which we didn’t do) over the next few days and see where that gets us. I think we’ll still forego the all-poly pockets because his rash got SO BAD SO FAST with those, but the 80/20s seem like they’d be worth another shot. Anyway, thanks for your advice!

  7. No advise on the diaper front, we use the Bumgenius Freestyle and love them, though I have no idea what they are made of. But he sure is looking cute!

  8. I’ve got nothing on what might work better, but if you’re not totally opposed to trying used there’s a whole, huge (somewhat intimidating) group over at diaperswappers.com that could probably help, sell you used dipes, or even new ones. They have a whole marketplace of home-based companies that can probably provide you (or even custom make) anything you need. And yes, next time you’re up for a day in the city, let me know! We’ve had lots of fun meeting bloggy friends from all over the place when we happen to be in the same place (there’s going to be a big hootenanny for pride this year, i think). :)

  9. Ooops, not sure what happened to my first comment, it’s disappeared. I’m just researching nappies as our little one is still on the way.

    These ones are hemp/cotton fitted nappies: http://www.babybeehinds.com.au/store/pc/BBH-Hemp-Fitted-13p8.htm

    Snazzipants sell pure cotton fitted nappies and also nylon covers http://www.snazzipants.co.nz/Covers.html

    And these ones are bamboo, they say they have a “hidden minky core” which might be polyester but maybe if it’s hidden it wouldn’t come into contact with his skin?

    Good luck!

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