Cloth diapers and daycare: can it really be done? For many families, successfully using cloth diapers at daycare is simply a matter of routine. If you’re struggling with how to get started using cloth when your child is in someone else’s care, this guide will help you get started.
Talking to Your Provider
Whether you’re choosing a daycare provider for the first time or swapping to cloth with the provider you are currently using, you need to have a discussion with your provider about cloth diapering at daycare. Be prepared with:
- Information about modern cloth diapers and just how simple they are.
- Knowledge about your rights according to your state: only four states and the District of Columbia have laws that prohibit cloth diaper use, and they allow for medical exemptions for children who are sensitive to disposables.
- A note from your baby’s doctor if you’re using cloth for medical reasons.
- An understanding of whether or not your ability to use cloth diapers is a deal-breaker for you. If you’re going to walk away from a facility that won’t use cloth, be honest about it—both with them and with yourself.
Preparing Your Cloth for Daycare
When you take your diapers to daycare, the routine won’t be that different from the routine you have at home, but it may require you to bring some items that you didn’t need at home.
- Some facilities will require a separate travel-size wet bag for each diaper change throughout the day. Assume that your baby will be changed a minimum of every two hours, then include a couple of extras for good measure.
- Consider including a larger wet bag for all the small bags to go in. This will keep them contained and in one place.
- Most daycares prefer all-in-ones or pre-stuffed pocket diapers to prefolds and covers. Assume that you’ll need a good daycare stash.
- Be prepared for a daycare that prefers aplix or hook and loop to snaps. Choose your stash accordingly.
- Label your cloth so that it’s easy to tell what belongs to you and what belongs to someone else. If you don’t want to write on the labels to protect resale value, consider tying a label through the tag on your diapers.
Assume that you will be taking in a day’s worth of clean diapers each morning and leaving with a day’s worth of dirty diapers each afternoon. Always be sure to include at least two more diapers than you think you need for the day. Poop happens!
There are plenty of problems that can crop up when you’re cloth diapering at daycare. Thankfully, there are solutions to most common problems that, while they may not remove the frustration completely, can help you find a happy ending.
What if one of my diapers accidentally ends up in the trash? Accidents happen, and even the most responsible daycare worker may struggle to get it right every time. If a diaper does end up in the trash can, you can either try to find it or accept it as a loss and move on. We recommend sending solid diapers to daycare, rather limited edition prints that may be hard to replace. It may make this situation less painful if it does occur.
What if my baby is having a lot of leaks at daycare, but doesn’t have them at home? If you’re using the same cloth diaper system at home that you’re using at daycare, chances are, the problem is user error. One of two problems is typically to blame:
- Your daycare provider doesn’t know how to tell when a cloth diaper is wet and isn’t changing frequently enough. The solution: Request that your baby is changed every two hours even if the diaper doesn’t appear to be wet. It doesn’t cost you anything!
- Your daycare provider may be struggling to consistently get the right fit for your baby. Try either taking a picture of your baby with the snaps at the right setting or purchasing snap blockers (the male end of the snap) that fit into the snaps you don’t use, leaving only the ones that fit your baby open.
What if my cloth diapers get sent home with someone else? If you’re lucky enough to have another cloth diapering parent at your daycare, you’ve got it made! Unfortunately, that does mean that occasionally, diapers might get mixed up. If a diaper is sent home with you, set it aside in a bag and take it back to daycare the next day. Most cloth diapering moms would rather wash their own diapers! If yours comes back to you smelling of someone else’s detergent, simply washing it again with your own diaper laundry is probably sufficient.
Cloth diapering at daycare is a great way to increase your savings on diapers, reduce your environmental footprint, and keep harsh chemicals away from your baby. By working with your daycare, you can often reach an agreement for using your cloth diapers when your baby is in their care. It’s worth the effort! Before you know it, cloth diapering at daycare will just be a regular part of both your routine and theirs.
“Cloth Diapers in Daycare.” http://diaperwrecker.com/2013/09/cloth-diapers-in-daycare/