Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bad Mama. Bad, bad Mama.

Although I'm starting to feel better, I felt like a real ass for the past couple of days. Why? Because I blindly listened to the pediatrician's generalized, yet repeated advice, rather than tune into my baby and those who help care for him.

After a horrible, horrible few nights of sleep last weekend -- Cayden up every hour, and whining at one point for as long as 90 minutes -- I finally abandoned my hard-line, "he's got to learn to comfort himself and go back to sleep on his own; for God's sake we'll be at the BEACH in a week -- he's got to outgrow this neediness by then!" approach to consider that something else may be at play.

Coincidentally, his repeated "viral infections" in his diaper flamed up really bad this past weekend: white blisters on his nuggets, and a raw, red butt-crack.

When my mother-in-law pointed out for what must have been the seventh time that even Chicken's clean cloth diapers smell like pee (she doubted the doc's diagnosis long, long before I did), something finally cracked loose in my head to make me look at this situation in a new light.

To to the Internet I went: cloth diaper message boards, and Google. And after really minimal searching, it became abundantly clear that we were not in fact battling recurring viral infections; rather we were suffering a relatively common cloth diaper condition that many pediatricians are simply unfamiliar with, due to the prevalence of sposies today: ammonia burn.

**Insert deep, dark, ominous cloud of guilt that has hung over me for days**

Over time our diapers have built up ammonia, and now even the clean ones maintain the stuff, so that as soon as Cayden pees, the smell rivals that of cat piss. Having become quite familiar with -- and perhaps immune to -- the noxious smell of cat piss over the span of Spike's cathederized-way-too-many-times life, I really, truly thought that the strong ammonia smell from Cayden's diapers was just the smell of normal baby pee.

But the smell isn't the worst part. It's the ammonia itself, which is caustic enough to actually burn the poor kid's sensitive skin.

Yeah, I was letting my kid's pee burn his nuggets and butt.

But now we know what the problem is, and after only two days in sposies, Cayden's bits are nearly all healed up. And our entire lot of cloth diapers is going through a thorough stripping right now. Hopefully, a little bit of Dawn dish detergent, a little bit of bleach and a whole, whole lot of hot water later, our diapers will be as good as new and ready to use as soon as we get home from the beach.

Thank goodness he's too little to maintain any memories of the piss torture his mother put him through at eleven months of age. :(


C and M said...

Try not to beat yourself up too much over it. If dawn, bleach, and lots of rinses doesn't do the trick completely, check out RLR. A friend of mine had great success with it and I've just ordered some. Although most of our diapers smell clean, some of them keep a funky smell and I'm guessing we have detergent build up. Momsmilkboutique sells it w/ free shipping. My friend ended up having build up so bad that she had to do TEN rinses until there were no more bubbles!
Good luck with the stripping and have a nice time at the beach!

C and M said...

p.s. Glad Cayden is feeling better.