May working moms want to cloth diaper and they’re completely sold on it, until it comes time to think about childcare. If family will be taking care of baby, then it’s pretty easy to figure out (odds are grandma and grandpa are familiar with cloth diapering and will excited to see the spiffy new diapers out there!), but if you’re looking at a child care facility like the traditional day care, you might have some trouble. Have no fear! We have successfully had two children in daycare in cloth diapers for a little over two years now and I’m going to give you the secrets to making it work!
Your first step is to chose daycare friendly diapers. All-in-ones or pre-stuffed pockets are just as easy to go on and come off as a disposable diaper. If you have a one-sized diaper, have it sized down beforehand. You’ll also need a really good wetbag. Planetwise bags are double lined and Alva’s have a loop that you can use to hand the bag on a hook. Make sure it zips so it closes completely. When you go to talk to your daycare provider, bring these things with you so that you can demonstrate.
Once you have daycare-friendly supplies, it’s time to tour your chosen daycare. Do not bring up cloth diapers as your first question. I know it’s important to you, but talk to them about their curriculum, caregivers, and enrichment activities; make sure it’s a good fit for you and your family. Once you’ve decided that you like this place, ask what their policies are on cloth diapers.
You’ll find that if you’ve established a good rapport during your initial talks and tour, many places are fairly open to the idea. Explain that you will be willing to demonstrate their use to any staff who is interested, and that they will not be expected to clean the diapers. You will take them home every night and bring clean ones in the morning. Be prepared for the workers to have never seen a cloth diaper before and be completely confused by them.
You should also be prepared that they may push back and say that cloth diapers are against state regulations. This is generally untrue. Here is a great resource to show if your state has regulations about cloth diapers, but you may want to look up your local child care licensing requirements and be familiar with them as well. If you are in Texas- the licensing requirements simply state that all dirty diapers must be kept in closed containers out of reach of children until then can be disposed of. If you supply a fully closing wet bag (hence zipper not drawstring) that the staff can keep out of reach (a hook or nail near the changing table can hold a bag with a handle) then you meet the requirements. Our children’s diapers have never been an issue when licensing has visited our day care center.
Once your little one starts going to daycare you’ll want to bring a bag with all your clean, ready-to-use diapers (our boys usually went through 6-7 in a full day), a wet bag, a cloth-safe diaper cream, (we often use coconut oil), and several changes of clothes (like 4 or 5). It will take staff sometime to get used to cloth diapers, making them fit properly and knowing when they’re wet, so expect multiple leaks in those first few weeks, and if you have new staff.
An instructional PowerPoint for child care workers on the importance of hygiene and how to incorporate cloth diapers can be found here: Cloth Diapering in a Childcare Setting. I have presented this training to our church nursery and a version of it to the staff at our daycare as well. If you have any feedback, I’d love to hear it.
So there it is, the secret to a successful cloth diapering relationship with your child care center. Pack your diaper bag and lots of tissues, and good luck Momma!
What did you find to be most helpful in using cloth diapers in a daycare or child care center setting?